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September 2015

Dear Members,

NEW FUNERAL SUPERVISORS CHILD ABUSE CE REQUIREMENTS Licensed funeral directors that apply for a New Funeral Supervisor license must complete 3 Credit Hours of Continuing Education in Child Abuse. The CE's must be completed in the first renewal period in which the license was obtained.

FUNERAL HOMES BEWARE!! – The Pennsylvania Bureau of Unemployment Compensation is randomly auditing funeral homes and other small businesses. In one recent funeral home audit, the auditor required all payment records, including all checks written to individuals who did not have a PA Unemployment Compensation number. This was regardless of whether or not the total amount paid to the individual was above or below $600 per year or whether a 1099 was issued. Four individuals were identified who the auditor claimed should be reclassified as W-2 employees. These were contractors, who did repair work, (ie: plumbers, carpenters, painters, etc.). In order to avoid being forced to reclassify contractors as W-2 employees and to avoid fines and paying back unemployment compensation, etc..., funeral directors should have: 1) a written contract, dated and signed by both parties prior to the commencement of work, 2) an invoice from the contractor on legitimate billhead and 3) a certificate of insurance covering the contractor with a minimum coverage of $50,000. Contractors with a valid PA Unemployment Compensation number are automatically cleared during audits.

DATA BREACH – TAKE THE TARGET OFF YOUR BACK Every day, it seems, there is a news report about businesses getting "hacked," and sensitive data ending up in the wrong hands. It was hard to ignore the news reports about the recent breach at a major retail chain because of the size, scope, and cost incurred. We may never know the full implication to their profits, management, and possibly even their officials, to say nothing of the potentially irreparable damage to their customers' trust. Whether your business is large or small, a loss of sensitive data can cost you a great deal-—of time, money, and stress-—to restore faith, monitor credit, and cover costs associated with customers or employees impacted by the breach. Lost or stolen passwords could lead to crime against your business, including actual fund transfers to criminals. As if all that isn't bad enough, a breach could lead to allegations against directors and officers for poor management practices that lead to lost profits for business partners and investors. If the potential for a breach at your business is making you nervous, Federated Insurance can offer some risk management procedures that can help minimize the chances of a breach happening. In addition, special data compromise coverage can add a layer of protection for your business in the event of a data breach, crime, and action against directors and officers. You can be either proactive or reactive. Your customers and your business reputation rely on your taking steps today to reduce or avoid the exposure tomorrow.
Source: Matt Johnson, Federated Insurance

SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION ILLEGAL UNDER TITLE VII A recent decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employment discrimination due to someone's sexual orientation is illegal. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees are protected under this act in all 50 states.


ACT NOW!

PFDA DISTRICT MEETINGS

2 CE Credits in Child Abuse
1 CE Credit in Statutory and Regulatory Update
Free to PFDA Members

***TO RECEIVE CE CREDIT YOU WILL NEED TO BRING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO THE DISTRICT MEETINGS:

NAME (as it appears on FD License)
LICENSE NUMBER
DATE OF BIRTH
LAST 4 DIGITS OF SSN

September 14 - DuBois
September 15 - Erie
September 16 – Pittsburgh
September 17 - Altoona
September 21 - Philadelphia
September 22 – Allentown
September 23 – Wilkes-Barre
September 24 – Harrisburg

See enclosed Program Agenda for details & Registration Form 

GRIEVING AN OVERDOSE DEATH Someone dies from a drug overdose every fourteen minutes in the United States. Much like suicide, death from overdose carries a heavy stigma making these deaths particularly difficult to deal with. Families grieving an overdose death are often faced with several complex emotions at once including guilt, shame, blame, isolation, fear, and anxiety. The family members may feel guilty, fearing that they could have done something to prevent the death. They may feel shameful of the addiction, shameful for enabling the addict, or shame for not being able to help the addict. Family members who lose a loved one to an addiction will often place blame on anyone who used with the person. They may also blame themselves and their own actions, obsessing over things that could have been done differently to "save" the addict. Because of the heavy stigmas associated with overdose deaths, suffering families may often feel isolated and alone. They are often not comforted in the way families grieving natural deaths are because people don't know what to say or they blame the addict for their death and feel less sympathetic. Family members may become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety that others they know will start using or those in recovery will relapse. These fears can consume family members and turn them against one another. For information and print resources on addressing the complex grief that comes with overdose deaths, please visit http://whatsyourgriefstore.com/product/grief-resource-overdose-death/ .
Source: www.whatsyourgrief.com

2015 NFDA CREMATION AND BURIAL REPORT In July, NFDA released that for the first time ever, the national cremation rate will exceed the burial rate in 2015. The cremation rate for 2015 is 48.5% of deaths, while burial rates are only at 45.6%. The report also projects that in 20 years the cremation rate will grow to 78 percent of deaths. However, in PA for 2015 it is projected that burials will be 50% of deaths, but cremations will only be at 45.4%. The 15 year outlook is not as optimistic. The projections show cremations will be at 69.6%, whereas burials will only be at 25.6%.
Source: Memorial Burial Journal, July 23, 2015

PAPER COMPANY CLOSURE CAUSES STATES TO RATION DEATH CERTIFICATES Sekuworks, an Ohio paper company that supplies several states with high specialized paper for vital records is closing. The company specialized in an "intaglio" type of printing, which is an almost perfect way to prevent counterfeiting on vital record certificates. States like California, South Carolina and Minnesota are scrambling to find a replacement product, and in some cases, they are limiting the number of death, marriage, and birth certificates that can be requested. PFDA is unaware of any issues in Pennsylvania, but wanted the membership to be aware.
Source: Foxnews.com August 18, 2015

