News release: R.I.P. paper death record submissions

News Release
September 19, 2017

Contact information

R.I.P. paper death record submissions

The Minnesota Department of Health has had so much success facilitating clinicians’ use of online filing of death records that, starting October 1, it will reduce wait times for families by eliminating paper submissions for the state’s 42,000 annual deaths.

Paper submission has been on the decline since Minnesota implemented electronic death registration 20 years ago. However due to Project Paper Cut, it has boosted e-death registration among clinicians, including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, from 80 percent to 97 percent during the past year.

“We’ve made such great progress that this fall is the right time to finally go completely electronic,” said State Registrar Molly Crawford. “E-filing is a real benefit to grieving Minnesota families. It allows us to get more complete and accurate death certificates to families faster when both the fact and cause of death are entered directly into the Minnesota Registration and Certification System, a secure, real-time, web-based application.”

Minnesota’s Paper Cut initiative was funded by a federal grant that is part of a national effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve the quality and timeliness of death records. Under the Minnesota Vital Records Act, the state registrar manages the statewide system to collect, file, register and issue vital records.

Previously, some physicians wrote out the cause of death information on worksheets, then wrote the same information on faxed requests to authorize cremation and then logged into Minnesota’s e-death certification system and completed the same information even a third time.

Clinicians who have never registered a death online will need to establish a registration and certification account. The Office of Vital Records encourages these medical certifiers to set up their accounts before a death needs to be registered. Vital records staff are ready to assist in establishing accounts. Information specifically for medical certifiers is at Death Registration Information for Medical Certifiers and Designated Staff. Clinicians can contact vital records for help at 651-201-5993, 1-888-692-2733 or

For general questions about birth and death certificates, the public can call 651-201-5970 or email


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications