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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.319

Introduced by   Senator Carris of Rutland District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Death certificates; confidentiality; cause of death; Social Security number

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to restrict public access to information contained on a death certificate, such as the decedent’s cause of death and Social Security number, except that the commissioner of health may permit access to such information, provided the person making the request establishes good cause for disclosure.

AN ACT RELATING TO DEATH CERTIFICATES

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. § 5008a is added to read:

§ 5008a.  DEATH CERTIFICATES; CONFIDENTIALITY; DISCLOSURES

(a)  Within seven days after the date of death, the town clerk shall send the original death certificate to the department of health and retain a redacted copy that does not include the decedent’s cause of death or Social Security number.

(b)  Neither the town clerk nor the department of health shall permit public access to death certificates containing the decedent’s cause of death and Social Security number, except that the commissioner of health, upon request, may disclose such confidential information provided the person making the request establishes good cause for the requested disclosure.  If good cause is shown, the commissioner shall release a certified copy of the requested death certificate only to the individual making the request and shall record the disclosure with the decedent’s original death certificate. 

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 5202a is amended to read:

§ 5202a.  CORRECTION OF DEATH CERTIFICATE

(a)  Within six months seven days after the date of death, the town clerk may correct or complete a death certificate upon application by the certifying physician, medical examiner, hospital, nursing home, or funeral director.  The town clerk may correct or complete the certificate accordingly and shall certify thereon that such correction or completion was made pursuant to this section, with the date thereof.  In his or her discretion, the town clerk may refuse an application for correction or completion, in which case, the applicant may petition the probate court for such correction or completion.

(b)(1)  After six months seven days from the date of death a death certificate may only be corrected or amended pursuant to decree of the probate court in which district the original certificate is filed death occurred.

(2)  The probate court to which such application is made shall set a time for hearing thereon and, if such court deems necessary, cause notice of the time and place thereof to be given by posting the same in the probate court office and, after hearing, shall make such findings, with respect to the correction of such death certificate as are supported by the evidence.  The court shall thereupon issue a decree setting forth the facts as found, and transmit a certified copy of such decree to the supervisor of vital records registration.  The supervisor of vital records registration shall transmit the same to the appropriate town clerk to amend the original or issue a new certificate and transmit a certified copy that does not contain the decedent’s cause of death or Social Security number to the appropriate town clerk.  The words "Court Amended" shall be typed, written, or stamped at the top of the new or amended certificates, with the date of the decree and the name of the issuing court.

(c)  Provided, however, that only the medical examiner or the certifying physician may apply to correct or complete the certificate as to the medical certification of the cause of death.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us