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November 2020 Monthly Newsletter

Executive Director Report - Shawna Webster

Greetings NAPHSIS members! With so much controversy coming out of Washington these days, I thought I’d start off this month’s newsletter with some GOOD NEWS. NAPHSIS, along with its partners APHL, CSTE and HIMSS in the Data: Elemental to Public Health campaign have been working closely with our partners at the CDC to ensure that the next installment in the Data Modernization funding ($500M through the first CARES Act) will be used to support the five pillars of the public health data system: Electronic Case Reporting; Laboratory Information Systems; Syndromic Surveillance; Electronic Vital Records Systems, and the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. Two weeks ago, CDC shared it’s general plan to allocate $200M of these funds in 2021 and you can read about it here.

Of that $200M, $150M will be allocated for “extramural” activities: i.e., outside of CDC proper. Within the five pillars, the funds will go to support Cooperative Agreements and Contracts to move state, local and territorial data sets to the cloud, ramp up for Electronic Case Reporting, fundamental public health data system upgrades/enhancements, Syndromic Surveillance activities, Laboratory reporting and addressing the desperate needs of the public health workforce. These funds will also be used to support national standards development that will drive both internal (to CDC) and external interoperability projects. CDC will use the other $50M to upgrade PHINMS (where STEVE and other public health systems like Laboratory reporting connects to CDC), improve NCHS technology and data accessibility, among other efforts.

Meanwhile, the Data: Elemental to Health Campaign will continue its advocacy work on the Hill to secure more sustainable, ongoing support by holding a Congressional Briefing on November 19th. Speakers will include myself, Janet Hamilton of CSTE, Dr. Anne Schuchat from CDC, Georges Benjamin with APHA and more! To find out more and register to watch this virtual event, click here.

What does this mean for you? While we still don’t know exactly how CDC will distribute this $150M next year, it is our fervent hope that it will mean a boost to programming at NAPHSIS and ultimately, more support, training and technical assistance for the jurisdictions. We expect the increased funding to states through existing contracts and other funding mechanisms like the Epi & Lab Capacity grants (ELC) to continue, we know it’s not always easy – and especially difficult during the ongoing pandemic response – for you to apply for new funding let alone begin new projects. NAPHSIS is doing everything we can to ensure that your needs are addressed in these Data Modernization Initiatives without further burdening you and your staff during these incredibly trying times.


We hope you’ll join us for the Congressional Briefing next week and hope that everyone has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

Message from the President - Molly Crawford

Every time your jurisdiction sends mortality data to the National Center for Health Statistics, you are meeting two contract deliverables—the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program (VSCP) agreement and the National Death Index (NDI). Because the data goes in one file through the STEVE System, it is easy to forget our contribution in aiding epidemiologists and medical investigators with health research.

For those of you who may be new to vital records, the NDI is an important centralized database of death record information that is on file in state vital statistics offices going back to 1979. The NDI provides a standard set of identifying information on each death. The NDI assists investigators in determining whether a person in their study has died and, if so, provides the names of the state in which the death occurred, the date of death, and the corresponding death certificate number. This allows investigators to follow back to the appropriate state office in order to obtain copies of death certificates or specific statistical information such as cause of death and ICD-10 codes. Some researchers are also able to get the cause of death as part of the information returned.

Even if you are familiar with the NDI, you may not know that our members play a central role in the review and approval of the many research requests submitted to the NDI. The National Center for Health Statistics relies on jurisdictional vital records and vital statistics staff who volunteer time and energy to serve as NDI Advisors. Recently NCHS launched a portal that helps streamline the application and review process, but it still requires our members to read applications, assure that data is used, protected, and disposed of appropriately, and to serve as our front line for authorization and our collective voice to the NDI administrators at NCHS.

I want to call out these members who dedicate time every month to review NDI research requests. Thank you for your continued commitment and ongoing service: Marie Bailey (FL), Charles Shumate (TX), Heidi Lengdorfer (AK), Jeff Duncan (MI), Mark Gildemaster (SD), Monique Wilson (MD), and Neeti Sethi (MN).

I also want to acknowledge our members who served as NDI Advisors up until the pandemic pulled them away. Thank you for your past service and efforts to assure the authorized release and appropriate use of our mortality data: Katie Hutchinson (WA), Kelly Nicole Troillett (AR), Zachary Smithingell (WA), Derek Pate (OK), and Kari Mentzer (MN).

