LEGISLATIVE UPDATES-The last Legislative Session ended with additions of two vital records processes.
- Mandate for physicians to use ROVER
SB 1147 New Law Requiring Physicians to use ROVER. The law provides in part:
63 § 1-317a E. No later than July 1, 2017, physicians licensed in this state shall be required to sign and file death certificates using the prescribed electronic system.
HB 2586 New Law Requiring Physicians to use ROVER. The law essentially contains language consistent with the SB above and additionally allows:
63 § 1-317 D 1. No later than July 1, 2017, the medical certification portion of certificate data shall be entered into the prescribed electronic system provided by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics and the information submitted to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
These laws will require all physicians to complete the medical portion of a death record using ROVER effective July 1, 2017. This will effectively alleviate the need to mail or carry a paper certificate to the physician for certification. Currently more than 800 funeral directors have voluntarily enrolled in ROVER. VR is looking forward to adding the remaining certifying Oklahoma physicians and the subsequent improvement we expect to see in timely filing of Oklahoma death records as a result of this law process.
- HB2703 New Law Requiring Vital Records to establish a Public Index. The law provides in part:
63 § 1-323 B. The State Department of Health shall, by July 1, 2017, make available an online public index that includes, as is applicable, the name, gender, date of birth, date of death, county of birth, and county of death of all persons in its records. Birth data shall not be added to the index until twenty (20) years after the birth. Death data shall not be added to the index until five (5) years after the death. The index shall be made available online at no cost to users.
Currently, genealogists are required to pay for a search of Oklahoma records and the search fee is non-refundable. This law will allow a limited amount of information to be made available publicly at no charge to help genealogists determine if a record of interest is on file with the state. Once identified, the searcher will be able to place an order for a copy of the record. We expect the website to be available in Jan 2017.
NCHS-TRAINING/ PILOT-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Mortality Statistics Branch is developing an e-learning module for funeral directors to improve the quality of race and Hispanic origin data on the death certificate. We will ask for a couple of volunteers from our Oklahoma Funeral Directors who have a racially diverse clientele to participate in this project. The focus group participants would be involved in conference calls to help developers gain perspective as they develop the training, as well as testing the final product.
FUNERAL HOME PORTAL-VR is working with VitalChek to make a portal available to funeral directors to order certified copies of death certificates on-line. The system would allow the funeral director or designated funeral staff to place an order and make payment with a credit card. An additional fee of up to $6.00 per specific record up to 10 certified copies would be assessed. (For example, 4 copies of a death certificate for Joe Smith would be $66 -> $15.00 fee per copy + the $6.00 adm fee). The processing fee will cover the processing fee charged by credit card companies and the cost of maintaining the portal, helpdesk, etc. which will be provided by VitalChek. The order would be processed by VR within 1-2 business days of receipt and returned to the funeral home by mail through the United States Postal Service. VitalChek will be in Oklahoma to provide coaching to funeral home staff in a series of regional trainings. Additional information regarding the service and trainings will be forthcoming.