EDRS Information for Funeral Directors

Log into EDRS

Log into the New York State Health Commerce System (HCS) to access EDRS:


New York State began registering deaths in the state in 1881. Public Health Law, Article 41, Title 4, Section 4140 designates the roles and processes established to register a death and arrange for disposition of a body. As of 1953, the death of each person who has died in this state shall be registered immediately and not later than seventy-two (72) hours after death or the finding of a dead human body.

New York State's Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) is a secure, web-based system for health care providers and medical certifiers, medical examiners/coroners, funeral directors, and local registrars as they work together to electronically register deaths. The system is accessed through the New York State Health Commerce System (HCS) website portal. For more background information about EDRS, its benefits, and New York state's related Public Health Law, click the following link: About EDRS.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Certifying Deaths, Decedent Handling, and Funeral Information

The NYS Department of Health Bureau of Vital Records, in concert with the Bureau of Funeral Directing and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is sharing State and Federal guidelines for certifying death records, handling decedent bodies where the cause of death is COVID-19, and performing disposition events (calling hours and funeral services). The guidelines are as follows:

  • Medical Certifiers: When certifying a COVID-19 death, include the literal "COVID-19" in Part I of the Cause of Death section. Please refer to the updated CDC Guidance for Certifying COVID-19 Deaths (UPDATED April 2, 2020).
  • Funeral Directors and funeral firm staff: Please review the March 18, 2020 letter to Funeral Directors for guidance when planning funerals and for links to standard precautions when handling a decedent who dies from COVID-19, issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • All: Please visit the federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website for the new Safety and Health Topics, COVID-19 Control and Prevention webpage. Find general information for all US workers and employers, and information for specific worker groups and their employers who may have potential exposures to COVID-19. Refer to the Deathcare Workers and Employers section of the OSHA webpage for detailed guidance for coroners, medical examiners, autopsy technicians, funeral directors, and other mortuary workers.

The most current information will be posted on the Department of Health’s Novel Coronavirus website at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home as new guidance and information becomes available. We urge everyone to use common sense and take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves and others as we all navigate these challenging times. Thank you all for your professionalism, patience and dedication.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Procedures

New Regulation Affecting Cremation Authorization and Modified Authorization Form

  • Effective April 30, the Division of Cemeteries modified the Authorization for Cremation and Disposition (DOS-1898-f) to include optional language where, if initialed, authorizes a New York crematory to accept the remains for cremation even if the name of another crematory initially appeared on the Cremation Authorization. This change applies only to cremations authorized by the modified form. Instructions for completing this form are available on the Authorization for Cremation and Disposition instruction form, DOS-1898-f-INST.
  • Effective May 1, the Cemetery Board adopted a new regulation, 19 NYCRR 203.14, by emergency adoption. This regulation authorizes crematories, during an emergency declared by the governor or the cemetery board, to accept human remains delivered with a cremation authorization form in which the intended crematory has been manually corrected.

For full details, see the Department of State, Division of Cemeteries website here.

How does this affect the burial transit permit which may have already been generated for cremation at a different crematory?

The original burial transit permit and cremation authorization form can be corrected by hand with the new disposition information and presented to the new crematory for accepting.

For Electronic Records
After disposition, the funeral director will submit the proper death correction form (DOH 1999) via fax to NYSDOH, to update the place of disposition information on the death certificate. Once approved by NYSDOH staff, a system generated notification of the correction will be sent to the appropriate local filing office.

For Paper Records
After disposition, the funeral director will submit the proper death correction form to the local filing office on record to request an update to the place of disposition information on the death certificate. The Local Registrar will make appropriate interlineated changes to the record on file.

Online Verification of Social Security Number in EDRS

EDRS includes the ability for Funeral Directors to perform online verification of the decedent's Social Security Number (SSN) with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). For cases in which you obtain successful online verification in EDRS (achieve SSN verification status of PASSED), you will no longer need to submit form SSA-721 to the SSA. If you cannot achieve successful SSN verification in an EDRS case, then the SSA wants you to send them the SSA-721 form as you have in the past.

The SSA has issued a notice to Funeral Directors regarding their guidance on the use of form SSA-721 and online verification in EDRS. Click the following link to view the SSA Notice to Funeral Directors Using New York State's EDRS, August 2017 (PDF).

Pilot Program for Spontaneous Fetal Death Module

New York State Department of Health is still in the pilot phase of a new electronic Fetal Death Module in EDRS. The Fetal Death Module will be implemented throughout New York State, excluding the five boroughs of New York City. The module allows for electronic registration of spontaneous fetal deaths.

