Meigs Health Matters: Understanding Vital Statistics

Understanding Vital Statistics

By Courtney Midkiff - Special to the Times-Sentinel

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Vital Statistics (VS) are the most widely used national, state, and local data for identifying and addressing major public health issues and include data relating to births, deaths, health, diseases and marriages.

There are numerous uses of VS records in the US, including but not limited to: establish identity for legal and administrative purposes; obtain or renew a passport; provide proof of citizenship or legal residency for employment; verify identity for Driver’s License or ID cards; verify age of child for sports league; provide proof of country of birth for college admission; enroll eligible children into Medicaid and other social services; verify birth/death of voters; conduct genealogy; to conduct medical/health research; conduct background checks; determine property rights; establish fact of death for legal/administrative purposes; pay death benefits or terminate payments under retirement or other benefit programs such as SSI; prevent tax fraud.

The Meigs County Health Dept. (MCHD) VS Office is under the Bureau of Vital Statistics at Ohio Dept. of Health (ODH), which operates a statewide system for the registration of births, deaths, fetal deaths, and other vital events that happen within the State of Ohio.

Local offices like the one within the MCHD are primarily responsible for the collection of information, while both local and central offices process the information for statistical purposes. Local offices are generally responsible for maintaining a legally valid record of the vital events. Thus, they are useful to the inhabitants of the population when it becomes necessary to prove a vital event such as birth, nationality, descent, or relationship by marriage. The information-processing offices that provide vital statistics in summary (i.e. ODH) form are charged with this responsibility in the interest of the formation.

In 2017, your MCHD VS staff:

✓ Registered 1 Home Birth

✓ Registered 171 Deaths

✓ Issued 442 Certified Birth Certificates

✓ Issued 594 Certified Death Certificates

✓ Issued 178 Burial Transit Permits to funeral directors

✓ Issued 1 Certificate of Service

✓ Provided genealogy assistance to the public

✓ Implemented E-filing system of death certificates for the convenience of funeral directors

✓ Began accepting electronic payments as well as online orders for birth and death records via VitalChek.

These VS services are available at the MCHD:

1. Births: The Meigs County Health Department can issue birth certificates from any Ohio county from 1909 to the present. The cost is $25 per certified copy. Birth certificates for those born in Meigs County from 1909-present are available for review during normal business hours (8 a.m.-noon or 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday).

In Ohio, paternity can be established in three ways: 1. Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit: By signing this affidavit, both parents agree that a man is the biological father of a child and choose to make him the legal father of the child. The Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit is available at the MCHD. 2. Administrative Order of Paternity: For unmarried parents that have not established paternity through another method and wish to get genetic testing, the Child Support Enforcement Agency can conduct the testing and issue an order of paternity if the man is indeed the biological father of the child. If the mother lives in Ohio, please contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) in the mother’s county of residence. If the mother lives outside of Ohio, you may contact the CSEA in the father’s county of residence. 3. Court Order of Paternity: Paternity may be established through Juvenile Court and sometimes through Domestic Relations Court (as part of a divorce.) For more information on establishing paternity for a child born in Ohio, please visit:

Meanwhile, heirloom birth certificates only can be purchased from ODH. Celebrate the birth of your baby or a special birthday of a friend or loved one by purchasing one of Ohio’s new certified heirloom birth certificates. There are four styles to choose from such as the Native Ohioan design which honors the birth of a Buckeye with traditional scarlet colors. The Commemorative design features Ohio achievements including Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. You can also request a Newborn Footprints certificate which offers space for you to capture a precious stamp of your child’s feet. For more traditional design choose the Statehouse Lawn scenic format. All certificates are printed on 8.5 by 11-inch-high quality paper with a raised seal which allows them to be used for official business in addition to display.

2. Deaths: Certificates for those who were pronounced deceased in Meigs County between 1909 and the present are available for review during normal business hours. Certified copies can be purchased for $25 each.

3. Fetal Deaths: “Fetal death” means death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which such expulsion or extraction does not breathe or show any evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles.” Report of Fetal Death mandatory? Yes, for fetal deaths over 20 weeks gestation. This includes induced terminations. Certified copies of Meigs County fetal deaths can be purchased via the MCHD.

4. Genealogy assistance is available upon request. A kiosk is available to locate Ohio birth and death records from 1964-present.

5. Home Birth Information: Individuals born in the State of Ohio outside a birthing facility should have their birth registered as soon as possible through their local VS office. If you are planning a home birth in Meigs County, please contact me prior to delivering to obtain the necessary paperwork for recording your baby’s birth.

6. No Record Letters: If you need your birth certificate, your MCHD VS staff and ODH will do an exhaustive search of local and state records. If no record is found, ODH will issue a No Record Letter that you can present to Probate Court to have a birth record made for you.

7. Affidavits: Birth Affidavits can only be used to correct minor spelling and data entry errors on the original birth record. The birth affidavit form cannot be used to change race, gender, or any names for the child or parents that are already listed on the original birth record. Also, the birth affidavit CANNOT be used along with adoption or paternity paperwork. Death certificates can also be corrected with an affidavit in the County in which the person was pronounced deceased.

For more information about the MCHD’s VS services, please contact me via telephone: 740-992-6626 or email:

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Understanding Vital Statistics

By Courtney Midkiff

Special to the Times-Sentinel

Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the Administrator/Registrar at the Meigs County Health Department.

Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the Administrator/Registrar at the Meigs County Health Department.