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May 2015 Reporter

May 2015

Dear Members,



Consumer Anthropologists Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender will discuss their ongoing research results of looking at funeral homes through the eyes of the consumer regarding what funeral home customers really want.

Jeff Chancellor, CFSP will educate and empower funeral professionals with technical knowledge and relevant procedures to ensure they are using the most current and best possible infection control practices during transfer, embalming and storage of remains. He will also educate funeral professionals with technical knowledge to ensure the best possible embalming outcomes.

Kevin Czachor will provide directors with an introduction to basic smartphone tips and tricks that can be easily adopted. Attendees will learn how their smartphone can help them to improve customer service and streamline office tasks.

Terri Bowling, M.S., CT will focus on culturally specific perspectives on grief and bereavement that funeral directors need to be aware of in order to provide appropriate funeral service and aftercare plans for their client families.


Come see new exhibitors and products


7.5 CE Credits Available


See enclosed Convention Schedule of Events and visit www.pfda.org.

2015 PFDA ANNUAL MEETING NOTICE We invite you to attend PFDA's 2015 Annual Meeting and House of Delegates Meeting. The event will be held during the annual convention on:
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 9:30 am in the Winner's Circle Room at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey, Grantville, PA. The meeting is for PFDA members.

At the meeting, members will vote upon the following matters: election of officers for 2015-2016, election of candidates nominated by their Local Associations for position of District Governor.

Your Board of Governors recommends a vote for election of the nominees for officers and district governors. We will also report at the annual meeting on the activities and financial status of PFDA. If you have any questions, please call the association office at 1-800-692-6068.

(1) Election of the following slate of officers for 2014-2015:

For the Position of President:
Norman Shropshire
Minshall-Shropshire-Bleyler Funeral Home Ltd. (Media)

For the Position of President-Elect:
Joseph Levine
J. Levine & Son Memorial Chapel, Inc. (Trevose)

For the Position of Secretary/Treasurer:
Debra Jo Ashton-Chase (Easton)

(2) Election of a candidate nominated by their Local Association for position of District Governor:

District 7 Governor Joseph A. Fluehr III, Joseph A. Fluehr III Home, Inc

District 6 Governor TBA

District 6 Governor Nominations Needed The term of office for Deron Youse expires in June 2015. PFDA is looking for District Governor Nominations from the Berks, Eastern, and Lebanon/Schuylkill Locals. If you are interested in this position, please contact the officers of your local association for a nomination form.

Funeral Service Action Fund and Building Fund Silent Auction PFDA invites you to participate in this year's action during the Annual Convention & Expo June 7-10, 2015. Last year over $6000 was raised, and we hope to raise more money this year, but we need your help to make that happen! Thank you for your continued support.

Important Reminder/Refresher Regarding Consumers' Right to Rescission As a reminder to all who sell pre-need, Pennsylvania law mandates that a right to rescission be provided to consumers "where goods or services having a sales price of twenty-five dollars ($25) or more are sold or contracted to be sold to a buyer, as a result of, or in connection with, a contact with or call on the buyer or resident at his residence either in person or by telephone." These notices are available at PFDA in three-part form. If you need a supply, call Teri at PFDA, 1-800-692-6068.

Illinois Cuts Funds for Indigent Funerals In order to help reduce a $1.6 billion budget deficit, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) has decided, as of January 15, 2015, the state will not pay for poor people's funerals moving forward. In 2014, the Funeral & Burial Benefit program cost the state $9.5 million and served 8,649 families. The program paid $1,103 toward each funeral and $552 towards each cremation.

Final Rule on Reimbursement of Costs for Caskets and Urns of Indigent Veterans Being Interred in a VA Cemetery The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the Final Rule on the reimbursement of caskets and urns used for the interment or inurnment of the remains of indigent veterans in a VA cemetery. In order to qualify for reimbursement, all of the following must be met:
• Only Veterans who died on or after January 10, 2014 and whose remains are interred or inurned in a national VA cemetery are eligible.
• Any casket that is metal and any urn are eligible for reimbursement, but the amount to be reimbursed will be the average price of a 20-gauge casket and the average price of a plastic urn. In 2015 the maximum reimbursements will be $1,967 for a casket and $172 for an urn.
• An individual or business may submit an application, but all directors of the VA cemetery must inspect all caskets and urns to make sure it matches the description listed on the invoice.
• A VA Form 40-10088 must be submitted with the following supporting documentation for reimbursement to an individual or business: a certificate showing there are no funds available to purchase the casket or urn must be presented and paperwork showing that a next-of-kin cannot be located or the next-of-kin is unwilling or unable to pay the costs associated with a proper burial for the deceased veteran.

