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Audit finds shortcomings in vital records keeping

ANNAPOLIS — A state audit has found the state health department lacked adequate controls over vital records like birth certificates.

The Maryland Department of Legislative Services audit released Thursday covered September 2006 through October 2009. Auditors say control over documents is critical, because false identification could be a major factor in crimes such as illegal immigration and flight from justice.

The audit found the department could not reconcile the number of certificates issued to the related fees collected and deposited. The department identified one employee who allegedly issued certificates and misappropriated the related revenues.

The department says the position of Medical Services Reviewing Nurse was vacant for nearly a year. The department says the position was filled in April 2010, and an average of two hospital audits per month is being conducted.