image of NDI logo

NDI Early Release Program

What is the NDI Early Release Program?

  • Death records for a particular calendar year will be available for NDI Routine searches when approximately 90+% of the year’s death records have been received and processed, but no later than 6 months after the end of the calendar year. Currently within a month after the calendar year is over.  Furthermore, the Early Release file itself is also updated two more times after initial release, and additional updates prior to initial release are being considered.
  • A website announcement will provide NDI users with a link to a table showing the estimated percentage of records available for each state as well as the total percentage for the nation. Based on the death records available, it will be entirely up to the NDI user to decide whether to submit records of study subjects to be searched against the Early Release file or simply wait until NDI file is complete and closed for that calendar year.  NOTE: Early Release data is subject to additions and corrections.
  • Users who decide to have their records searched against an Early Release file must pay for the NDI search based on the number of subject records they submit. NOTE: ONCE THE FINAL FILE FOR THAT YEAR IS AVAILABLE THE USER WILL BE NOTIFIED THAT THEY HAVE SIX MONTHS TO SUBMIT THE SAME RECORDS FOR THEIR ONE FREE RERUN SEARCH (all parameters identical). For example: A user who gets an early release Routine NDI file search will only be able to get a free final Routine NDI search. A user who gets an early release NDI Plus search will get a free NDI Plus final search for the same.

Why do we have an NDI Early Release Program?

Historically, before a particular calendar year of deaths can be made available for NDI searches, the National Center for Health Statistics must receive, process, and edit death records from ALL 50 state vital statistics offices plus New York City, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and may occasionally include American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands. This was a very time consuming process that often resulted in delays in the creation of the final NDI file for a particular year, typically 15 or more months after the end of that calendar year.

Over the years NDI users and staff have expressed their frustrations with such delays. Consequently, the NDI instituted an effort to make preliminary NDI files available for earlier searches. This effort is now  referred to as the EARLY RELEASE PROGRAM.

Procedures for Early Release matching

  • All new users must go through the NDI application process via the NDI Portal. There is no exception for early release matching services.
  • Upon receiving your letter of approval and the attached transmittal forms, you may submit your study subjects’ records for whatever years of death are then available for NDI searches. There will be TWO different transmittal forms available. One for matching to an early release year, and the other for our normal matching process for complete years. You should use only the latter form UNLESS you decide you want to do an early release EARLY RELEASE TRANSMITTAL forms are the only forms which will be accepted for early release searches.
  • Although you will need to complete a separate fee worksheet for the Early Release search, you may make one combined payment for all the NDI searches you submit simultaneously.