Selected medical facilities across the state are participating in the Fetal Death pilot program, with pilot medical facilities phased in during 2018 as follows:

  • NYU Winthrop Hospital in Nassau County - April 2, 2018
  • St. Peter's Hospital in Albany County - August 21, 2018
  • Crouse Hospital in Onondaga County - September 24, 2018
  • Bellevue Woman's Center in Schenectady County - October 1, 2018

Statewide roll-out of the Fetal Death Module is currently expected to begin in 2021.

Funeral Directors and funeral firm staff in New York State had the Fetal Death Module added to their EDRS user accounts in April 2018 to allow access to electronic cases as needed during the pilot program. In your user account you should see a link to Fetal Death in the EDRS Life Events menu on the top menu bar within EDRS.

If you are contacted by a medical facility or a family to make arrangements for fetal death disposition, then you will first need to verify with the medical facility if the case is being processed electronically as part of the New York State Fetal Death pilot program. If the case is electronic, the medical facility will need to provide you with specific information to search for and take ownership of the case in the EDRS Fetal Death Module. If at that time you do not yet see the Fetal Death link in your Life Events menu or are not able to Sign a case, then send an email to EFDR@health.ny.gov, or contact the EDRS Call Center at 1-844-866-EDRS (3344).

Please review the following materials to become familiar with how Funeral Directors will use the Fetal Death Module in EDRS:

Training Resources

EDRS training resources for Funeral Directors and funeral firm staff includes live training, self-paced video tutorials, and reference documents. The schedule for live training is listed below. Please also view the video tutorials and reference documents which are available below the training schedule on this page.

Training Schedule for Funeral Directors and Funeral Firm Staff

How Training is Conducted

Live training is conducted over the internet and telephone using your computer, internet browser application, and Cisco Webex Player application. The training course for Funeral Directors and funeral firm staff is a 1-hour course. The course includes a visual demonstration showing your workflow in EDRS, a discussion of best practices for Funeral Directors, and a question and answer period.

See Instructions for Viewing Webex Webinar Training for a link to download and install the Webex Player and additional information about the training.

Month Live Webinar Training Schedule for
Funeral Directors and Funeral Firm Staff
(Requires Webex Player installed on your computer)
Select a Date/Time to Sign Up
September 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - Implementation of EDRS for Funeral Directors
2:00pm-3:00pm

October 2020 Monday, October 19, 2020 - Implementation of EDRS for Funeral Directors
2:00pm-3:00pm

November 2020 Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - Implementation of EDRS for Funeral Directors
2:00pm-3:00pm

December 2020 Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - Implementation of EDRS for Funeral Directors
2:00pm-3:00pm

Video Tutorials

The following Tutorials will launch in a new window/tab.

Upcoming Self-Paced Training Tutorials

  • Manage a Trade Call in EDRS (not yet available)

Tutorials in SCORM 1.2 Format to Install in Your Learning Management System

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

New York State's EDRS training curriculum was previously accredited by the NYS Bureau of Funeral Directing, awarding Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to funeral directors for attending a live training course (either online or in-person). NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records, is pursuing re-accreditation of the EDRS training curriculum from the NYS Bureau of Funeral Directing. During the re-accreditation application process, NYS has temporarily discontinued awarding of CEUs. At this time, we are not certain if we will be able to apply credit retroactively. Status of the re-accreditation application will be announced here as updates become available. If you have questions or wish to inquire about CEUs previously earned, please send your questions by email to the EDRS team: edrs@health.ny.gov

Documentation

User Account Information

Procedures and Reference Guides

Burial Permits

Effective September 28, 2013, each burial and removal permit issued to a New York State licensed funeral director requires a $20.00 payment to the Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records.

This new fee is a result of the amendment of New York State Public Health Law (PHL) Article 41 to add section 4148, which establishes an Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). Subdivision 5 of PHL §4148 mandates that the establishment and support of the system will be funded by funeral directors through a payment of $20.00 for each burial–transit permit that is issued. The payment shall be remitted by the funeral directors directly to the Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records.

In an effort to appropriately reconcile permit fee payments, the following specific information must accompany each funeral director's payment:

  • Date permit was issued;
  • Registration district name and district number;
  • Name of deceased;
  • Date of death;
  • Funeral director name & registration number;
  • Death registration number (if known).

The necessary information above can be provided by submitting a copy of each burial–transit permit or by submitting a listing with the required information. A sample template form for the listing is available below.

Payments should be sent monthly to the address below and include a listing or copies of the burial–transit permits and a check or money order made payable to NYS DOH-BVR.

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Records EDRS Unit
800 N Pearl St Rm 205
Albany, NY 12204