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January 2016

Dear Members,

FOOD IN THE FUNERAL HOME – The issue of providing food in the funeral home continues to raise questions among the members. The statute regarding service of food in the funeral home prohibits some. Beverages (non-alcoholic), if offered, must be restricted to a separate room not used for preparation or to conduct a funeral service. Food, if served, must be done "beyond the confines of * * * [the] funeral establishment" with such premises being maintained in accordance with state and local health laws.

NFDA GOVERNANCE CHANGE – The House of Delegates, at the convention in October, made significant changes in the governance structure of NFDA. Effective immediately the changes include: elimination of the House of Delegates in favor of membership vote. Each funeral home owner will have two votes and each funeral director member will have one vote. Voting will be cast online. Issues will be brought to the Board of Directors through the Policy Board, which will go from a voting body to an advisory capacity, and/or through town hall meetings to be held at convention or through webinars. Finally, a Leadership Development Committee will have the responsibility to recruit, vet, and recommend qualified candidates for elected positions on the Board of Directors. Further details and explanations can be found at www.nfda.org.

EXCESS FUNDS IN A BURIAL RESERVE - When a funeral home has excess funds in a burial fund for someone that has no estate, the funeral home must send the money to their local county assistance office. Be sure to call the office ahead of time so they are aware that the money is coming. Local county assistant office information can be found at http://www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/findfacilsandlocs/countyassistanceofficecontactinformation.

STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL DIRECTORS' NEWLY ELECTED CHAIRMAN – The Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors recently elected Gregory T. Burrell their chairman. Burrell is the president and CEO of Terry Funeral Home Inc. in West Philadelphia. He will lead the board in overseeing all licensed funeral directors in Pennsylvania. Burrell first served on the board in 2007, when he was appointed by then Governor, Ed Rendell, and was then reappointed in 2014 by former Governor Tom Corbett. He is a graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science and Morehouse College.

HUMAN REMAIN DISPOSTION THROUGH ALKALINE HYDROLYSIS – Currently there are 11 states that permit the disposition of human remains through alkaline hydrolysis, however, Pennsylvania is not one of them.

RENEW YOUR PFDA MEMBERSHIP FOR 2016 - It's that time again, if you have not renewed your PFDA membership for 2016, please do so as soon as possible, so that you don't lose access to exclusive PFDA member benefits and services. If you have already renewed for 2016 – THANK YOU! We appreciate you and are glad to have you as part of the PFDA group of funeral service professionals in Pennsylvania. You can renew online at www.pfda.org. Please contact Sue Bertsch, Membership Coordinator, at 1-800-692-6068 or sue@pfda.org with any questions.



January 19, 2016
9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Red Lion Hotel Harrisburg
4751 Lindle Eoad
Harrisburg, PA 17111




See enclosed registration form to sign up.

Member Cost - $100.00 Per Funeral Director & Non-Member Cost - $100.00 Per Credit

2016 PFDA MID-WINTER MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE - The 2016 Management Conference will be held February 16-18, 2016 at The Inn at Leola Village, Leola, PA. Earn 6 approved credits. See more information on the enclosed flyer and registration form. The keynote speakers will be Guy Matthews, Esquire, who will speak on estate planning and Mike Nicodemus, NFDA, who will speak on cremation litigation and how to communicate with families that chose cremation. Kathleen Ryan, PFDA Executive Director and General Counsel and James Eirkson, PFDA Assistant Director and COO, will conduct a roundtable on current and emerging issues.

2016 ANNUAL CONVENTION AND EXPO - The 2016 Event will be June 12-15, 2016 and will be held at the Holiday Inn Grantville.

2016 DISTRICT MEETINGS - PFDA's Annual District Meetings will be held during the weeks of September 12-15 and September 19-22, 2016.
FEDERATED INSURANCE SPONSORED WEBINAR – On December 8, Federated sponsored a complimentary webinar titled "Emerging Issues in Employment Law – Overtime Pay and Control." This webinar is available to all PFDA members free-of-charge until February 8th. The webinar can be accessed at https://www.federatedinsurance.com/ws/fi/InsuranceResources/index.htm .


PFDA is actively monitoring and in support of the following bills:

SB 874 - (McGarrigle) - Would require cemeries to provide price lists, trust money at the end of each month, and probihit the practice of "constructive delivery".

SB 538 - (Tomlinson) - Would allow for expungement of certain infractions.

HB 72 - (Readshaw) - Would change right to disposition law from unanimous consent to majority rules in cases with multiple people on equal standing.

HB 802 - (Readshaw) - Would allow for CE carryover for biennial renewal.

