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State Confirms Unauthorized Changes Were Made To Vital Records Site

PA Dept. of Health
A screen grab of the state's Department of Health website were residents can order records, such as birth certificates.

The state website where people can order birth and death records was recently offline for nearly a full week because someone made unauthorized changes to the site.

No data breach was reported, and no one’s records have been compromised, however.

The Office of Administration declined to comment beyond confirming the outage last month for emergency maintenance, and saying they’re working with law enforcement.

But Republican state Representative John Lawrence of Chester County said he’s gotten a little more information.

“My understanding is the phrase 'Department of Health' was changed to something else,” he said. “I don’t think you can print the word.”

Lawrence says the incident itself may not be a huge deal, but it caused more delays in a system he  thinks is too slow.

The state’s vital records page currently estimates it could take up to six months to process a birth certificate application sent through the mail, and three months for a death certificate.

“Most people would expect that you could get a birth certificate within a week,” Lawrence said. “There’s only three places in the commonwealth you can go and get one across the counter same-day.”

Lawrence is pushing legislation that seeks to speed that process up and study what the holdups are.

It has passed the House and is currently awaiting Senate consideration.