Death Medical Certifier Info Page

Death Registration

Information for Medical Certifiers, Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Designated Staff

Death registration in Minnesota is electronic, using the statewide web-based vital records application, Minnesota Registration & Certification System (MR&C). Medical certifiers (or their designated staff) are expected to enter the cause and manner of death into MR&C.

To complete death records online, become an MR&C user by completing and submitting the Medical Certifier / Designated Staff User Agreement (PDF).

The State Registrar is responsible for administering and enforcing the Minnesota Vital Records Act. Duties of the State Registrar include promoting uniformity of policy and procedures throughout the state in matters pertaining to the system of vital records and, prescribing the means for transmission of data to accomplish the purpose of complete, accurate, and timely reporting and registering of vital events.


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

Information about the fact of death, and the cause and manner of death, are registered in real-time to create one death record for each decedent. Electronic death record registration using MR&C results in timely, accurate and complete records. Timely electronic death record completion means families can obtain death certificates without delay, disposition can be authorized electronically, and death data can inform public health.

The Office of Vital Records (OVR) no longer enters cause of death information into MR&C from paper worksheets sent to OVR by medical certifiers or funeral establishments. Become an MR&C user by completing and submitting the Medical Certifier / Designated Staff User Agreement (PDF) and complete death records online.

As a medical certifier and MR&C user, you may designate staff in your health care facility to enter cause of death information into MR&C on your behalf. Staff designated by you must become MR&C users and you must provide your designated staff with the cause of death information.

In Minnesota, only medical certifiers may provide information about the cause and manner of someone’s death and certify the death record. Medical certifiers include:
  • Advanced practice registered nurses
  • Physicians (including medical examiners and coroners)
  • Physician assistants

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). The 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?

Essentia Health to initiate death records by registering medical information first

The project starting November 20, 2017, will test the feasibility of initiating a death record by registering cause of death (COD) before fact of death (FOD). Essentia Health staff will use a new “Enter cause of death” function in MR&C to file COD. OVR hopes that a “cause of death first” process proves to be as functional and timely (if not more timely) for complete death registration as the current method of "fact of death first".

During the pilot, Essentia staff will initiate death records when the death occurs in an Essentia facility.

MR&C will continue to send ‘Medical Examiner referral’ emails for non-natural deaths, injuries, and trigger words such as “fracture” and “abuse” immediately after cause of death information is filed. Medical examiners and coroners can review and process referred records as usual.

MR&C will not send “Pending cremation authorization request’ emails to medical examiners or coroners because method of dispostion is not entered by Essentia staff. Records requiring authorization for final disposition will go to the 'Pending cremation authorization' work queue after  the fact of death is filed. During the pilot, a medical examiner or coroner may need to review referred records that require authorization for final disposition twice.

Read "Essentia Health to initiate death records by registering medical information first" in November 2017 Vital Records News  for more information.

If you have questions about the Essentia Health Pilot Project, please contact the OVR Help Desk at 651-201-5993 or health.MRCAdmin@state.mn.us.

 

Statutory Authority:

Minnesota Vital Records Act, Minnesota Statutes, sections 144.211-144.227

Minnesota Rules, chapter 4601