Funeral directors to receive enhanced email notifications
One result of the Minnesota Death Data Delivery quality improvement project and the Kaizen (process improvement) event is a commitment by OVR to improving communication with funeral establishments.
Because funeral staff have a critical role and responsibility in assuring that deaths are registered and that records are complete, OVR will introduce more tools to help track the status of records.
The MR&C system will soon send concise and clear email notifications to the funeral director named on the death record when:
- The physician is notified about the death
- Cause of death is not complete 3 or more days after the initial notification
- Cause of death is filed
- The death record is referred to the ME
These additional notices are designed to help funeral homes monitor the progress of their death records and know exactly when the record is complete and ready for issuance.
Acceptable documents of identity:
I-94 is the arrival and departure record, in either a paper or electronic
format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer to foreign
visitors entering the United States. In April 2013, CBP ceased giving travelers
paper copies of Form I-94. CBP automated the form at airports and seaports.
Acceptable documents of identity, including the I-94 form, are listed in Minnesota Rules. Part 4601.2600, subpart 8, indicates that a passport from a country other than the United States (U.S.) or Canada may be used as an identity document if the passport is unexpired and has Form I-94 attached.
To obtain a certified birth or death record, an applicant
must provide a completed application and documentation of identity. Some
customers may choose to use their I-94 form. To do so, the customer/applicant
must visit the CBP (www.cbp.gov/I94 ) website to print out the I-94 Form and submit it with their foreign passport.
Issuance Offices should not go online to print an I-94 form for a customer
requesting a vital record. The printout and passport are acceptable documents
of identity to obtain a certified birth or death record in Minnesota.
More registrar training on the way
Excellent vital records don’t just happen. That’s not news to any of the readers of this newsletter -- the 2,800 users of the MR&C System who enter and issue Minnesota vital records. The Office of Vital Records (OVR) at MDH is developing training classes to help ensure the continuing quality, security and integrity of vital records.
Birth records contain over 200 pieces of information in more
than 80 data fields, and creation of birth records has been OVR’s first focus
for training development. The first Birth Registration 101 classes were held in
March of this year. Based on feedback from those who participated in the
initial class and the positive response for attendance, OVR has updated
MDH and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)
will offer "Vital Records Birth Registration 101" again this fall to
help new birth registrars develop professionally, and meet state requirements
for MR&C security.
This introductory, interactive class provides a broad overview of birth
registration and paternity establishment for people new to creating birth
records at the hospital. At this class, learners will practice logging in and
entering test records in MR&C. Birth Registration 101 will be held Nov.10 and 12 at MDH’s Freeman Building in St Paul.
Email OVR at
firstname.lastname@example.org to register
and reserve your spot. Additional information, driving directions and parking
information will be sent to attendees with registration confirmation. This
class is intended for and limited to birth registrars who are new to their
role. Registrations will be confirmed only for participants who have one year
or less experience registering births and fetal deaths in Minnesota.
OVR will introduce a new intermediate birth registration
class to meet the training needs of experienced
birth registrars. The new class will be
scheduled in early 2016. Participants can expect to learn more about creating birth
records for some of the special situations, like surrogacy, adoption, and
establishing parentage for less common marital statuses. Other topics like
fetal deaths, record corrections, and using reports for statistics and data
quality auditing, will be covered.
COUNTY AND LOCAL ISSUANCE STAFF
The people who safeguard birth and death data while issuing
certificates and records have traditionally had annual training opportunities
in the fall.
This year, both county and OVR staff will reduce travel time by integrating training with a data collection effort. This new
approach maximizes the resources at the state to accomplish annual
training requirements and goals while continuing OVR outreach.
provide a learning package that combines self-assessment with independent
training, that collects information about the county issuance office and staff,
and that provides updates on policies and procedures. Field Services staff will
use the data collected through this new approach to create new county
issuance training to meet both new and advanced user needs. OVR will share
more information about county and local issuance training soon.
FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND STAFF
OVR is working to develop a foundational
training for staff who register deaths in Minnesota. The class will include
fundamentals, MR&C System information, and other information about the
policies and procedures that guide death registration. OVR expects to have the curriculum
developed before the end of the calendar year. OVR will announce classes in
this newsletter when they become available.
The evolution of vital records
Vital records are permanent legal records of events such as birth,
death, fetal deaths, marriages, and divorces that occur in each state. It is the
responsibility of jurisdictions to record events that occur in their
jurisdictions and report the events to a central database. The information on
vital records was collected originally for legal purposes and over time
collection of information expanded to include statistical data for public
health monitoring, research and analysis.
In the United States, the registration of births, marriages,
and deaths has a long history beginning with a registration law enacted by the colony of
Virginia in 1632 and modified in 1639 by Massachusetts. Those laws required that
courts keep records of legal events of birth, death, and marriage. In 1933,
all states were registering records for live births and deaths.
Vital registration began in churches with recording of
christenings, marriages and burials. In the early 1800s, larger cities established boards of health to monitor epidemics. By reporting deaths, and including
information about cause of death, health professionals found the data useful
for studying patterns of disease when epidemics occurred.
The first birth and death
statistics were published for the entire U.S. based on census information collected in 1850
through 1900. The data was inaccurate and incomplete because people
were not able to provide all the facts to census takers several months after
the event had occurred. The inaccuracies demonstrated
a greater need and physicians
began demanding a more aggressive vital registration system to monitor disease
In 1879, Congress created the National Board of Health to promote
complete and uniform registration of vital events. In 1900, 12 states adopted
the standard form. Soon, six other states, the District of Columbia, and 71
large cities in other states used the same standard form in the same manner.
In the early 1900s, the Census Bureau and the American Public
Health Association (APHA) both supported and introduced a uniform system for
registration of vital events by developing a model law which included
instructions for local registrars, physicians and others filing records.
In 1914, the Census Bureau published the first table separating
resident deaths from nonresident deaths. During this time, efforts were also
focused on educating boards of health, physicians, and citizens about the need
for vital statistics data for public health.
By 1930, responsibility for state vital records had largely
moved from civil offices to health departments and use of vital records for
public health statistical analysis expanded. From 1935, birth and deaths were
reported by place of residence of mother or decedent. In 1946, the National
Office of Vital Statistics was established in the Public Health Service. The
National Office works with state and local vital statistics agencies to develop
a nationwide vital statistics system.
The National Office of Vital
Statistics merged with the National Health Survey in 1960 to become the National Center
for Health Statistics (NCHS). NCHS now works with 57 jurisdictions - all 50 states, the District of Columbia, New
York City, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, America Samoa, and the
Northern Mariana Islands. Minnesota's Office of Vital Records (OVR) sends vital records
data to NCHS on a daily basis.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) became responsible for collecting, maintaining, and issuing vital records in
1900 for births and 1908 for deaths. Before that, counties and municipalities
held this responsibility and collected vital event information locally. Paper records continued until electronic systems
replaced them in 1997 for deaths and in 2001 for births and fetal deaths.
OVR is a respected leader nationally in
recording, protecting, maintaining and storing vital records. Up until this
time, most of the states and territories used certified copies with an embosser
(some states without electronic systems continue to do so at present).
Minnesota introduced mainframe computer technology
to manage vital records and the activities related to them. As technology
evolved and the demand for real-time data increased, OVR invested in creating a more responsive electronic vital records system
for use statewide.
OVR was also interested in linking vital
records to an imaging system which could track and monitor historical and
supporting documents, such as those required for amendments, as well as
automatically capturing data and filing parentage documents.
OVR launched the Minnesota
Registration and Certification system (MR&C) in March, 2011. MR&C is a
web-based system, that registers events and shares data in real-time. It ensures
data confidentiality and security. It improves data quality and the system
incorporates security features such as access control, encryption and secure
OVR maintains a reliable system and continually
improves MR&C functionality based on feedback from users, business needs,
emerging technology, and other factors.