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County Frequently Asked Questions

Click the links below to jump to a question.

Table of Contents

Document retention standards

Death record registration process/timeliness

Order processing/issuing vital records

Home births and burials



Document Retention Standards

Question: We regularly do not get the disposition forms from Funeral Homes. What should we do with the 24 hour notice of receipt of body receipt once we have registered the death report if we never received the disposition form from the funeral home?

Answer: There are three documents that should be received for every death:

  • 24 hour notice of receipt of body
  • Report of Death
  • Final disposition form

If everything is proceeding ‘textbook’, the forms will arrive in this order. Once all three documents are received (or fully electronic report of death confirmed in OVERS), the 24 hour notice of receipt of body card and final disposition form can be shredded. Once the Report of Death is registered in OVERS or fourteen days after sending the Report of Death to the state vital records office – whichever happens first – the white copy Report of Death should be shredded.

If you don’t receive the 24 hour notice of receipt of body card but do receive the Report of Death and the Final disposition form, you do not have to contact the funeral home to get the 24 hour notice of receipt of body so that you can shred it. Funeral homes that routinely do not send the 24 hour notice of receipt of body should be contacted by the county and if still not following law, reported to CHS.

If the final disposition form is not received, contact the cemetery or crematory if known (may be on the Report of Death) and ask for the final disposition form. The county may contact the funeral home to follow up with the cemetery or crematory, but the final disposition form would not come from the funeral home directly. It is the responsibility of the person in charge of the place of final disposition to return the form to the county. If the method of final disposition is removal from state, the county can choose not to follow up since laws and procedures vary by state.

Question: How long should I retain applications for birth and death records? Can we scan the order forms for archiving purposes?

Answer: Under OAR 166-300-0025 (3) Financial Records for receipt of funds, either a scanned or paper copy of applications (order forms) that include payment of fees should be retained for six years and then destroyed, unless your county has adopted a longer retention schedule. Scanned applications can be attached to electronic order in OVERS or maintained separately. Applicant information keyed into OVERS will be retained for 75 years under the state retention schedule for electronic application data.

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Death record registration process/timeliness

Question: When a Medical Examiner accepts a referral to complete a death report, does this mean the M.E. fills out an affidavit that is sent to the county along with the death report?

Answer: If the Medical Examiner accepts jurisdiction (takes over the Report of Death), the Medical Examiner should complete a replacement record. The replacement record will most likely be a fully electronic record but could be a new paper or hybrid record.

If the Medical Examiner declines jurisdiction for a death report that was completed stating the manner of death as accidental (or the cause of death indicates an accident), the medical certifier should amend the Report of Death to indicate that the Medical Examiner was contacted (item 46 amended to ‘Yes’).

Question: What should the county vital records office do in cases where the County Medical Examiner routinely delays completion of the death report until after an investigation and lab reports are available?

Answer: The State Medical Examiner’s office is in the process of changing their procedures for creating death certificates in cases where a cause of death requires investigation. As a result, we have begun to receive some death records from M.E.s with “pending” stated as the cause of death. When the M.E. lists the cause of death as “pending” they will create a replacement death certificate stating the actual cause of death at a later time when the investigation is concluded.

Although families cannot use certified copies of the report of death with manner or cause of death “pending” for certain purposes (like claiming life insurance benefits) they can use it for other legal purposes. Counties can and should encourage the county Medical Examiner to submit Reports of Death as quickly as possible to meet law and the family’s needs.

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Order processing/issuing vital records

Question: The State Public Notary is now accepting expired ID's for notarizing records three years back on expiration. Is the State considering allowing vital record applicants to use ID that has been expired up to 3 years as acceptable proof of identity?

Answer: The Center for Health Statistics does not intend to use the Secretary of State’s policy of accepting ID that has expired up to three years as acceptable proof of identity. We accept a wide range of identification as proof of identity and allow the use of ID’s that have expired as long as the expiration date is 30 days or less from the date of the vital record order. Our list of acceptable proof of identity is available online.

Question: Will Matricula consulate cards ever be accepted as acceptable proof of identity for the purpose of ordering vital records from the State?

Answer: The Center for Health Statistics does not currently accept Matricula consulate cards as acceptable proof of identity alone, only as an additional document with other alternative ID documents. We have no plans at this time to change our policy to accept Matricula consulate cards as a document of proof of identity because they have few security features and so can be fraudulently produced.

Question: How do we create an order for a replacement copy of a short form death certificate using OVERS when there is no service in OVERS available for replacing short form death certificates?

Answer: Creating orders in OVERS for replacement copies of short form death certificates has been problematic in the past because there was no service for replacement copies of short form death certificates. As of mid-July 2014 OVERS will be updated (version 14.1.2) to provide two services for replacing short copies called “Death Replace CC Short No Fee” and “Death Replace CC Short With Fee”. Using these services allows you to print a short version of the death certificate directly from the record stored in OVERS.

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Home births and burials

Question: What are the rules, processes, and procedures that individuals must follow if delivering a baby at home without a CHS registered midwife?

Answer: We are developing information regarding home births to post on our website. In the meantime, individuals can be sent a home birth application upon request. Please direct all questions related to home births to Amanda Vega at amanda.l.vega@state.or.us or 971-673-1169.

Question: What are the rules, processes, and procedures that individuals must follow if intending to care for and bury the body of a deceased individual without the assistance of a licensed funeral director?

Answer: We are developing information regarding home burials to post on our website. In the meantime, individuals can be sent information on home burial upon request. Please direct questions about home burials to Lynda Jackson at lynda.l.jackson@state.or.us or 971-673-1164.

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