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      RS 40:41     

  

§41. Disclosure of records

            A. All certificates in the custody of the state registrar are open to inspection, subject to the provisions of this Chapter. No employee of the state shall disclose data contained in vital records, except as authorized by this Chapter.

            B.(1)(a) Disclosure of confidential birth information from which can be determined whether the child was born of or outside of marriage may be made only upon order of the court in any case where that information is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights and then only for that purpose. Upon receiving an order from the court, the vital records registrar shall file a copy of the birth certificate, marked for judicial purposes only, under seal in the records of the clerk of court. The judge presiding over the matter may review the birth certificate in chambers and may use the birth certificate within his discretion during the course of the proceedings. No copies of the birth certificate shall be issued by the court to the litigants in the proceeding. The birth certificate shall be destroyed at the conclusion of the proceedings after all appeal delays have lapsed.

            (b) The provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph shall not apply in any case where any member of law enforcement, United States attorney, attorney general, or district attorney makes written request to the state registrar. Upon receipt of such written request, the registrar shall make disclosure to any member of law enforcement, United States attorney, attorney general, or district attorney requesting same, of the contents of birth records in the registrar's custody.

            (2)(a) Disclosure of confidential death certificate information may be made only upon order of the court in any case where a judge orders that information is necessary for the resolution of the proceeding and then only for that purpose. Upon receiving an order from the court, the vital records registrar shall file a copy of the death certificate, marked for judicial purposes only, under seal in the records of the clerk of court. The judge presiding over the matter may review the death certificate in chambers and may use the death certificate within his discretion during the course of the proceedings. No copies of the death certificate shall be issued by the court to the litigants in the proceeding. The death certificate shall be destroyed at the conclusion of the proceedings after all appeal delays have lapsed.

            (b) The provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph shall not apply in any case where any member of law enforcement, United States attorney, attorney general, public administrator, or district attorney makes a written request to the state registrar. Upon receipt of such written request, the registrar shall make disclosure to any member of law enforcement, United States attorney, attorney general, public administrator, or district attorney requesting same, of the contents of the death certificate in the registrar's custody.

            C.(1) The state registrar shall not permit inspection of the records or issue a certificate, or any part thereof, unless he is satisfied that the applicant is any of the following:

            (a) The person named in the certificate.

            (b) A member of the immediate or surviving family of the person named in the certificate.

            (c) A person named in a court proceeding as a member of the immediate or surviving family of the person named in the certificate.

            (d) The beneficiary of an insurance policy or trust.

            (e) A succession representative.

            (2)(a) The credentials of an attorney, together with a written declaration of the record in which he is interested and a written declaration or oral statement that he is a legal representative of one of the named parties referenced in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection shall constitute sufficient proof of a direct interest in the matter recorded.

            (b) In addition to the provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph, a written declaration by the attorney that he is preparing a small succession pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Article 3431 et seq. for the deceased person whose death certificate is being requested shall constitute sufficient proof of a direct interest in the matter recorded.

            (3) The provisions of this Subsection shall not apply to marriage records.

            (4) The provisions of this Subsection shall not apply to the release of birth rosters to local city and parish supervisors of child welfare and attendance; however, such birth information shall be kept confidential by the supervisors of child welfare and attendance and not used for any purpose other than the enforcement of the compulsory school attendance law.

            (5) The state registrar shall issue a certified copy of a death certificate to a funeral director acting at the request of the immediate or surviving family up to one year following the date of death. Thereafter, the provisions of R.S. 40:41(C)(1) and (2) shall apply.

            D.(1) In accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the state health officer to ensure that all identifying information is kept confidential, the data contained in vital records may be made available to state judicial district courts to enable the courts to remove deceased persons from the juror rolls, to the department for use in the administration of the programs of the department, and to qualified researchers.

            (2) A panel of public health officials which shall include the state health officer, the state registrar, and the tumor registry administrator shall review each proposal for use of vital records in the administration of the programs of the department or in research to ensure:

            (a) That the proposal is in the best interest of the state or the public health of its citizens, and

            (b) That those persons having access to vital records are either involved in the administration of the programs of the department or are well qualified to conduct research.

            (3) Only those proposals which are certified by the panel as meeting these two standards shall be approved by the panel to use confidential vital records.

            E. The registrar shall make available for inspection and copying and shall forward upon request copies of records of deaths to the Louisiana cancer registry program established pursuant to R.S. 40:1105.1 et seq.

            F. The federal agency responsible for national vital statistics may be furnished such copies or data from the system of vital records as it may require for national statistics, provided such federal agency shares in the cost of collecting, processing, and transmitting such data, and provided further that such data shall not be used for other than statistical purposes by the federal agency unless so authorized by the state registrar.

