Frequently Asked Questions (EDRS)

What is an EDRS?

EDRS stands for Electronic Death Registration System. The EDRS is a web-based application used to electronically register and record deaths occurring in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia’s EDRS has provisions for electronic registration and reporting of:

  • Death Certificates (Attended and Unattended)
  • Spontaneous Fetal Deaths
  • Induced Termination of Pregnancy
  • Donation of Bodies for Science - Virginia State Anatomical Program (VSAP)

What is VVESTS?

VVESTS stands for Virginia Vital Events and Screening Tracking System. The VVESTS is a suite of applications and houses modules for the registration of Virginia births, deaths, infant hearing and birth defect screenings.

The Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) is a module within VVESTS

Can medical certifiers sign up online for EDRS? What are the requirements?

Yes. Medical certifiers can sign up for EDRS through the online portal provided by the Division of Vital Records. Signing up through the online portal requires a valid Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP) license, a valid Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) credential (i.e. driver's license, identification card, or vehicle registration), and the name and email address of supervisor/manager.

Please visit our site for more details.

https://vr-fhs.vdh.virginia.gov/vvestsapps/f?p=106:13:5239836608175:::::

What is the browser requirement for VA EDRS?

As of now, VA EDRS is accessible using Internet Explorer 11 and Google Chrome.

Is there a fee/cost associated with the use of the EDRS?

No, use of the EDRS is at no cost to any of the users of the application.

Do we need to install the EDRS on our computers?

No, VA EDRS is a web-based system similar to any website you access. The EDRS can be accessed from the following website address (URL): https://vr-fhs.vdh.virginia.gov

How can I receive training to use the EDRS?

EDRS training is conducted by OVR’s Field Services Department. You can contact their office by telephone at 804-662-6218 or by email at Denise.Cox@vdh.virginia.gov or Michellea.Reid@vdh.virginia.gov to schedule training.

Can the EDRS require password changes less frequently than every 90 days?

As per Virginia Department of Health information security policy, passwords are set to expire every 90 days.

I forgot my password. How do I reset it?

As an EDRS user, you can reset your own password from the “Forgot Password?” link on the VVESTS login screen. If for some reason you cannot reset the password yourself, the OIM help desk may be reached Monday – Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm at 804-864-7200 (option 2). If you have a Facility User Administrator, you may also contact them for a password reset.

How do I receive notifications within EDRS?

You will have to set up your user preferences to obtain notifications. You should go to “User Preference,” enter up to three email address, and select the notifications you want to receive.

Is there an option to send text messages to the medical certifier(s) and funeral director(s) if they provide a mobile number?

Yes. As of April 2020, Funeral Directors and Providers can select profile options to opt-in to receive text messages.

Why don’t EDRS communications (i.e. password expiration reminders) come from a recognizable VDH or EDRS email address?

EDRS notifications are sent using the email address VADeptOfHealth@vdh.virginia.gov.

How can physicians, who practice at multiple facilities, receive a death certificate when the death occurred at a facility other than the one designated at the time of enrollment?

Physicians, who practice at multiple facilities, are identified uniquely by each of their locations in EDRS. Funeral homes can uniquely identify physicians practicing at multiple facilities by facility and its location and assign cases electronically in EDRS. Physicians, who practice at multiple facilities, should sign up for EDRS at all of their participating facilities.

VDH is also working on changes to provide an option for physicians and funeral home directors to sign up for EDRS for multiple facilities in both online enrollment feature and EDRS system.

Is there a default user profile for new and existing EDRS users?

There is no default “User Profile.” The “User Profile” needs to be created when the user logs into EDRS the first time. Setting up “User Profile” includes security questions for password recovery, email verification and PIN setup for funeral directors and medical certifiers.

What is the difference between a “Drop to Paper” and “Electronic” death certificate?

The drop to paper death certificate means part of the certificate was created electronically and part was created manually. An electronic death certificate means the entire death certificate was created electronically and was signed electronically by both the medical certifier and the funeral service licensee.

How do I correct a death certificate that has been filed with the Local Health Department and/or the Office of Vital Records?

There are two ways to amend a death certificate; judicially or administratively. Please contact the Office of Vital Records at 804-662-6200 for further instructions.

Is it required for Virginia physicians to use the Electronic Death Registration System?

Yes, effective January 1, 2020, Code of Virginia § 32.1-263 requires the medical certification portion of death certificates to be completed and electronically filed through EDRS within 24 hours after death.  Failure to file a medical certification of death electronically through EDRS shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action by the Board of Medicine.

