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February 2021 Monthly Newsletter

Executive Director Report - Shawna Webster

Greetings NAPHSIS! Last month, I talked about our annual planning activities and our priorities for 2021. What’s that saying… “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” As soon as we completed the planning and budgeting process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Marriage Data Exchange project to verify name change requests by individuals through their online portal. Read the detailed Funding Opportunity, including the Scope of Work, for more details. You may remember filling out a survey about this project last year during the first few months of the Pandemic. Back then, we were collecting information to respond to their Request For Information. We are thrilled the agency has turned the information into a full-fledged RFP, and NAPHSIS is responding.

Though we do believe NAPHSIS is the best entity to fulfill the deliverables described in the scope of work, we know there will be competition for this award. Caprice Edwards, our Systems Director, has already reached out to the jurisdictions who indicated that they would be interested in participating in phase 1 of this project. Within 2 years of the beginning of the project, we estimate 21 states to be participating in this project. If your jurisdiction did not complete the survey last year, or would now be interested to participate within the next 2 years but have not been contacted, please contact Caprice immediately:

We at NAPHSIS are really excited to finally have the chance to work on Marriage (and eventually Divorce) data, as it has been a “backburner” idea for us for about a decade, and we believe it will go a long way to facilitate the consolidation, improvement and refinement of some of our electronic systems’ functionality. We know bandwidth in the states is still in short supply because of the pandemic, and it is a challenge we’ll have to address at the organizational level as well, should NAPHSIS be awarded this opportunity. Just know that we’ll be keeping all that in mind as we formulate our response. The responses are due on Friday, February 26, so time is short! Wish us luck!

Message from the President - Molly Crawford

As we reach the one-year mark of a pandemic we have hope as more of us get vaccinated. Perhaps the public health crisis is subsiding and although we continue to work and live different from before COVID19, we can again think about “regular” work.

Certainly, the pandemic has highlighted some of our best achievements while it has exposed some aspects of our work we can improve. For more than 100 years, the Model Law has provided standard reporting requirements, definitions, and procedures for registering vital events and activities related to vital records and statistics. It was designed – and revised – to improve the quality and uniformity of state operations, data, and services. It serves as our framework for issuing legal certifications and assuring that only those authorized by law receive them. Absent federal regulations, the Model Law provides standardization and uniformity—key components of a national vital records system. It is crucial to our future.

In last month’s newsletter Shawna laid out plans for 2021. She talked about how NAPHSIS will deliver quality services and advance our industry even when there is still much uncertainty. We’ve had to change our priorities, adapt, evolve and gear up. You may recall that in the Fall of 2019, we were on the fast track to review and revise the 2011 Model Law. We had an ambitious timeline and industrious workgroups headed by capable members in place to examine critical aspects of our work including data collection and transmission, registration, security, and issuance. As COVID19 took resources and our attention, NAPHSIS suspended the project last March. It has been on stand-by since and maybe that’s not so bad. We have learned a lot in the past year. We have an opportunity to step back, assess the environment, consider new information, and define what we need and want for the next Model Law.

In the meantime, we have other incredibly important work to do, whether it’s in the form of responding to SSA’s Marriage Data RFP, working with LexisNexis VitalChek to review and transition hosting services for the EVVE system, or developing a more comprehensive Master Services Agreement for all NAPHSIS-operated systems and services. Shawn and her team are constantly looking for ways to make our processes and procedures more efficient – not just for NAPHSIS – but for the jurisdictions as well. Anything that will reduce the overall number of contracts we, as states, have to manage the better!

2021 has already proved itself to be a bit unpredictable for NAPHSIS, but the staff and our member leaders are ready for the challenges and opportunities it will bring!


News Spotlight

High Five to South Dakota's Accreditation Team!

It was announced that the South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and Office of Health Statistics has received initial accreditation status. NAPHSIS congratulates South Dakota for being the first to receive Vital Records Health Statistics (VRHS) Accreditation. Their hard work really paid off. We extend a special recognition to those who worked on this project. Kudos to South Dakota!

Pictured Front: Marje Stuwe, Levi Mohr

Back: Shawna Flax (Accreditation Coordinator), Marcie Big Eagle, Rebekah Bianas, Mariah Pokorny (State Registrar), Mark Dutt, Julie Volmer

To get more information on how your jurisdiction can get VRHS Accreditation, please email


2021 NAPHSIS Events

Even though NAPHSIS will not host an annual meeting this year, there are many exciting trainings and webinars on the horizon. Topics will include data visualization, quality improvement, STEVE User Training, VRHS Accreditation, innovations and more. With the success of the region meetings held in late November, NAPHSIS will host more this year. There will be two meetings each for Northeast/Southern and West/Midwest regions held for half days in April and October. Please keep an eye out for registration links for these valuable opportunities to discuss relevant and timely topics with your peers.

NAPHSIS will also host several webinars and workshops to support VRHS Accreditation. A series on Quality Improvement will be held this spring and summer. This will include an overview of quality improvement and subsequent hands-on workshops. Additionally, a webinar will be held in April to help jurisdictions make the case to leadership for moving forward with VRHS Accreditation.

Innovations is back again this summer for jurisdiction staff and NAPHSIS partners to present on innovative topics. This will be an abstract submission process similar to what has been done in the past with the NAPHSIS Annual Meeting but with virtual presentations. The call for abstracts will be out in the next few months.

With many great opportunities coming, please be sure to keep an eye on your inbox for more information in future newsletters, as well as email announcements and registration links. Please contact us at HQ with any questions.


A Message From Our Partners at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

The VSCP contract requires an in person annual meeting with VSCP Project Directors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s in person meeting requirement is being waived and attendance at the June VSCP Project Directors webinar will fulfill the jurisdiction’s contractual obligation. The meeting will be held June 9 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET and roll will be taken.

NCHS will provide an update you on important contract-related matters, including preparations for the 2022 VSCP contract. If there are VSCP contract topics you would like addressed, please contact Karen Knight no later than March 10.

Please save the date and be on the lookout for registration information. If your jurisdiction will be unable to attend, please notify your assigned Vital Statistics Specialist.


NAPHSIS Membership Dues

Many thanks to those jurisdictions that have already submitted their 2021 dues! These payments are being put to work through the many NAPHSIS products and services supporting your offices. For those jurisdictions that have NOT yet paid their dues, please contact NAPHSIS headquarters to let us know your payment status. As a reminder, jurisdictions that have NOT paid their dues will be precluded from fully-participating in upcoming training, meetings, and will be unable to vote in the upcoming election.

Each jurisdiction receives five agency memberships with payment of their dues. Jurisdictions that have paid their dues can review their list of current members on the Members Contact list. Updates to the list of members for your office can be sent by email to As a reminder, additional staff can be added to your membership for a per person fee of $50, and you can request an invoice that reflects these additional memberships by contacting Stephanie N'garsanet.


Information from the Birth Data Quality Workgroup

The Birth Data Quality Workgroup completed its review of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). The goal of the group was to review the assess to feasibility and value of expanding the collection of NAS birth certificate data among the jurisdictions. The final recommendation document is posted on the NAPHSIS Members Only site here: Members Only - Home ( and on the Birth Data Quality Workgroup SharePoint site.

If you would like more information, please email Ana Goold.


For any questions about NAPHSIS Events, please email

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