July 2019 Vital Records News

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Vital Records News

July 2019

Leading Cause of Death and Mental Illness

Minnesota Department of Health researchers from the Center for Health Statistics and the Office of Vital Records are studying the association between mental illness and cause of death. Preliminary findings were presented at the Society of Epidemiologic Research conference held in Minneapolis this past June. The research team is using data from Minnesota death records to look at the leading causes of death among adults between the ages of 50 and 64 (midlife) who had documented mental illness.

The leading cause of death for those with mental illness was suicide, while the leading cause of death for those with no documented mental illness was cancer. Initial results suggest striking differences between those who had a mental illness and those who did not. 

Although cancer and cardiovascular disease are the leading causes of death among midlife adults in Minnesota, these preliminary results suggest that midlife adults with mental illness may be more likely to die by suicide than cancer and cardiovascular disease combined.

For more details, see the poster from the Society of Epidemiological Research, 2019 Annual Meeting on the Minnesota Center for Health Statistics Publications webpage.

Vital Records News Survey Results

In June 2019, the Office of Vital Records (OVR) asked recipients of Vital Records News to respond to a brief survey about the newsletter.

Of the 542 respondents who completed the survey, 65 percent were either very satisfied or satisfied with Vital Records News. Most respondents have been reading the newsletter for one to three years, and 64 percent have been reading the newsletter each month. Twenty eight percent of respondents have forwarded the newsletter to share important information.

Some suggestions to improve the newsletter were to include best practices and tips, shorter articles with links to in-depth information, and add more statistics and graphs. We will strive to incorporate these suggestions in future newsletter issues.

Some respondents indicated a willingness to contribute to the newsletter by sharing an improvement or best practice from their office (six percent), suggesting topics of interest (five percent), and submitting articles for review and publication (two percent).

Thank you all for your responses and willingness to contribute to Vital Record News.

MR&C Tips - birth and death registration

Subjects without a permanent residence - entering residence information on birth and death records

Homelessness in Minnesota - 2018 study finds a 10 percent increase from 2015.

Every three years, Wilder Research conducts a one-day statewide study to better understand the prevalence of homelessness in Minnesota, as well as the circumstances of those experiencing homelessness. The most recent study was conducted on October 25, 2018. See Homelessness in Minnesota (http://mnhomeless.org/) for in-depth information.

Residence information is collected both for birth and death records. The decedent’s residence information is important for computing death rates, environmental studies, population estimates and projections for small and large geographic areas as well as geocoding. Health and medical researchers use the mother’s residence information to study and improve the health of mothers and newborn infants. Local public health programs also use residence information to do home visits and to follow up with at-risk infants.

Even without a permanent address, a homeless person lives in an area or city. With that information, you may proceed with registration by entering the residence state, county, city/town, and ZIP code. Enter UNKNOWN for the street address. Sometimes, a person who has been homeless for a long time will have a post office box or special address where they receive mail; however, the location where they receive mail is not their residence address.

Death records

Funeral home personnel collect the decedent’s residence address for death records. The residence of the decedent (state, county, city, and street address) is the place where his or her household is located, the place where the decedent actually resided, or where the person lived and slept most of the time.

TIP: When entering the residence information on the death record of a homeless person, enter the state, county and city where the person lived and slept. Enter the ZIP code if you know it.

Birth records

Birth registrars collect both the residence address and the mailing address of the mother who gave birth. The two addresses are not necessarily the same.

TIP: When entering a homeless mother’s residence information on a birth record, enter the state, county and city where the mother lives and sleeps. Enter the ZIP code if you know it.

On a related note, this year the Legislature voted to require the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in consultation with the Commissioners of Health and Public Safety, to report to the legislature and make recommendations on providing homeless youth with access to birth records and Minnesota identification cards at no cost. The report is due no later than January 15, 2020.


Decrease in Minnesota overall drug overdose deaths 

Preliminary statewide data show a decrease in overall drug overdose deaths in Minnesota with deaths dropping 17% from 733 in 2017 to 607 in 2018. While promising, overdose rates remain at historic highs and indicate the amount of work still needed in prevention and treatment of substance use disorder. Preliminary 2018 data show decline in opioid deaths

From the Washington Post

Drilling into the DEA’s pain pill database

National Vital Statistics Reports

This report evaluates the quality of selected 2003 revision-based medical and health data by comparing birth certificate data for New York City with information abstracted from hospital medical records.

Assessing the Quality of Medical and Health Data From the 2003 Birth Certificate Revision: Results From New York City (PDF)

Contact the Office of Vital Records