Statutes

Reference Information

On this page: Authority, Death Registration Requirements, Providing Cause of Death Information, Reportable Deaths, and Changing Cause of Death Information.

Authority

The state registrar maintains the statewide system of vital records and prescribes the method for death registration to achieve complete, accurate, and timely reporting.

Minnesota Statutes, section 144.213.

Death Registration Requirements

A death record for each death which occurs in the state shall be filed with the state registrar within five days after death and prior to final disposition.

Death registration in Minnesota is electronic, using the web-based vital records application, Minnesota Registration & Certification (MR&C). Electronic death record registration results in timely, accurate and complete records; this means that disposition can be authorized electronically, families can obtain death certificates as soon as the death record is complete, and death data can inform public health.

Minnesota Statutes, section 144.221.

Providing Cause of Death Information

Only licensed medical certifiers may provide cause of death information in Minnesota. Medical certifiers are physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, coroners, or medical examiners.

Funeral home staff enter identifying information about the decedent (name, date of birth, date of death), the place of death, method of disposition of the body and the name of the medical certifier.

Medical certifiers enter the cause and manner of death directly into MR&C or provide the cause of death information to authorized staff to enter on the medical certifier's behalf.

Cause of death information should be the medical certifier’s best medical opinion. A properly completed cause-of-death section provides an etiologic explanation of the order, type, and association of events resulting in death.

A medical certifier who provides the cause of death must have attended the death, be an associate of a medical certifier who provided medical treatment for the deceased before death, or a medical certifier who has direct knowledge of the circumstances of death and has access to the medical record of the deceased.

When the manner of death is not natural, a coroner or medical examiner in the county where the death occurred is required to provide the cause of death.

For information about providing cause of death, including tutorials and handbooks, see How to enter cause of death using MR&C.

Minnesota Rules, part 4601.1500 and Minnesota Rules, part 4601.1800

Reportable Deaths

All sudden or unexpected deaths and all deaths that may be due entirely or in part to any factor other than natural disease processes must be promptly reported to the coroner or medical examiner for evaluation.

Minnesota Statutes, section 390.11, subdivision 1

Changing Cause of Death Information

Sometimes, cause of death information on a record needs to be changed. Only the Office of Vital Records can process requests to change the cause of death.

The medical certifier who originally provided the cause of death or a coroner/medical examiner from the county where the death occurred must contact the Office of Vital Records at health.vitalrecords@state.mn.us or call 651-201-5970 to request information on how to change a cause of death.

Minnesota Statutes, section 144.225, subdivision 8