Input sought from families unable to obtain VA death certificates
The Anoka County Board approved a motion Feb. 28 to support a legislative solution that would require Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to sign certain death certificates within 72 hours of death. This action will help families of veterans and medical examiner/coroner offices nationwide.
The VA’s current policy is if the individual in their care did not see their primary doctor at the VA within 120 days, the VA will not sign a death certificate. This moves the responsibility to medical examiner/coroner’s offices, which must locate all medical records and redetermine the cause of death. Shifting the responsibility from the veteran’s VA doctor to the medical examiner’s/coroner’s office can delay signing of the death certificate by up to six weeks. During this time, grieving families experience undue stress, unnecessary financial implications, and an inability to make burial and funeral preparations.
This process can take up six weeks. Such delays can cause undue stress for grieving families, which can include delays in burial or funeral preparation, being unable to access funds, and more.
The board’s goal is to gather information for legislators and senators that shows them how citizens are being affected.