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The ISMA holds meeting about electronic death registry issues
e-Reports, Feb. 7, 2011
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In response to members’ concerns about the online Indiana Death Registry System (IDRS) that became mandatory Jan. 1, the ISMA’s Mike Rinebold, director of Government Relations, met Jan. 25 with the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) Erin Kellam, IDRS director, and Brian Carnes, director of Legislative Affairs.

Both parties agreed complications exist related to physicians registering with the program and efforts to resolve them through the IDRS help desk.

The ISMA requested the help desk be responsive around the clock to requests for assistance by phone or e-mail. Currently, help desk hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, which appears to be inadequate.

The ISMA also requested daily e-mail notices until a death certificate is completed, assuring ISDH officials that physicians are equally concerned about families’ need for timely issuance of certificates.

Seeking remedies
“We sincerely hope for continued cooperation among legislators, physicians and ISDH officials to improve this situation, which means passing a new bill to remedy administrative and compliance issues,” said Rinebold.

Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, author of the 2009 bill that mandated the IDRS, expressed his disappointment in physicians’ lack of compliance. However, he now supports SB 366, easing penalties associated with the IDRS and adding a grace period.

He also supports SB 223, allowing the Medical Licensing Board to issue a possible citation for IDRS non-compliance.

Contact your state legislators and ask for their support of these bills also.

If you have not yet registered for the IDRS and do sign death certificates, the ISMA urges you to visit the IDRS website today. Call the help desk if you need assistance.

Other tips
The office of Rex Allman, M.D., of Winamac was the first in the state to submit a death certificate electronically. Dr. Allman’s advice: “Ask for help. Call a colleague to walk you through it.”

On the site, you can find a list of physicians from your county who are registered to use the IDRs; reportedly, 5,000 physicians are already registered.

Dr. Allman and others report they wrote down the steps on a “cheat sheet” to help them remember the process. To help you become accustomed to using the death registry, Dr. Allman agreed to share his list of steps; find it on the ISMA website.

Finally, if you experience technical problems that cannot be resolved, send an e-mail to Mike Rinebold and Rinebold will “express lane” the message to IDRS officials.

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