Vital Records/Health Statistics Accreditation Program Now Open

People Signing Papers

On November 28, 2018, the final standards and measures for Vital Records/Health Statistics were formally approved during a signing ceremony at PHAB. Joining PHAB Board of Directors members at the ceremony were representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support and CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics; and the National Association of Public Health Statistics and Information Systems.

For the past few years, PHAB has been working to develop accreditation standards and measures for Vital Records/Health Statistics (VRHS) Units in the 57 jurisdictional areas identified by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) within the National Vital Statistics Collaborative Program (VSCP). This includes the jurisdictions where statewide vital records are collected from the 50 states, District of Columbia, New York City, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. PHAB has partnered with the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS), NCHS, and several states to develop the standards and measures and complete both an alpha and a beta test to ascertain their applicability in the field. The revised version of the Standards and Measures for National Accreditation of State/Territorial Vital Records/Health Statistics Units was open for public comment in the fall of 2018.

The functions of statewide vital records and health statistics units are related to, but very different from, state health department accreditation and therefore merit their own accreditation module unique and different from the general public health functions of health departments. On November 28, 2018, the PHAB Board of Directors approved the final standards and measures and process guide for this new accreditation program. A press release announcing the launch of the program was issued on February 14, 2019. PHAB began accepting applications for the new Vital Records and Health Statistics Accreditation Program on April 1, 2019.

There are also several other resources for VRHS Units that may be interested in learning more about this new opportunity:

  • A series of four learning modules are available on PHAB’s online education access portal, Bridge. The modules cover and/or describe the (1) program overview; (2) the accreditation process; (3) the standards and measures; and (4) how to prepare.  Health departments can access the learning modules and other VRHS-related preparation materials by creating an account on Bridge.  This quick instructional guide provides information for creating a Bridge account.

  • The fee schedule for VRHS accreditation is available here as well as under the “What Does It Cost? section of this website.

  • The Standards and Measures for National Accreditation of State/Territorial Vital Records and Health Statistics Units are available here.

  • The Guide for National Accreditation of State/Territorial Vital Records and Health Statistics Units is available here.

  • The Vital Records and Health Statistics Acronyms and Glossary of Terms Supplement is available here.

  • Review the “Terms and Conditions” for entering into the Vital Records/Health Statistics accreditation program.

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 (VSCP) to fulfill its legislatively mandated mission to produce national vital statistics. State and jurisdiction are synonymous within the text above when referring to the 57 funded jurisdictions. 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.

Statewide system of vital statistics means the collection, registration, preservation, amendment, certification, verification, and the maintenance of the security and integrity of vital records; the collection of other reports; and activities related thereto including the tabulation, analysis, publication, and dissemination of vital statistics.

“Vital records” means reports of live birth, death, fetal death, marriage, (divorce, dissolution of marriage, or annulment) and data related thereto which have been accepted for registration and incorporated into the official records of the (Office of Vital Statistics). “Vital statistics” means the aggregated data derived from the records and reports of live birth, death, fetal death, induced termination of pregnancy, marriage, (divorce, dissolution of marriage, or annulment) and supporting documentation and related reports.

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