Demand for mortality data is growing. Our members who serve as NDI Advisors are few. If you want to contribute to vital records and health statistics in a new way, and if you like a more quiet role in the background, serving as an NDI Advisor might be perfect for you. If you are interested in learning more about the responsibilities, expectations, and work load, or you are ready to volunteer, please contact the National Center for Health Statistics for more information: Velida Juzbasic at vnh8@cdc.gov or 301-458-4680 and NDI Director, Lillian Ingster, at lxi0@cdc.gov or 301-458-4286.

Upcoming Webinars and Events


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

IJE and STEVE Signed Agreements Due to hq@naphsis.org

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Thursday, December 10 @ 3pm ET

Accreditation Webinar

Click here to register.

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November 30 - December 2

Identity and Security Conference

Click here to register.

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For any questions about NAPHSIS Events, please email Katey Frederking.

2020 Identity and Security Conference

Join us for our first VIRTUAL Identity and Security Conference. This will be an important opportunity to bring industry leaders and jurisdiction representatives together for mutual education, training and policy. The vital records community is committed to be an active and responsive part of our nation’s identity ecosystem. Please join us for this exciting opportunity to collaborate and network with the nation’s top professionals in identity and security.


This three day conference will cover:

  • Identity management and emerging remote technologies

  • Legal aspects of data sharing

  • Social issues affecting identity documents

  • Digital drivers licenses and Real ID updates

  • ...and more!

Continuing on the success of previous years, this year's conference will further the conversations of how governmental agencies and private organizations can better work together, share data, and protect against identity fraud and increase the security of our personal data.

Click here for the detailed agenda. You may register using this link. If your jurisdiction requires payment by check, please email Katey Frederking.


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Virtual Regional Meetings

During the upcoming Identity and Security Conference, NAPHSIS will be hosting regional meetings. These meetings will provide an opportunity for jurisdiction members to share and discuss ideas with colleagues in their region.


The regional meetings will take place during the conference, but will be free for any jurisdiction vital records and health statistics staff to attend. Individuals who register for the ID Conference will be automatically added to their region’s specific Zoom meeting.

If jurisdiction vital records and health statistics staff want to attend ONLY the Virtual Regional Meetings, please email Katey Frederking to be added to the meeting.

The Regional Meetings are free for vital records and health statistics staff to attend, and will take place on the following days:

Midwest + Western

Monday, November 30

4:30pm ET

Northeast + Southern

Tuesday, December 1

11:30am ET

As with ALL of our virtual events – it means more of our members can participate. If you’ve never taken part in a regional meeting before, this is your opportunity to see what they’re all about. Each region will construct their own agenda.

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Inter-Jurisdictional Exchange (IJE) Agreement & STEVE Agreement

The Inter-Jurisdictional Exchange (IJE) Agreement has been updated for 2021-2025. This agreement provides data governance for records exchanged between jurisdictions and with authorized data partners through the State and Territorial Exchange of Vital Events (STEVE) system. With this update, the STEVE User Agreement has also been updated to coincide with the IJE Agreement. Please review both documents, send all questions and signed agreements to HQ@naphsis.org.


  1. IJE Agreement

  2. STEVE User Agreement

Please return these documents signed as soon as possible, but no later than December 1, 2020.

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STEVE Training

NAPHSIS will be conducting a training on STEVE (State and Territorial Exchange of Vital Events) and will provide updates on the IJE (Inter-Jurisdictional Exchange) on December 14, 2020 at 3pm ET and on December 17, 2020 at 6pm ET. You can choose to attend one or the other, as the same material will be presented during both sessions.

The training in December will provide a high-level introduction to STEVE and is designed for those either new or unfamiliar with STEVE’s purpose, benefits and functionality. Subsequent trainings will be conducted early in 2021 to provide users a more in-depth training on STEVE, such as setting up mailboxes and data routes. Demonstrations will be shown, and questions will be answered by NAPHSIS staff. These STEVE training dates will be announced shortly and is intended for jurisdictional staff that have been set up as administrators within STEVE.


If you are interested in attending a training, please register using the following links:

Monday, December 14 @ 3pm ET | Click here to register.

Thursday, December 17 @ 6pm ET| Click here to register.

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Massachusetts Vital Records and Statistics System Request for Responses

Massachusetts has recently posted a Request for Responses to modernize their Vital Records and Statistics System. It is an open procurement that permits vendors outside of MA contracts to apply. The deadline for bids is December 14, 2020. Click here for more information.

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