divider image

March 2016

Dear Members,


A Case for Refrigeration in Every Funeral Home in Pennsylvania

(6) Providing proper disposal of human remains in accordance with the following:
(i) Human remains held 24 hours beyond death shall be embalmed or sealed in a container that will not allow fumes or odors to escape or kept under refrigeration, if this does not conflict with a religious belief or medical examination.

(ii) Human remains kept under refrigeration over 24 hours beyond death shall be maintained at a temperature level between 35 degree and 40 degree F. The remains shall be buried, cremated or entombed within 5 hours following removal from refrigeration.
49 PA Code Section 13.201

I have been both amazed and perplexed that there are so many funeral homes operating in this state that do not have on-site refrigeration units. Some funeral homes substitute proper refrigeration for a room with an air conditioner, the basement of the funeral home, or a garage. I believe this is not following the professional responsibility of the care of the deceased because it violates the 35 to 40 degree regulation. We are called upon to provide the best possible care to the deceased, as if the person was a member of our own family. Some funeral directors avoid installing refrigeration due to space and cost issues, but actually the cost is minimal compared to the overall operation of the funeral home plus, the refrigeration unit is the size of a small closet.

With the increasing number of simple cremations and direct burials without the use of embalming, the need for refrigeration service continues to rise. Also with families traveling more, there are times the funeral home has trouble reaching the main contact person for the decision. We meet with many families that at the time of death that still have not made a definite decision on embalming, viewing or cremation.

Oftentimes Hospice has encouraged families to spend longer periods of time with the deceased even before the funeral home has been contacted, so it's possible that hours go by that the deceased has been exposed to warm room temperatures. Then there are timely issues with getting the death certificate signed, the coroner's approval, and finally all the individuals of the family that need to sign the cremation authorization prior to the cremation.

Aside from the legal issue, there are plenty of good reasons for funeral homes to offer industry-standard refrigeration. If you have proper refrigeration, there is no need to contact families at all hours of the night because you need the viewing/embalming question answered. This gives the family more time to make these important decisions. Refrigeration can also be revenue producing. You can charge a family per day for the service, which would be included on your GPL. In contrast, not offering refrigeration limits the family's options, perhaps forcing them to choose embalming unnecessarily. This could lead to a perception that the funeral home purposely does not offer refrigeration in order to profit from embalming. Our profession does not need that kind of negative perception.

It is my hope that this encourages funeral directors to take a new perspective on the manner in which we provide care to the deceased and options we can offer to the families we serve. The ability to offer proper refrigeration is advantageous to both families and funeral homes.
Theodore Beck, F.D., Buch Funeral Home, Manheim


Changes to Federal Overtime Exemption Rules Coming in July, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced that the long awaited changes to the federal overtime regulations will be published in July 2016. The revised regulations will impact many businesses, due to the effect they will have on positions that were once exempt from overtime requirements, including those applicable to executive, administrative, and professional employees. Millions of employees will become eligible for overtime under the DOL's proposed changes. With the change, employees making less than $50,440 annually would need to be paid hourly and would be eligible for time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 hours a week. The final text of the new regulations is not yet known, but employers should begin preparing now for the changes. Read more information at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/nprm2015.


How Funeral Homes Can Become Welfare Providers in PA
Funeral Homes can apply to become a welfare provider prior to or after the death of an individual that qualifies. To apply to be a provider you must go to http://www.dhs.pa.gov click "providers," click on "enrollment information" under the PROMISE subheading, and scroll down to the funeral director application (#66). The enrollment form can be submitted electronically or printed and submitted via mail or fax. When submitted electronically or through fax, the approval process only takes a few days.


PA Senate Bill 874
Great progress has been made on SB 874! The bill had been introduced in the PA Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure. It was voted out of committee with a bi-partisan majority of 12-2 in June, 2015. It was then brought to the full Senate for a vote in October, 2015 and passed on a bi-partisan basis 26-20. It currently resides in the House Consumer Affairs Committee. This advancement would not have happened without the persistent efforts of PFDA members, staff and lobbyists.

We continue to work hard to educate House committee members to encourage the bill be voted out of committee. Please continue to keep in touch with your House member regarding this very important piece of legislation.


American Airlines Cargo at HIA Could Close
American Airlines is considering, once again, closing the cargo operations at Harrisburg International Airport (HIA), which means funeral homes in the Capital Region would need to drive to Philadelphia or Baltimore for Human Remains Transportation. You can voice your concerns about the potential loss of this service by contacting Cargo Sales Manager, Alicia Jones at Alicia.Jones1@aa.com or 817-355-8986.

Allegheny County Funeral Directors Association (ACFDA) 2016 Officers
Recently ACFDA installed their 2016 officers. Those officers that were installed are: President, Daniel F. Bekavac, Jr., Daniel F. Bekavac Funeral Home & Crematory (McKeesport); Vice-President, Edward P. Kanai, III, Edward P. Kanai Funeral Home (Greenfield); Secretary, Andrew C. Slater, John F. Slater Funeral Home Inc. (Brentwood); and Treasurer, Kevin R. Dieterle, Readshaw Funeral Home Inc. (Carrick). Also, new Board of Trustees installed: Kevin R. Dieterle, Readshaw Funeral Home Inc. (Carrick); John N. Elachko, III, John N. Elachko Funeral Home (Oakland); and Ryan T. Wilt, McDermott Funeral Home, Inc. (McKees Rocks). Congratulations to all.


Scam Alert
Several PFDA members and the PFDA office have received faxes from Yellow Pages Inc., which looks like an invoice and it has a collection warning on it. The fax has an address for Bulgaria. Do not respond to these faxes, they are scams.


