Doctor Refusal Process – MCDPH Notice

On August 2, 2013, Arizona Revised Statute 36-325 went into effect. This clarified and established which health care provider can certify a death certificate within Arizona and their responsibilities and requirements regarding the process. This legislative change has had a positive impact on both the quality of reporting and timeliness of the death registration process.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is asking for their Funeral Home Partners assistance. MCDPH is still experiencing resistance from some community certifiers resulting in a preventable delayed permit issuance and registration process as well as undue stress on all partners involved.


  • In order for a death certificate to be certified and completed with minimal complications, please gather as much information as possible from the next of kin regarding the decedent’s primary care physician or specialists who provided care. This includes recent medications prescribed and who prescribed them.
  • When community physicians refuse to certify a cause of death, this is not the jurisdiction of the OME or OVR, so request for help may be declined. It is still the Funeral Home’s responsibility to pursue a community physician for medical certification.

THe offices of Maricopa County Department of Public Health will do their best to continue to assist Funeral Home partners in any way they can. This is a great opportunity to educate your funeral home staff about your responsibility to contact a community physician for medical certification.

To see the entire letter from MCDPH and for contact information for any question, please download the MCDPH-Doctor Refusal Process.