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H 4470
Session 121 (2015-2016) 

H 4470 General Bill, By King and Parks
 A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 44-63-74, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
 1976, RELATING TO ELECTRONIC FILING AND TRANSMISSION OF DEATH CERTIFICATES, SO
 AS TO CHANGE THE TIME WITHIN WHICH TO FILE DEATH CERTIFICATES AND TO PROHIBIT
 THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL FROM ASSESSING A PENALTY
 AGAINST A FUNERAL HOME IF A PHYSICIAN FAILS TO PROVIDE A MEDICAL
 CERTIFICATION.

   12/03/15  House  Prefiled
   12/03/15  House  Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry
   01/12/16  House  Introduced and read first time (House Journal-page 74)
   01/12/16  House  Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and
                     Industry (House Journal-page 74)



VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

12/3/2015



H. 4470

A BILL

TO AMEND SECTION 44-63-74, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO ELECTRONIC FILING AND TRANSMISSION OF DEATH CERTIFICATES, SO AS TO CHANGE THE TIME WITHIN WHICH TO FILE DEATH CERTIFICATES AND TO PROHIBIT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL FROM ASSESSING A PENALTY AGAINST A FUNERAL HOME IF A PHYSICIAN FAILS TO PROVIDE A MEDICAL CERTIFICATION.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Section 44-63-74(A) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 72 of 2015, is further amended to read:

"(A)(1)    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, death certificates must be electronically filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics as prescribed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics within five thirty days after death.

(2)    The funeral director or other person acting as the funeral director who first assumes custody of a dead body shall file a death certificateNext. He also shall obtain:

(a)    the personal data of the decedent from the next of kin or the best qualified person or source available; and

(b)    the medical certification of cause of death as provided in department regulations.

(3)    Medical certifications of cause of death must be completed and returned to the funeral home director within forty-eight hours after receipt of notice of the death by the physician in charge of the patient's care for the illness or condition which resulted in death, except when an inquiry is required by a coroner or medical examiner. If the cause of death cannot be determined within forty-eight hours after death, the medical certification must be entered as pending, and the physician, medical examiner, or coroner shall submit a supplemental report to the state registrar on a form furnished by or approved by him as soon as practicable. The supplemental report shall be made a part of the Previousdeath certificateNext. If the forty-eight hour period terminates on a weekend, federal holiday, or state holiday, the physician must file the certification by the end of the next business day. In the absence of this physician or with his approval, the certificate may be completed by his associate physician, the chief medical officer of the institution in which the death occurred, or by the pathologist who performed an autopsy upon the decedent.

(4)    Death certificates must be transmitted electronically between the funeral home director and the physician, coroner, or medical examiner certifying the cause of death in order to document the Previousdeath certificateNext information prescribed by this chapter. Required signatures on death certificates must be provided by electronic signature. An individual who acts, without compensation, as a funeral director on behalf of a deceased family member or friend, physicians certifying fewer than twelve deaths per year, and funeral homes that perform fewer than twelve funerals per year are exempt from the requirement to file electronically but must comply with the requirements of items (2) or (3), as applicable.

(5)(a)    A physician who fails to certify the cause of death within forty-eight hours, without good cause shown, may be assessed an administrative penalty for violating item (3). The department shall notify the Board of Medical Examiners if a penalty is assessed. Each day after the initial forty-eight hour period shall constitute an additional violation.

(b)    A funeral home or funeral director who fails to file a Previousdeath certificate or collect data or collect medical certification of cause of death as required in items (1), (2), or both, without good cause shown, may be assessed an administrative penalty for violating the respective item. However, the department must not assess a penalty against a funeral home or funeral director for the delay or inability to collect personal data of the decedent pursuant to item (2)(a) or if the physician fails to complete and return the medical certification to the funeral home director in accordance with item (3). The department shall notify the Board of Funeral Services if a penalty is assessed. Each day after the initial five day period in item (1) shall constitute an additional violation of that item.

(c)    A physician, funeral director, or funeral home that is required to file electronically pursuant to item (4) but who fails to file accordingly may be assessed an administrative penalty for violating item (4).

(d)    The administrative penalties are:

(i)        two hundred fifty dollars for a first violation or a warning letter;

(ii)    five hundred dollars for a second violation; and

(iii)    one thousand dollars for a third or subsequent violation.

(e)    The department shall retain any administrative penalties collected pursuant to this subsection and must allocate all of these funds to the Bureau of Vital Statistics for its use."

SECTION    2.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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