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Apr 28 2023

Managing challenges with NC DAVE

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Effective Jan. 1, 2022, all clinicians who certify deaths have been expected to complete death certificates online using the NC Database for Vital Events (NC DAVE). While thousands of medical professionals are using the system successfully, many others have reached out to NCMB to report they have had difficulty registering for and using NC DAVE. NCMB does not have any direct involvement with the system, but staff have been in regular communication with staff in the NC Division of Vital Records and leadership within the NC Department of Health and Human Services to relate licensee concerns and offer communication support to ensure medical professionals understand what they need to do.

NCDHHS has assured NCMB that it has hired additional customer service staff to support medical certifiers (anyone who signs death certificates). Requests for help should be emailed to for the fastest response. NCDHHS has also prepared a document with information intended to help clinicians get up and running certifying deaths online.

NCMB offers the following advice to licensees regarding NC DAVE:

• If you have not registered for NC DAVE, it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible. If you wait until you receive a request to complete a death certificate, you may not be able to gain access to the system in time to certify the death in a timely manner.

• Registering with NC DAVE may require assistance from a customer service representative and could take a few days, especially if you work outside of a large practice or health system. Again, email for the fastest response.

• If you choose to have each physician, PA and NP in your practice register and complete death certificates for the patients they have seen, consider developing an internal process to ensure that requests are quickly identified, promptly directed to the appropriate provider and completed as soon as possible.

• If having every clinician in the practice register for NC DAVE seems overly burdensome, an alternate approach is to designate a few medical professionals in your practice as your medical certifiers. When requests come in to sign death certificates, your front office staff should route them to someone on this team. The licensee who signs the death certificate need not have seen the decedent in the past, but they should have access to all available medical records.

• Understand that opting out of using NC DAVE is not an option. Changes to state law adopted in fall of 2022 (Session Law 2022-63) establish monetary fines of up to $1,000 for medical certifiers who “willfully and knowingly” continue to use paper death certificates. Fines start at $250 for a first offense and increase with repeated instances of noncompliance.

Go to related article: Lessons from the Disciplinary Committee: Clinician obligation to complete death certificates.

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