MDHHS: Funeral Homes, doctors must report COVID-19 deaths quicker to improve the state's response

Posted at 9:00 PM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 21:00:04-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Robert Gordon issued an emergency order for doctors and funeral homes to report COVI-19 deaths faster in order to improve the state's response and slowing the spread of the virus.

This rule falls under provisions detailed in MCL 333.2253, a piece of legislature for the state of Michigan adopted in 1978, allowing the Director of the MDHHS to enact emergency rules relating to epidemics and dangers to public health.

“MDHHS is committed to protecting the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I am issuing this emergency order,” 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.”

Doctors who suspect a patient's death was caused by COVID-19 must alert the funeral director, who then must start a death record to be submitted to the attending physician within 24 hours. The death record must be filed with the local registrar for the district where the death occured within 48 hours after being notified of the possible cause of death.

The MDHHS maintains that quick reporting of COVID-19-related deaths will help slow the spread of the virus and help officials understand the disease.