New MDHHS order requires funeral homes and physicians to promptly report COVID-19 deaths

COVID-19 deaths may now be reported by physicians and funeral homes more quickly under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order, which was issued Saturday. 

The effective immediately order is supposed to get important death information to public health officials so they can better provide health services and enforce health laws. 

This means the order requires physicians who know or suspects that a patient’s cause of death is COVID-19 to promptly notify the funeral director. From there, the funeral director is required to initiate the death record and submit it to the attending physician within 24 hours. 

The funeral director must then file the death record with the local registrar of the death’s district within 48 hours of becoming aware of the death.   

MDHHS says speedy reporting of COVID-19 deaths allow public health officials to better understand the impact that the virus has on the community. 

 “MDHHS is committed to protecting the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I am issuing this emergency order,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “To inform sound decision-making and protect Michiganders, public health officials need accurate information about COVID-19 deaths as quickly as possible. I appreciate the work of our funeral home directors and physicians right now, and I am grateful to partner with them in taking quick action during this pandemic.”