CELEBRATORY WORDS FUNERAL DIRECTORS SHOULD USE - Funeral Directors can help make the funeral planning process easier for families by simply using celebratory vocabulary versus traditional funeral language. Here are some different words you can use when planning services with a family: Encourage families to share stories about their loved one; Let the family know they are honoring their family members life and this will make the family feel proud; Memories help families remember their loved one and heal by talking about all the good times; A family should celebrate the life of their loved one by celebrating all their hobbies, interests, friends and family; and Funeral directors should help families by co-creating with the family a memorable funeral experience. By doing this you build a bond and trust between you and the family.
Source: American Funeral Director, December 2015

FUNERAL DIRECTORS SHOULD EMBRACE THESE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS – Funeral Directors need to embrace the growing internet trends in order to better connect with their families. Here are some current technology tools that are trending in the business world: Funeral homes should be using Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to connect with families. These sites are free and easy ways for you to engage with your customers. Manage all your social media with tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial – these sites allow you to pre-plan your social media marketing campaign days, weeks and months in advance; Setup google alerts so that you can track when people talk about your funeral home online. Create a custom website for your funeral home. Have a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website to help the customer get quick answers and it will give you and your staff more time in the day. Make sure you have online web forms on your website, they allow you to gather family questions and can be a resource for leads, because people would rather fill out a form than call a funeral home for information.

HELP YOUR EMPLOYEES DO THEIR BEST – To have a successful business, all of your employees need to stay on task and work together toward a common goal. Below are some tips to help you keep employees performing so they can reach their goal: Communicate with each employee their roles and duties so that everyone understands their responsibilities; Set clear, measurable goals for each employee; Monitor employees, but don't micromanage everything they do; Make sure employees feel like they can talk to you, even about a problem or mistake. This can be done by responding in a constructive manner, not a punishing manner when there is bad news; Deal with problems quickly with a thought-out solution; and Facilitate informal gatherings so employees can brainstorm and solve problems face-to-face with each other rather than just through email or over the phone.



MEDITATING THROUGH GRIEF Grief is a difficult emotion to deal with and it's a feeling that many people run from. Healing cannot occur when grief is pushed aside and ignored. Awareness of pain and sadness is important to begin the healing process. To do this it is important to live in the moment and be mindful. One way achieve this is through meditation. Numerous studies have been done proving the benefits of meditation, such as reducing pain, anxiety, confusion and stress; boosting the immune system; and increasing concentration, focus and compassion. Mediation helps us stay in the "now" and address our feelings as they come. "Mindfulness and Grief: With Guided Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Restore Your Spirit" by Heather Stang is a great resource for helping families use meditation as a means of healing.

Sources: http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/mindfulness-and-grief/

HOW YOUR FUNERAL HOME CAN ADAPT TO CHANGE – Change in funeral service isn't new, but how fast it's happening is new. So how can you and your funeral home adapt to all the changes? Here are some easy ways for you to make changes: 1. Explain what you are going to do; let families know you are going to fill out the paperwork for them, you are caring for their loved one's body, and you are going to help them create a memorable funeral experience; 2. Be transparent with your services and pricing: have descriptions of your services and pricing on your website; 3. Acknowledge people dislike funeral homes – meet families at their homes, a garden area of the funeral home grounds, or make sure your meeting space in the funeral home is cheerful; 4. Break out of the mold – do some research for this, but suggest alternative service locations to families, transport the loved one's body in an unusual vehicle, recommend an informal gathering at a local pub, and offer to post tributes on Facebook. 5. Listen first – understand what your families really want before presenting them with options; 6. Be flexible - give families multiple scheduling options for their services; 7. Provide non-religious options – create ceremonies that appeal to everyone and offer space that is inviting, regardless of their religious beliefs; and 8. Give everyone something to do – have friends write personal messages to the family and contribute to the memory wall.

In Memoriam

Thomas K. Thomas, Jr., 77, of Palmerton, died on November 26, 2015. He was the previous owner of T.K. Thomas Funeral Home, Palmerton. He is survived by his daughter, Debbie and husband Rich Taylor, both licensed funeral directors and owners of the family business, T.K. Thomas Funeral Home, Palmerton.

M. Domer Leibensperger, 75, of Hamburg, died on December 14, 2015. He was the owner of the Leibensperger Funeral Homes, Inc., in Leesport and Hamburg. He is survived by his daughter Donna Parr, and son Derek M.D., both licensed funeral directors, working in the family business.

PFDA OFFICE CLOSING The association office will be closed on Monday, January 18, 2016 in observance of the Martin Lutheran King, Jr. holiday. The office will reopen Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

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