Strengthening the Texas Birth Record Information System
August 6, 2013
Dear Local Registrars:
This correspondence comes to you regarding proposed changes to the operational procedures of the security and management of the Texas Birth Record Information System. As the keeper of the vital records of Texas born residents, we, the Vital Statistics community, have an obligation to secure and maintain the confidentiality of the vital records of our citizen’s from criminal activity such as document fraud, identity theft, unauthorized release or use of their records, or the fraudulent creation of such records.
In an effort to strengthen and safeguard the integrity of the Texas Birth Record Information System, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in conjunction with the workgroup established as a provision of the General Appropriations Act (Rider 72, H.B. 1, 82nd Texas Legislature, Regular Session), developed thirty recommendations that address the security and effectiveness of the state’s birth record information system. Of the thirty recommendations, in accordance with the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 191, Section 191.002, “Powers and Duties of Department,” and Section 191.004, “State Registrar;” State Office Branch Manager, Lonzo Kerr, is currently undergoing procedures to develop and implement the following five listed Rider 72 recommendations:
- Rec. #2 Require that all individuals who can register a birth record or interact with the birth record information system undergo a criminal history background check.
- Rec. #12 - Leverage a third party identification verification and validation system and/or an identification attribute database for all forms of accepted identification.
- Rec. #14 - Consolidate purchasing of security paper/issuing medium through a contract established by VSU with distribution done through the approved vendors.
- Rec. #19 - Establish minimum standards for physical access to security paper, certificates, and archival paper record storage.
- Rec. #20 - Standardize the form of certified birth certificate to one statewide format.
The State Office Vital Statistics Unit is interested in hearing from you about perceived implications on your operations. It is our intent that the implementation of the recommendations does not pose an extreme negative impact on the security, integrity, and sale of vital records in your local areas.
The above stated recommendations will be discussed at length during the upcoming Regional Conferences on August 12, 2013, August, 14, 2013, and August 16, 2013, and during the December 2013 annual conference. In the “Full Report” link below, you will find a detailed description of each of the referenced recommendations. Please submit any questions or concerns regarding this matter to Lonzo Kerr at Lonzo.Kerr@dshs.state.tx.us.
Jennifer Clay, PMP
Vital Statistics Unit – Rider 72 Report, “Strengthening the Texas Birth Record Information System”