Federated Mutual Insurance Co. Celebrates 10-Year Partnership With PFDA
In 2016, Federated Mutual Insurance Company celebrates its tenth year of partnership with the PFDA. Since the beginning, this relationship has focused on providing PFDA members with quality insurance and risk management solutions.

Through the alliance with Federated, PFDA members receive access to industry-specific insurance programs, and a wide variety of risk management resources designed to help members mitigate the day-to-day risks unique to their business.

Federated Insurance is proud of its relationship with PFDA and looks forward to many more years of this mutually beneficial affiliation. In January, A.M. Best Company, the most widely recognized provider of insurance industry ratings and financial data, reaffirmed its A+ (Superior) rating.


How Facebook Can Help Your Funeral Home
The funeral profession is a personal and a relationship business. Relationships are built through networking, community involvement, leveraging happy clients who will promote you through word-of-mouth, and advertising. All of these things will make you and your funeral home visible, but social media is one of the quickest ways to build relationships and become more visible at a much greater rate for a very minimal cost. A business Facebook page is free to create and it provides viewers with the ability to find out everything about your business and all your offerings. It allows them to contact you, and share your page with their networks on Facebook. Past customers can write reviews and rank your service. Facebook also allows you to do demographic advertising where you set all the parameters for a nominal fee. Read more at: http://funeralsocial.com/?s=facebook.

New Consumer Pricing Information Website
Parting.com is a new website that was started by individuals outside the funeral business to provide consumers all over the country with funeral pricing information. The website allows you to search for a funeral home by city and state or by zip code. Parting.com contacted funeral homes and asked for general information that would be on a GPL and then created a profile for those businesses. Each firm's profile on the website includes a photograph, pricing for key items, address, phone number, and website information. Consumers can also submit a review about the funeral homes they have used on the individual profile pages. This site has not received a great deal of attention, but be aware that you may receive a phone call in the near future.

Almost Half of All Small Businesses in the U.S. Don't Have Websites
Clutch, a business-to-business research firm, recently released a report which shows that 46% of small businesses in the U.S. don't have websites. However, with more than 80% of Americans researching online prior to buying something, it's important for any and all businesses to have information online. More information on the research can be found at www.entrepreneur.com/article/271068.
Source: Entrepreneur February 19, 2016


PFDA Online CE Repository
As of February 1st, 2016 PFDA will no longer be keeping an online repository of member Continuing Education Certificates of Attendance. Due to a low rate of members using the online repository it has been decided it is not cost effective. Beginning February 1st, 2016, PFDA will return to hard filing paper copies of CE Certificates of Attendance. Copies of your CE certificates are still available through PFDA. For copies of your CE credits please contact Jess at the PFDA Office or via email at jess@pfda.org.

PFDA Office Closing
The association office will be closed on Friday, March 25, 2016 for the observance of Good Friday.


PFDA Annual Convention & Expo
The 2016 PFDA Convention & Expo will be June 12-15, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey, Grantville, PA. Registration brochures for this year's annual convention will be mailed shortly. Information on the PFDA Convention and Expo "Invest in Your Future" can be found at www.pfda.org.

Local Association Presidents and Secretaries and PFDA members are asked to submit names of deceased members and immediate family members to be honored at the Service of Remembrance during the PFDA Annual Convention. The service will be held on Tuesday, June 14, at 11:00am in the Winner's Circle.

The annual service awards ceremony will take place during the PFDA Annual Convention on Tuesday, June 14 at 10:30am in the Winner's Circle.

PFDA invites you to join in making a donation to this year's silent auction at Convention. All proceeds go to the Funeral Service Fund and Building Fund. In 2015, $7,500 was raised due to many baskets and items that were received. Your help is needed again this year. Forms for all of the events listed above are enclosed.

PFDA Fall Annual District Meetings
Shannen Mayfield, CPA/ABV, Federated Funeral Directors, will be the Keynote Speaker at the 2016 District Meetings. She will speak about current trends in funeral home values, key factors which impact the business's value, and strategies to improve the business value. The dates and locations for 2016 are: DuBois, September 12; Erie, September 13; Pittsburgh, September 14; Altoona, September 15; Philadelphia, September 19; Wilkes Barre, September 20; Bethlehem, September 21; and Harrisburg, September 22.

Book of the Month by Jessica

Grieving the Death of a Sibling
Siblings have specials bonds and often complement each other. When a sibling dies the bond is broken and the surviving sibling may experience deep survivor's guilt, as well as a fear of their own mortality, and wonder how they will live their life without their sibling. They may also feel like the "forgotten mourner" as the death takes its effect on other members of the family. Sometimes, siblings will deeply reflect on their own lives and make positive lifestyle changes. Surviving siblings think of their dead sibling often. With the loss of a child comes the loss of the future. With the loss of a parent comes the loss of the past. Painfully, with the loss of a sibling comes the loss of the past, present, and future. Sibling Grief: Healing After the Death of a Sister or Brother by P. Gill White, may help your clients facing the loss of a sibling. You can purchase copies of the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Sibling-Grief-Healing-Sister-Brother/dp/1605280119/


Mary Rena Morrison, 92, Oil City, died on February 2, 2016. She is survived by her son, Michael D., owner/operator of the family business, Morrison Funeral Home, Oil City. Michael is a past President and past District Governor of PFDA.

James E. Murray, Sr., 82, New Cumberland, died on February 10, 2016. He is survived by his sons James E., Jr. and Michael G. James is the owner/operator at Stone and Murray Funeral Home, New Cumberland and Michael is the owner/operator at Richardson Funeral Home, Enola.

James M. "Jim" Higgins, 75, Tidioute, died on January 31, 2016. He was the former owner of James M. Higgins Funeral Home, Tidioute. Jim was also a former PFDA Board Member.

© Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association. All rights reserved. PRIVACY POLICY | SITE MAP | MOBILE SITE