AZ officials working to help grieving families, address delays in death certificates

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SUN CITY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

More grieving families are coming forward, upset that they've had to postpone a loved one's final wishes.

A computer glitch in some new state software has led to delays in death certificates being issued.

[READ MORE: Computer glitch delays funerals for Valley families' loved ones]

Clarene Jimenez, 85, of Sun City, is trying to focus on the memories and the incredible life she had with her husband Carlos, who died Oct. 3.

Instead, she's been waiting by the phone, agonizing over not being able to carry out Carlos' final wishes.

Jimenez had expected her husband to be cremated within a few days, but a delay in receiving his death certificate put the process on hold. 

"I know he's gone, but I still don't like the idea of him being in cold storage," said Jimenez. "I just would prefer to have it over and done with, and our family can have some peace."

The new software - called DAVE - the Database Application for Vital Events - officially launched October 2 as a way to streamline the death and birth certificate process by eliminating paperwork.

Instead, the system has hit several snags, creating a major backlog in the number of death certificates being issued, and forcing funeral homes across the state to put off cremations, and even set up mock funerals.

Jimenez is one of the hundreds of grieving families across the state that have been forced to put off funerals or cremations because of the problem the state is having issuing death certificates.

Several medical providers have unable to access the system. 

Colby Bower is assistant director of policy, with Arizona's Department of Health Services.

He said they've made significant progress fixing the problems, and have increased staffing to help physicians and funeral homes directors better address families needs. 

"We know whenever you replace a 15-year-old system with a brand new process, there's going to be some hiccups down the road, particularly in that user experience," said Bower. "We believe all the issues in the system now, are really just about getting people to use it properly."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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