The collection of vital records – including information on births, deaths, and other life events – is the legal responsibility of the states and territories, not the federal government.

Vital records serve critical public health functions and are essential in tracking life expectancy and creating effective public health programs in communities. In addition to identifying information collected on vital records, health information is collected and used for calculating basic statistics and the data are regularly used for medical and health research.

In partnership with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), PHAB developed the Vital Records/Health Statistics (VRHS) Accreditation Program. VRHS unit accreditation is intended to help promote high standards that will validate and guide business operations and quality improvement efforts in vital records and health statistics offices, as well as promote continuous quality improvement.

Standards & Measures for National Accreditation of VRHS Units
Guide for National Accreditation of VRHS Units

Interested in preparing to apply for VRHS Accreditation?
Here’s how to get started:

  • Register to PHAB’s Learning Center to gain access to resources and materials including a series of four learning modules to learn more about the program and process, the VRHS Standards & Measures, and more information about how to prepare.

  • Review the VRHS Standards & Measures and Guide, Version 2018.

  • Register in e-PHAB to submit the application and documentation materials.

  • Email [email protected] to learn more about how to apply for VRHS accreditation.

Additional Resources

For additional questions on how to get started, email [email protected] 

Eligibility

Eligible applicants for Vital Records/Health Statistics accreditation include the 57 jurisdictional areas identified by the National Center for Health Statistics within the National Vital Statistics Collaborative Program to fulfill its legislatively mandated mission to produce national vital statistics. The state or territorial health department does not have to be accredited for the VRHS Unit to apply. However, approval from the Director of the State or Territorial Health Department or from the Secretary of State in the case of New Hampshire, is required.

To be eligible, such entities must operate in a manner consistent with applicable federal, state, and territorial statutes, rules, and regulations.

Fees

PHAB instituted a fee structure to manage and maintain the national accreditation process. Applicant fees are necessary for PHAB to provide quality services to both applicants for accreditation and accredited health departments. Public health department accreditation is not a “one-time” event; it is an ongoing commitment to continuous quality improvement.

Learn more about fees