Physician and Medical Examiner Info Page

Death Registration Information for Medical Certifiers and Designated Staff

In Minnesota, only certain medical professionals, referred to as medical certifiers, are authorized to provide information about the cause and manner of someone’s death and certify death records. Medical certifiers include:
  • Advanced practice registered nurses
  • Physicians (including medical examiners and coroners)
  • Physician assistants

Death registration in Minnesota is electronic, using the statewide web-based vital records application, Minnesota Registration & Certification (MR&C).

MR&C allows information about the fact, cause and manner of death to be registered in real-time so that one death record is created for each decedent. Registering death records online through MR&C provides timely, accurate and complete records so that certificates can be issued to families without delay, disposition can be authorized efficiently, and data can inform public health.

Effective October 1, 2017, the Office of Vital Records will institute a “no-paper policy” related to death registration. Completing cause of death information in MR&C is expected and supported. Under the No Paper Policy, the Office of Vital Records (OVR) will no longer enter cause of death information into MR&C from paper worksheets faxed to OVR. Make sure that you are ready.

Become an MR&C user and designate staff by completing and submitting the Medical Certifier / Designated Staff User Agreement (PDF) to complete death records online. Staff you designate in your health care facility can enter cause of death information into MR&C on your behalf, but you must provide your authorized staff with the cause of death information.

Minnesota Registration & Certification is a full service, web-based vital records system for registering vital events that occur in Minnesota and for issuing certified copies of death and birth certificates to eligible requesters.

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for MR&C operations and user access. Learn more about Minnesota Registration & Certification (MR&C) on the Minnesota Department of Health web pages for Medical Certifiers.

Medical certifiers fulfill an important final step in completing a patient’s care by providing cause of death for the death certificate. Families use these permanent legal records to settle the affairs of their loved one and to obtain insurance, veterans’ and retirement benefits.

The death certificate cause of death information is the source for state and national mortality statistics. Cause of death information guides decisions on which medical conditions receive research and development funding, sets public health goals, and measures health status at local, state, national, and international levels.

A properly completed cause-of-death section provides an etiologic explanation of the order, type, and association of events resulting in death.

Data derived from death certificates is no more accurate than the information provided on the certificate.

In the United States, the legal authority to register deaths lies within 57 jurisdictions (50 states, 2 cities and 5 territories). The 57 jurisdictions share death record information with the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Compiled national mortality statistics inform a variety of medical and health-related research efforts. Local and state public health agencies use information from the death record to assess community health status and for disease surveillance (e.g., drug overdose deaths, influenza and other infectious diseases).

What's New?

Legislative change effective May 19, 2017:

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 144.213, subdivision 1, is amended to read:

Subdivision 1. Creation; state registrar; Office of Vital Records. The commissioner shall establish an Office of Vital Records under the supervision of the state registrar. The commissioner shall promulgate rules for the collection, filing, and registering of vital records information by the state registrar, physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, morticians, and others. Except as otherwise provided in sections 144.211 to 144.227, rules previously promulgated by the commissioner relating to the collection, filing and registering of vital records shall remain in effect until repealed, modified or superseded by a rule promulgated by the commissioner.

Minnesota Rules, part 4601.1800, shall be modified to read as follows until the commissioner of health can revise the rule under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 14:

"Cause of death information for each death that occurs in Minnesota may be provided only by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant, coroner, or medical examiner. The physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant who provides the cause of death must be the physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant who was present at the time of death; the physician, advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant, or an associate of the physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant who provided medical treatment for the deceased before death; or a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant who has direct knowledge of the circumstances and cause of death and has access to the medical record of the deceased. Cause of death information must be provided to a registrar according to parts 4601.0100 to 4601.2600."


Minnesota Statutes, sections 144.211-144.227 and Minnesota Rules, chapter 4601.