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Request for Use of Data with Identifiers and Statement of Assurances

 

DCVRD notices

12/11/2018: The social security number data transmission issue has been resolved. If you have delivered a newborn since October 1, 2018 and requested courtesy data transmission to the US Social Security Administration (SSA), your information has been submitted. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the SSA to mail your baby’s social security card. If you would like to instead apply for a social security number at an SSA field office, please access this link for instructions: SSA Brochure.

Requesting Vital Records Data for Administrative or Research Purposes

Any person, institution, agency or office can request data from the Vital Records Division. Applicants must demonstrate direct and tangible interest, administrative use or statistical purpose for vital records data. Direct and tangible interest is when a vital record is required for the protection of a personal or property right. Statistical purpose is defined as the use of data to describe, estimate, or analyze the characteristics of groups, without identifying individual respondents.

(D.C. Code § 7–231.24)

WHAT are you allowed to use Vital Records data for?

Unless mandated by federal or District of Columbia law or ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction*, you CANNOT use vital records for legal, administrative, or other actions that directly affect a particular individual or establishment. However, Vital Records Division data ARE often requested for health statistical, epidemiological, and other research activities under strict confidentiality requirements and data security protections.

*Subpoenas and Orders may be required to be domesticated through DC Superior Court.

HOW are Vital Records data protected?

Each request is reviewed to determine whether the intended use of the data conforms to established standards of confidentiality.

Data kept confidential by law includes births, deaths (including fetal deaths), marriages, divorces, and domestic partnerships, as well as any other supporting document used to amend vital records.

Data permitting the identification of any particular individual or establishment can ONLY be disclosed under specified conditions designed to protect the privacy of, or prevent potential harm to, those who provided the data.

Each use of the data must be approved by the State Registrar. This includes use of data for a different purpose when the original stated use has already been approved.

Vital records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

HOW do I submit a request for record-level data containing personally identifying information (PII) for research purposes?

  • Download the request form or request a copy by mailing the
    DC Registrar
    899 North Capitol Street, NE , First Floor
    Washington, DC 20002
    or calling 202-442-5955.
  • This form includes a Statement of Assurances that the data will be used only for the proposed study and that the data’s confidentiality will be protected. You will need to sign this.
  • You will also need to get Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from the District of Columbia’s Department of Health Institutional Review Board for Public Health or approval by any IRB constituted according to federal guidelines for the protection of human subjects. You will need to include the approval letter with your request.
  • Send the completed Request Application form (the original form, not a copy) to:
    The Registrar Vital Records Division State Center for Health Statistics
    DC Department of Health
    899 North Capitol Street, NE , First Floor
    Washington, DC 20002

HOW do I submit a request for administrative purposes?

Contact the DC Health Vital Records Division State Registrar at 202-442-5955 to discuss your requirements.

WHAT should I know about the request process?

  • You must submit a separate request form for EACH project that uses Vital Records Division data.
  • Failure to provide sufficient detail may delay review or prevent approval.
  • Allow 30 days for your request to be processed.
  • For ongoing research projects, you must resubmit each year an IRB approval and signed Statement of Assurances that includes your Vital Records approved request/application number.