DIGITAL DEATH REGISTRATION CAN BE AN EASY TARGET FOR HACKERS Recently, Chris Rock, a computer security specialist, warned that online death registration can be an easy target for online assassins. A flaw in some systems is that many medical professionals and funeral directors don't setup profiles for the online portals where death certificates forms are completed and submitted. Hackers can easily obtain the required information to setup an account for a doctor or funeral director, by doing a basic internet search. Once they have they required information to complete a profile, hackers can then setup an online account and start registering deaths. Therefore, the online hackers can then declare anyone dead, even if the person is still alive. As we evolve into the digital death certificate registrations era, make sure all the funeral directors in your firm setup their own online profiles.
Source: businessinsider.com August 8, 2015

DO YOUR TEAM MEMBERS HAVE THE SKILLS TO SUCCEED AND INCREASE REVENUE You are the coach of your funeral home and responsible for helping to educate each of your funeral directors so they can better serve families and customers. Besides the basic continuing education seminars required for the bi-annual license renewal, funeral directors aren't getting regular hands-on, live trainings. Regular trainings in the funeral home on topics ranging from phone discussions to stealing market share, can keep your team members refreshed and provide them with tools to be on their A-Game year-round, not just during license renewal periods.

EBOLA FINAL DISPOSITION PROTOCOL NFDA recently released an EBOLA final disposition protocol that provides best practices for funeral directors when dealing with the remains of an EBOLA patient. The guidelines come from the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, which worked with various state and federal agencies to create this working document. The protocol does follow CDC guidelines. The template protocol can be found on the PFDA website at http://www.pfda.org/_files/live/Ebola_Final_Disposition_Protocol.pdf .

WAYS TO HELP FUNERAL DIRECTORS AVOID BURNOUT Career burnout is something that is common among funeral directors, within ten years of being in the profession, three-quarters of all mortuary grads get out of funeral service. Since there is limited time off in the profession, it's important for funeral directors to take time for themselves. Here are some ways to recharge your self during the day, so you can keep going and keep providing exceptional service: take a snack break and reenergize by eating almonds, blueberries or veggies and hummus; find ways to laugh throughout the day; call a close friend or spouse, someone outside of the profession, when you are feeling burnout, it allows you to take a break and talk about something other than somber topics; when you need to take a breath or need to decompress, have a quiet place you can go to; make sure you expose yourself to the sun daily, even if it's only spending a few minutes outside; and review your day-to-day tasks and set aside times to do certain tasks, like answer emails, this will free up some of your time during the day. In order to always be ready to serve families, you need to take time for yourself during the day.
Source: CDFuneralNews, August 25, 2015

CLAIMING YOUR FUNERAL HOME ON GOOGLE IS A MUST An online presence is essential for all businesses so that people can find them. People use search engines (google, yahoo, bing, etc) to find everything and anything today. When people use a search engine to search for something, it's the search engines job to make it easy for customers to find what they need. Mobile phone and IP addresses are used to determine the location from where someone is searching and the search engine will provide that person with the most accurate information. This is also true when the person searches funeral homes in (city name). All relevant business information will show up for the searcher to see, however, if a business page is not claimed on a search engine or on google, only basic information will display, and in some cases there is incorrect information. Most businesses have a local page on google. To claim your funeral home's page you need to follow these steps: go to Google My Business; click on the "Get on Google" button; a map will appear and you can search your business name and address; follow the steps to fill out any information needed for your business; Google will send you a postcard with a pin to your business address (can take 1-2 weeks); once you have the pin, you must submit the pin on your business page in google and you will have control of your page; and once you have control of our business page, you can add a logo, photos, customer reviews, etc.
Source: CDFuneralNews, June 23, 2015

DEATH CERTIFICATE REQUEST-NOT A SCAM Recently one of our member funeral homes received a fax request from West Asset Management requesting a copy of a death certificate on behalf of the US Department of Education. The request was to verify the death of an individual so the Department of Education could discharge student loan debt. This is not a scam. If a request like this is sent to your funeral home, you can verify the validity by calling the US Department of Education at 1-800-872-5327.

PFDA SPONSORED SCHOLARSHIP AWARDEE The 2015 PFDA sponsored scholarship to PIMS was given to Steven Whiteman. Steven is from Harrison, PA and is currently working between the three Lindsay-Jones Funeral Homes. He will graduate from PIMS in May 2016.


In Memoriam

Wallace M. Long, Jr, died on August 12, 2015, at Moravian Village, Bethlehem. He was the owner/operator of Long Funeral Home, Bethlehem and Oley. He is survived by his son Michael Long, who is the owner of Long Funeral Home, Bethlehem.

Gene H. Corl, Monroeville, died on August 19, 2015. He was the owner/operator of Gene H. Corl Funeral Chapel, Monroeville. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Cheryll and Jim Atticks, both licensed funeral directors and working in the family business.

Martha Virginia Jones, Altoona, died on August 19, 2015 at the Garvey Manor Nursing Home. She is survived by her son, Robert M. Jones, Jr., a licensed funeral director and owner of the family business, Jones Funeral Home, Altoona, PA.

PFDA Office Closing The PFDA office will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2015 and reopen on Tuesday, September 8th.

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