2014 Seminar Logo1

fgs ptp donate

MGC Blog Calendar

Loading ...

MGC Blog Latest Posts

holiday inn front portal
Getting the Most Out of Attending the MGC Genealogy Conference: 10 Things You Need to Know
Seminar Programs
Rate this blog entry:
b2ap3_thumbnail_ParisCafeDiscussion.png
Wait, Wait, There's More: Breakfast, Lunch, Prizes, Treasure Hunt, and Table Topics
Seminar Programs
Rate this blog entry:
b2ap3_thumbnail_little_professor.png
Break Through Brickwalls: Learn New and Wicked Good Genealogy Skills at the 2014 Annual Seminar
Seminar Programs
Rate this blog entry:

MGC Blog Tag Cloud

volunteerism HR 295 APG Roundtable SSA FamilySearch records access Arkansas Judy Russell S-1534 Rep. Michael Capuano (MA) budget cuts NERGC Billie Fogarty introduction New Jersey Bruce Cohen Jan Alpert humane RPAC pensions Alfred DeMaria records access Virginia volunteers Death Master File Transparency IGS 2012 Social Security Administration outreach FGS legislation TIGTA audit DMF; SSDI; Tax Fraud; legislation HR3475 Annual Meeting and Seminar FGS records access Public Records Rep. Sam Johnson (TX) mail forwarding HR295 access Legal Genealogist NAPHSIS Ancestry Registration Virginia Genealogy Massachusetts Open Access Tennessee family traits State House Instruction Access DMF S1534 APG Tennessee FGS Conference land records Randy Seaver New Hampshire legislation SSDI HR6205 Kate Auspitz seminar ISJGS Jacobson v Massachusetts Sponsors Arkansas Presidential Citation NGS Georgia Society Showcase New Hampshire IAJGS Presenters Massachusetts award medical pedigree inheritable disease NFOIC MGC Civil Records Sharon Sergeant Richard Nugent threats to access Vital Records Speakers Public Records Records Access State archives diagnosis Senate budget Education public access IAJGS Michael J. Astrue open access Tax Fraud Rhode Island Kenneth Ryesky smallpox IRS Congress Jan Meisels Allen Thomas MacEntee Oklahoma identity fraud Advocacy Lou Szucs Health pedigree Ethnicity legislation DMF Congress Jan Meisels Allen fraud DPH Newsletter State legislation Records Access communication Federal NEHGS archives Mary Ellen Grogran Alvie Davidson Annual Meeting Fred Moss Donna Holt Siemiatoski Elections 2012 Seminar Vendors legislators HR3475 S3432 Advocacy Pennsylvania Lame Duck funding SSDI threats to access Legislative sysoon Delaware David Rencher Melinde Byrne family medical history Georgia Archives War of 1812 State Library medical profile Annual Seminar Free Harold Henderson Stan Nyberg Annual Seminar Rep. Richard Nugent (FL) Georgia blog Richard McCoy Henning Jacobson civil records Linda McCleary SSA online registration 2014 Seminar Programs health history closures Identity Theft RPAC FOIA

Member Login

Join MGC Today!

 
To Renew Online
Log in then visit
your Profile under
the blue User Menu, above
OR
Join/renew with the

Affiliations

fgsmemberlogo

MGC Sentinel logo MGC Sentinel Logo

MGC Sentinel

Keeping Watch Over Massachusetts Public Records

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

What Is the 2011 Model Act and Regulations? Should Genealogists Worry?

Posted by on in Legislation Federal
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 262620
  • 0 Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Multiple state governments 

In the U.S., there are 57 varieties of vital statistics: the fifty states, five territories, Washington, DC, and New York City keep vital statistics in their own systems. The federal government requires reporting to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and to the Social Security Administration, to name just two. To do this, all 57 entities and the federal government must agree on how to transmit information.

There are two ways in which these groups work together. The 57 recording entities are involved in the non-governmental National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS). From its side, DHHS has evolved the Model Act and Regulations, a set of suggestions about how individual states can enact law and develop regulations about how to implement that law. The states are not required to implement the Model Act and Regulations. The Regulations do not specify the electronic formats for records transmission, but they do specify the types of information to be kept.

In 2009, the CDC appointed a committee to update the 1992 Model Act. The members of that committee were predominately drawn from the members of NAPHSIS. On 8 June 2011, NAPHSIS approved the new Model Act and sent it back to the CDC; the text of the resolution can be found here. At that point, genealogists expected that the Model Act would be published by DHHS so that the public could review it and provide feedback, just as they had done for the 1977 and 1992 Model Acts. That never happened. The Model Act was put on indefinite hold. As the CDC website states here, "DHHS is currently reviewing the proposed revision of the Model Law."

In spite of the lack public scrutiny and feedback, in spite of the lack of DHHS approval, the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) suspects that elements of the Model Act have been used to introduce new legislation. You can read RPAC's concerns here.

On 1 March 2013, NAPHSIS unilaterally released the draft version of the 2011 Model Act and Regulations. Although it is labeled as the "final" version, it still has not been reviewed by the public nor has it been approved by DHHS. It bears a date three months after NAPHSIS approval.

To get back to our opening question, do we need to worry about the 2011 Model Act? How effective is it if the 57 entities are not required to implement it? The answer is that most legal entities do implement large parts of it. When the 1977 Model Act's language placed the Registrar of Vital Statistics under the Department of Public Health, almost every state moved them there. When the 1992 Model Act specified closure periods for vital records, almost every state implemented them.

Although much of the 2011 Model Act describes the kinds of records to keep, it also specifies who can access them and for how long they are closed to genealogists. Here are the suggested closure periods for various events:

  • 75 years for death records
  • 100 years for marriage and divorce records
  • 125 years for birth records

Is this more closure for a longer period of time then your state currently uses? It surely is in Massachusetts.

The 2011 Model Act should be a call to all genealogists to start paying attention. If we pay attention, we can participate in the discussion when closure bills are submitted on the state level. If we pay attention, we can send letters to our legislators and testify before committees considering the bills. If we pay attention, we can alert our legislators to the fact that the 2011 Model Act has not been reviewed by the public and approved by DHHS.

This should be a call-to-action for all genealogists. If we don't pay attention, we could lose access on the state level. Massachusetts has a statewide organization tasked to monitor legislation. Michigan and Texas have people doing this as well. Does your state?

 

There is speculation that two elements of the 2011 Model Act are so controversial that DHHS was reluctant to make them public. These two elements are:

  • Using language in marriage records that can accommodate same sex marriages, such as Registrant rather than Husband and Wife (Regulation 28.4): "In addition, all certifications of a marriage or domestic partnership record shall include at a minimum the following information for each registrant..."
  • Recording all abortions (Section 25): "Each induced termination of pregnancy which occurs in this State, regardless of the length of gestation, shall be reported to the (Office of Vital Statistics) within five calendar days by the person in charge of the institution in which the induced termination of pregnancy was performed."

Chances are that these are hot topics for everyone, from every side of the political debate.

 

 

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office.

Last modified on
Rate this blog entry:
Barbara serves as the Federal Records Director. She is a Board-certified genealogist who works for the Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames of America as a Verifying Genealogist and for the Welles Family Association as a Genealogist. Her volunteer service includes a stint as President of MGC. She holds a master’s degree in the management of non-profits from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University. You can read her own blog, The Demanding Genealogist, at demandinggenealogist.blogspot.com.

Comments

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, 27 August 2014