            G. The state registrar may, by agreement, transmit copies of records and other reports required by this Chapter to offices of vital statistics outside this state when such records or other reports relate to residents of those jurisdictions or persons born in those jurisdictions. The agreement shall require that the copies be used for statistical and administrative purposes only and the agreement shall further provide for the retention and disposition of such copies. Copies received by the vital records registry from offices of vital statistics in other states shall be handled in the same manner as prescribed in this Section.

            H. The state registrar shall, pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, transmit information from the death certificate of any state resident to each public agency from which the deceased received, or could have received, benefits. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall be notified of the death of each state resident. Such information shall be limited to the name of the deceased, his address, the date of death, date of birth, and any other identifying information which may be necessary for the public agency to identify the deceased as a recipient of benefits.

            I. The state registrar shall issue a certified copy of a birth or death certificate to any public retirement system, fund, or plan in the state of Louisiana upon written request of the respective retirement system for the following purposes:

            (1) A certificate is required by the retirement system to determine if benefits are owed by or to the retirement system.

            (2) The immediate or surviving family has refused to provide such certificate and refused to authorize the retirement system to request such certificate or if the birth or death certificate provided appears to be altered or forged.

            J.(1) Data contained in the vital records registry shall be made available upon written request by the Louisiana Department of Health for review or use by the Louisiana Department of Health in evaluating the effectiveness of departmental programs. The data shall only be utilized for this specific purpose.

            (2) Any Louisiana Department of Health employee using data that may contain identifying information shall sign a statement ensuring confidentiality.

            (3) Any identifying data shall be stripped from resulting databases as soon as the need for it has expired.

            (4) All data shall be destroyed or returned to the office of vital records by the Louisiana Department of Health upon the finalization of the evaluation process.

            K. Upon the written request of the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance in the case of a student loan guaranteed by the Student Financial Assistance Commission, or the written request of the office of the attorney general when a student loan is being collected by the office of the attorney general, the state registrar shall issue a certified copy of a death certificate to the respective requesting office when the certificate is required by the office to determine whether a student loan is eligible for discharge and the immediate or surviving family has refused to provide such certificate, has refused to authorize the office to request such certificate, or the death certificate provided appears to be altered or forged.

            L.(1) Upon written request, the state registrar shall issue a certified copy of a death certificate to a representative of an organ procurement organization designated for the state of Louisiana by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which presents a document of a gift as defined in R.S. 17:2351 for the sole purpose of documenting donor eligibility in accord with the United States Food and Drug Administration regulations and industry standards.

            (2) The written request of the organ procurement organization shall be transmitted by telefax, electronic delivery, or by United States mail.

            (3) The written request shall contain all of the following:

            (a) The organization's name and citation to the United States Department of Health and Human Services website or correspondence evidencing its designation as an organ procurement organization for the state.

            (b) The donor's name.

            (c) The donor's date of birth.

            (d) The donor's date of death.

            (e) The requestor's name.

            (f) The requestor's telephone number.

            (g) The requestor's date of request.

            (h) A request that the certified copy be transmitted by telefax, electronic delivery, or by United States mail.

            (4) The information required by Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, together with the documentation of a donor's anatomical gift, shall constitute sufficient proof for the release of the death certificate.

            (5) If the organization's requested form of transmittal is by telefax or electronic delivery, the death certificate shall be accompanied by the state registrar's verification that the death certificate is a duplicate of the original, the date the copy of the death certificate was issued by the state registrar's representative, along with his signature and title.

            M.(1) For the purpose of determining the eligibility of a person to participate in veterans' benefits, upon written request, the state registrar shall issue a certified copy of a death certificate to a representative from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The written request from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, howsoever transmitted, shall constitute sufficient proof for release of the certificate.

            (2) The state registrar may submit data related to deaths of veterans directly to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of determining the eligibility of veterans benefits.

            N. The state registrar shall issue the following records to the Department of Children and Family Services upon the written request of an office of the department:

            (1) A certified copy of a birth certificate of a child placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.

            (2) A certified copy of a death certificate of a child who was in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services at the time of his death.

            (3) A certified copy of a death certificate of a parent of a child placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.

            Acts 1979, No. 776, §1. Amended by Acts 1983, No. 437, §1; Acts 1984, No. 885, §1; Acts 1985, No. 811, §1, eff. July 22, 1985; Acts 1985, No. 625, §1; Acts 1986, No. 876, §1; Acts 1987, No. 360, §1; Acts 1990, No. 182, §1; Acts 1992, No. 166, §1, eff. July 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 369, §1, eff. June 20, 1997; Acts 2004, No. 26, §13; Acts 2004, No. 254, §1; Acts 2004, No. 355, §1; Acts 2007, No. 105, §1; Acts 2012, No. 372, §1; Acts 2016, No. 158, §1; Acts 2017, No. 7, §1; Acts 2018, No. 98, §1; Acts 2018, No. 99, §1; Acts 2018, No. 206, §4; Acts 2020, No. 69, §1, eff. June 5, 2020.



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