DHEC is the state's official record keeper for vital information pertaining to births, deaths, fetal deaths, induced terminations of pregnancy, marriages and divorces in South Carolina. These essential services are provided to citizens in 16 regional vital records offices and the state office in Columbia. Established under statutory authority, the Division of Vital Records provides for the correction, certification and issuance of all vital events including live births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, divorces and annulments, and induced terminations of pregnancy.
The Division of Vital Records is responsible for developing, maintaining and directing the statewide system of vital records, ensuring that the system provides legal documentation for citizens and reliable health data on a continuing basis. There are over nine (9) million original records contained in the "vault" in the central office of Vital Records. Each year, this division provides over 700,000 certifications of these events statewide. By law, the State Registrar for Vital Records is the Director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control who delegates this responsibility to the Deputy Director of Administration, who is the Assistant State Registrar.
South Carolina was at the forefront of re-engineering Vital Record systems and processes. The need for more integrated technical systems, coupled with the increased demand for vital events resulted in the development of a completed integrated Web-based system for processing vital events. A new era began January 1, 2004, with the rollout of the live WebBirth Module, which was the first active module of the South Carolina Vital Records and Statistics Integrated Information System. Today, all birthing hospitals in the state register live births electronically. Additional modules were developed and implemented for the receipting of fees and registration of all other vital records.
The WebDeath System was implemented in 2005 and allows for death registration to occur through the Internet. This system has improved the timeliness and quality of death registration. It enables participants of death registration to register death certificates electronically.
Another component of re-engineering Vital Records involved improving service to our customers. As a result of the tragic events on 9/11, the number of on-site customers increased dramatically as did the requirement for the long form certificate of birth. Through the expansion of the state office on site customer service area in 2009 and the regionalization of vital record offices over the last 3 years, more convenient, reliable access and processing of requests has been implemented. Long form birth certificates can now be obtained in any regional location as well as death certificates regardless of which county the death occurred. During SFY 13, over 725,000 certifications of vital events were issued.