Death Registration Information for Coroners, Medical Examiners, Physicians and Designated Staff Assistants
Importance of Death Registration
Physicians 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 also the source for state and national mortality statistics and is used to determine which medical conditions receive research and development funding, to set public health goals, and to measure 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; persons concerned with the registration of deaths must strive for complete registration and accuracy and promptness in reporting these events.
National Vital Statistics System
In the United States, the legal authority to register deaths lies within 57 jurisdictions (50 states, 2 cities and 5 territories). Death record information from the 57 jurisdictions is shared with the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is used to compile national mortality statistics which 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).
Minnesota Vital Records Program
In Minnesota, the State Registrar maintains the statewide vital records program and the Minnesota Registration & Certification System (MR&C). MR&C is used to electronically register deaths, fetal death reports and births that occur in the state and issue certified copies of death and birth certificates to eligible requesters.