What if the physician is out of town or sick? How does he/she sign the death certificate?

EDRS is a secure web-based system that is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any internet capable device with Internet Explorer 10, 11 or Chrome browser installed. Per Senate Bill 1439, if a physician is absent and unable to electronically complete and medically certify the certificate, such physician may appoint a designee to complete and medically certify the certificate.

Who can be a designee?

A designee can be another physician, a nurse practitioner, chief medical officer or medical director, or any individual whom the physician has delegated to sign the certificate who has access to the patient’s medical information.

Will the online portal allow medical certifiers to register for multiple facilities when registering online?

At this time, this is not currently an option but the Office of Vital Records is working on this for the future.

Why can’t I complete the cause of death after I have been assigned a case for medical certification?

Likely, you have not accepted the case. To accept ownership of the case, go to “Case Summary” in EDRS, and at the top click on “Accept Case.” Once you have accepted the case, you may then proceed with certifying the cause of death.

How long does it take the medical certifier to complete the electronic medical certification on a death certificate ?

On average, a medical certifier who has all the necessary information on hand to complete a death certificate should be able to do so within 5 minutes.

How do I correct the cause of death or any part of the medical certification after the record has been filed with OVR?

The medical certifier can correct the cause of death or any part of the medical certification in EDRS as long as the record has not been filed by OVR. If the record has been filed with OVR, correcting the cause of death or any part of the medical certification will require a signed statement on office letterhead indicating the decedent’s name, date of death and the item(s) to correct. Please send this letter to the attention of Denise Cox (Denise.Cox@vdh.virginia.gov) or fax it to 804-662-7262.

Are medical certifiers required to enter their own designees in the system?

No. Designees may be entered by the Facility User Administrator using the Security module in EDRS.

What is the role of the Facility User Administrator (FUA)?

The Facility User Administrator is responsible for setting up user accounts and maintaining those accounts for their facility or group of providers. This includes maintaining access and confidentiality forms, deactivating necessary user accounts, and password resets.

How many Facility User Administrators (FUA) do we need?

OVR requires that if you have five or more staff members, including physicians, in your facility needing access to the EDRS that your appoint a FUA. We suggest that you appoint a backup FUA in the event of staff vacations or unexpected absences.

What is the role of Decedent Affairs (DA)?

Decedent Affairs is responsible for creating the death certificate case, electronically assigning the case for medical certification, and electronically requesting demographics certification from the funeral home or dropping the case to paper.

How far in advance should the Facility User Administrator (FUA) and Decedent Affairs (DA) send in their paperwork to OVR?

As soon as these roles have been identified and determined by the facility, the paperwork may be submitted for approval and processing.

Can an out-of-state physician sign a VA death certificate?

Yes. A physician licensed in another state who was in charge of the patient’s care for   the illness or condition that resulted in death, can sign the death certificate.

Are out-of-state funeral homes exempted from using EDRS?

No. Code states that the funeral director or funeral service licensee shall file the death certificate using EDRS. An out-of-state funeral director or funeral service licensee must have a funeral director’s licensee or courtesy card issued by the Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers to file a Virginia death certificate. With a Virginia license or courtesy card, they are eligible to use EDRS.

If an out-of-state funeral director chooses not to obtain a courtesy card, how can the death certificate be filed with OVR?

Code (§32.1-263) allows the next of kin to take possession of the remains and also to manually complete and file the death certificate with the local VA Health Department.

Are there any exceptions for accepting non-EDRS death certificates?

On occasion, it may be necessary to accept a death certificate not created in EDRS. Such occasions may result from temporary technological or electrical failures preventing the certificate to be filed electronically such as a power outage, system upgrade or maintenance, technical issues with the server, or the death certificate is being filed by the next of kin.

Who decides where the death certificate needs to go?

For an electronically-filed death certificate, the case can start with the funeral director, who would then transfer the case to the medical certifier. If the hospital starts the case, the hospital would transfer it to the funeral director. Regardless of who starts the case, it is transferred to the Office of Vital Records by the funeral director. Complete paper death certificates and drop-to-paper death certificates are filed at the Local Health Department by the funeral director or next of kin. The Local Health Department mails the death certificate to the Office of Vital Records.

How is the decision made regarding which provider should receive the death certificate?

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) handles all unnatural deaths. OCME begins the case in EDRS and transfers it to the funeral director. If it is a natural death and the funeral director starts the case, the funeral director relies on the decedent's informant to provide them with the medical certifier (provider) information. At times OCME accepts natural deaths if the decedent did not have a primary care (attending) physician. Those deaths are known as unattended deaths.