HEALTH STATISTICS AND REGISTRIES
The mission of the Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries is to:
- Establish and manage statewide registries of diseases, vital events and health status;
- Review departmental requests for proposals and applications for federal and other funds, prior to their release/submission, to ensure that appropriate assessment strategies are included and that departmental business needs are met;
- Maintain the repository for all vital records of the commonwealth; and
- Oversee the issuance of certified copies of birth and death certificates to ensure that customer service needs are met.
The Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries is comprised of two divisions: Statistical Registries and Vital Records.
DIVISION OF STATISTICAL REGISTRIES
The Division of Statistical Registries runs several large public health data collection systems, including the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, the Statewide Immunization Information System and the Vital Events Registry.
The Pennsylvania Cancer Registry (PCR)
is a statewide data system responsible for collecting information on all new cases of cancer diagnosed or treated in Pennsylvania. The PCR has had statewide data collection since 1985. The PCR is part of the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Through this program, the CDC provides funding for states, such as Pennsylvania, to enhance their existing registry to meet national standards for completeness, timeliness and data quality.
The Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS)
is a statewide immunization registry that collects vaccination history information. It was developed to achieve complete and timely immunization for all people, particularly in the age group most at risk, birth through 2 years of age. The PA-SIIS helps to serve the public health goal of preventing the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. A major barrier to reaching this goal is the continuing difficulty of keeping immunization records accurate and up-to-date. The PA-SIIS addresses this problem by capturing immunization information from health care providers and storing this information in one central location. If a patient receives immunizations from more than one health care provider, the PA-SIIS consolidates the immunization information from all providers to create a complete and current record. This assists health care providers to age-appropriately immunize all patients in their care.
The Vital Events Registry
is responsible for office and field work primarily involving the collection, processing, and dissemination of medical and demographic data obtained from vital statistics documents (births
, fetal deaths
, marriages, and divorces). Data collected are used to support public health program activities as well as selective administrative activities, such as assisting the Social Security Administration with assigning social security numbers to newborns and submitting Pennsylvania's vital statistics to the CDC for creation of national statistics.
DIVISION OF VITAL RECORDS
The Division of Vital Records
maintains birth and death events that occurred in Pennsylvania from 1906 to the present. Pennsylvania birth or death records should be ordered from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Division of Vital Records. Birth records become public 105 years after the date of birth, while death records become public 50 years after the date of death. Public records are available for free by visiting the Pennsylvania State Archives
Birth and death certificates can be obtained online
, by mail (birth
), by phone at 866-712-8238
or by visiting a Vital Records public office
. The Division of Vital Records can be reached toll-free at 844-228-3516
For more information, click on the above links or call the Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries at 717-783-2548.