September 2019 Vital Records News

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Vital Records News

September 2019

Birth Registration Timeliness

The Office of Vital Records (OVR) tracks the percentage of birth records filed within five days of birth for each birthing facility. We track this data because Minnesota Statutes, section 144.215, subdivision 1, requires that “A record of birth for each live birth which occurs in this state shall be filed with the state registrar within five days after the birth.” In addition, we want to meet the increased demand for real time birth data by local, state and national partners.

For a number of years, OVR gave Excellence in Birth Registration awards to facilities that registered 98 percent of their births within five days of the birth. The facilities also had to meet data quality standards set by the National Center for Health Statistics. By 2013, the last year of the awards, almost every facility achieved the goal of filing birth records within five days after the birth.

Many facilities continue to achieve this goal. Twenty-two facilities filed all of their birth records within five days of each birth for the years 2017, 2018 and year-to-date 2019. Thirty-four facilities filed birth records within five days of each birth between 97 and 100 percent of the time since 2017. The remaining facilities have not maintained the timeliness goal.

Has your facility met and maintained the timeliness in registration goal? Click Birth Record Filing Timeliness by Facility and Year (Excel) to see how your facility is doing.

Review the quarterly and year-to-date interactive Birth Quality Reports to see ‘timeliness of birth reporting’ for your facility compared to all Minnesota facilities and, how many birth records were registered at your facility with missing data items versus Minnesota as a whole. The reports are available to view or download and print from the Birth and Fetal Death Registration Information for Hospital Staff website. We will post the third quarter and January through September reports in early October 2019.


Vital Records featured at Minnesota Funeral Directors Association Regional Meetings

Law change on the agenda

Morticians and their staff initiate nearly all Minnesota death records—about 44,000 annually. They register demographic and legal information that complete the “facts” of death. Because of this important partnership, the Office of Vital Records (OVR) is on the agenda for the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association Regional meetings this fall. Bill Devine, OVR’s supervisor of the Statewide Systems and Support Unit, will be traveling to Spicer, Minneapolis, Mahnomen, Grand Rapids, Slayton, Mankato, and Rochester to provide updates and tips, and to discuss legislation to secure vital records.

During the last legislative session, the Senate (SF2888) and House (HF2044) introduced bills to tighten security for vital records. The bills apply to both birth and death records and propose changes to Minnesota Statutes, section 144.225, subdivision 7 that would:

  • Remove eligibility for “the party responsible for filing the vital record” to get data or legal certificates.
  • Add a qualifier to “an attorney upon evidence of the attorney's license” to require that the attorney represent the subject of the record or someone who is eligible under law to get data or legal certificates.
  • Preserve all other language in the law.

Because birth certificates are identity documents used to get driver’s licenses and passports and to access many benefits and services, eliminating risk is important.

If the law changes, morticians and funeral directors will continue to get legal certificates as they do now, by ordering them from their local vital records office through Minnesota Registration and Certification (MR&C), for up to 180 days after the date of death.

Under the existing law now and even with the change, morticians and funeral directors can continue to provide great service after six months by helping customers get certificates as “a successor of the subject”, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 524.1-201, “by sworn affidavit of the fact that the certified copy is required for administration of the estate.” In this case, "successor" means a funeral director or county government that provides the funeral and burial of the decedent.

Morticians, funeral directors, or their staff can also obtain a certificate as “a representative authorized by a person” who is eligible. The representative must have a signed statement from an eligible person that specifies the signer's relationship to the subject of the record, provides information to identify the vital record, identifies the representative by name, and grants the representative permission to obtain the certificate. With that statement, funeral staff can order in person or by completing an application form and sending it and the fee to any Minnesota vital records issuance office.

Another option is to direct the customer to a county vital records office or OVR and provide them an application.

OVR encourages morticians and funeral directors to attend the regional meetings if they are members. For more information about OVR’s presentation or about death registration or vital records in general, please contact OVR’s Help Desk at 651-201-5970 or

2019 Minnesota Funeral Directors Association District Meetings

September 2019

  • September 17, District 9 & 10, Shooting Star Casino, Mahnomen
  • September 18, District 11, Timberlake Lodge & Event Center, Grand Rapids

October 2019

  • October 15, District 3, Tuesday, Key Largo, Slayton
  • October 16, District 2, Wednesday, Loose Moose Saloon, Mankato
  • October 17, District 1, Thursday, Rochester Event Center, Rochester

If planning to attend, please register online at Minnesota Funeral Directors Association or call 763-416-0124.

We want to hear from you!

  • What have you or your facility done to solve a registration or certificate issuance problem?
  • What questions do you want OVR to answer?
  • Are you interested in being a guest writer for a future newsletter? What topic?

Put Vital Records News in the subject line and email your solutions, questions, ideas to One of the newsletter staff will contact you to get and give information.

In other news...

Hospital Birth Registrar Resource in HTML Format!

The Guide to Completing the Facility Worksheets for the Certificate of Live Birth and Report of Fetal Death is now available in HTML format. This searchable database of items on the birth record and report of fetal death contains the same information as the PDF and hard copies of the guidebook, but in a user-friendly format that also works on tablets and smartphones.

For future reference, the link to the HTML version of the guidebook is on the Birth and Fetal Death Registration Information for Hospital Staff Forms webpage.


From the Minnesota Department of Health

Vaping-Associated Lung Injuries

Health officials report death in a patient hospitalized for vaping-related lung injury

From the CDC

Outbreak of Electronic-Cigarette–Associated Acute Lipoid Pneumonia — North Carolina, July–August 2019

From the Vital Statistics Rapid Release program at CDC

Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts

Training for Funeral Home Staff and Birth Registrars

There is no charge to attend these classes, but pre-registration is required as space is limited. 

Email to register for one of these classes. Put the name of the class in the subject line and your contact information in the body of the email. 

Because the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Learning Center website is not available right now, see class descriptions on these webpages: Birth and Fetal Death Registration Information for Hospital Staff and Death Registration Information for Morticians and Staff.

5R's of Death Registration - for funeral home staff

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 8 a.m. - noon

Birth Registration 101 - for new birth registrars

Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 8 a.m. - noon

Both classes are at the Orville L. Freeman Building, Room C127, 625 Robert St N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538.

Contact the Office of Vital Records