Funeral homes that have provided a casket or urn to a veteran that died and was interred or inurned in a VA cemetery after January 10, 2014, and have not been paid, can still apply for a reimbursement.
Source: NFDA Scott Gilligan

Vital Records will begin fielding the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records has announced that it will begin fielding their Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) beginning in August of 2015. EDRS is a web-based application that links death certifying officials (coroners, hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities), local registrars, funeral directors, and the Department of Health. The EDRS:
· Enables the entire death certification process to be performed electronically.
· NO COST to use EDRS, take the training, or access training/user manuals.
· Saves time, money and frustration -— no more running back to the office to sign paperwork -— no more windshield time driving to get signatures.
· Electronic validation processes reduce data-related errors saving time (and amendments).
· Accurately and efficiently collects and reports critical cause of death information to the CDC/National Center for Health Statistics.
· Supports the National Vital Statistics System goal of near real-time surveillance to improve public health preparedness.

Visit the EDRS Portal at "LINK" to learn more about EDRS, system requirements, and schedule or contact any of the representatives below: http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/DeathCertificates/Pages/EDRS-Home.aspx#

Air Force Military Funeral Honors Request If you are in need of Air Force Military Funeral Honors, the request forms can be found on the website, along with a breakdown of the bases and counties that the Air Force covers.

SCAM ALERTS Please be aware that several PFDA member funeral homes have received notices from a China domain name registration center, which mainly deals with domain name registration in China. The email claims that the company is handling all internet keyword and CN domain name registrations for Kingsan Corp and want to register the funeral home's name. This is a scam and you should not reply to the email or click on any links or attachments related to this email.

Tips for Getting Families To Pre-Plan Their Funeral Families that pre-plan their funerals, allow funeral directors to truly understand what is important to them and what they want at their funeral without all the stress that comes with post-death planning. Rochelle Rietow, FuneralOne, has come up with 7 of the best tips for getting families to pre-plan:
• Let them know this is their chance to put in writing their end-of-life wishes.
• Pre-planning allows families to highlight memories and hobbies for others to see.
• Families that plan ahead, also take the pressure off other family members to make the right decision when they are grieving.
• By planning ahead, families can begin saving and pay for their funeral in advance and not leave others with the burden of paying for a funeral.
• When families pre-plan, they lock in the cost of their funeral at the time of planning, even if the costs go up prior their death.
• Let families, who plan ahead, know that they can make changes and additions to their pre-planning arrangements anytime they want.
• Be sure to let families know that all of their wishes will be carried out and that others cannot change what has been agreed upon between the family and the funeral home.
Source: CDFuneralNews, April 22, 2015

Tributes.com Acquired by Legacy.com Legacy.com will be acquiring Tributes.com. Currently, Legacy.com has a network of nearly 35 million unique monthly visitors and will gain 5 million more with this acquisition. As one company, they will have partnerships with over 1500 newspapers, 2500 funeral homes, and 140 broadcast stations. Visitors will have access to the largest obituary database in North America.
Sources: CDFuneralNews, April 22, 2015

Funeral Related Consumer Complaints According to the 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, funeral related consumer complaints are down from previous years, making up a meager 0.04% of the 2.5 million total consumer complaints in 2014. While the complaints were filed all over the nation with dozens of state consumer protection agencies, the actual complaints can only be accessed by law enforcement agencies. In 2012, funeral related complaints accounted for 0.07% of total consumer complaints and this number dropped to 0.06% in 2013, showing a steady decline in funeral related complaints. One of the quickest ways to avoid consumer's filing complaints is through use of the Family Service Survey Evaluation Program. This allows funeral homes to handle any complaints in house before ever dealing with the State Board. Contact Jess@pfda.org for more information about the Family Service Survey Evaluation Program.

In Memoriam

George E. Ray, 94, of Philadelphia, died on April, 14, 2014 at Abington Memorial Hospital. He was the owner of Ray's Funeral Home, Inc, Philadelphia. He is a past president of the Quaker City Funeral Directors Association.
Edward R. Mason, 57, of Fostoria, died on March 31, 2015 at Hershey Medical Center. He is survived by his brother David J. Mason, Funeral Director at Plank, Stitt and Stevens Funeral Home, Hollidaysburg and past president of PFDA.

PFDA Office Closings We will also be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2015 and reopen on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

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