June/July 2016 Reporter
New Overtime Rules
The U.S. Dept. of Labor has finally passed the final rule on overtime which will become effective December 1, 2016. The rule requires that employees who make less than $47,476 (to be updated every three years) annually must be paid overtime for anything over 40 hours regardless if you are paid hourly or by salary. The Rule also updates the compensation level about which most white collar workers will be ineligible for overtime to $134,004 annually. It is important to note that for non-highly compensated employees(HCE), the rule allows up to 10 percent of the salary threshold to be met by non-discretionary bonuses, incentive pay or commissions, provided they are made on a quarterly basis.
Good News from the State of Maryland
As those of you near our southern border know, Maryland's transport law has caused some degree of confusion and upset. In a recent message from the President of the Maryland Funeral Directors Association (based upon a March 30 interpretation of the Attorney General of Maryland), it has now been determined that out-of-state funeral directors and their employees may come into the state of Maryland and pick up a body from a Maryland licensed funeral home without needing either a transport services permit or courtesy card. In addition, the Maryland funeral director must sign the death certificate. Out-of-state funeral directors or employees cannot make a removal directly from a hospital, nursing home or other place of death. Out of state licensed funeral directors can remove directly from these locations IF they have a courtesy card or a Maryland mortician's license. In this situation, that licensee would also be responsible for signing and filing of the death certificate.
Source: Kathleen K. Ryan, Esquire, Executive Director, PFDA
Funeral Homes Basic Services Fees
Funeral Homes may only charge one basic services fee that includes overhead costs. However, there is nothing in the Funeral Rule preventing funeral homes from listing different weekday and weekend prices for other required itemized services, like viewings or funeral services.
Benninghoff to Introduce Legislation
Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff will be introducing legislation to amend the Vital Statistics Law of 1953 to allow a physician assistant (PA) to sign a death certificate for a patient under the care of that PA. Currently PAs can conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, manage their own patient panels, write prescriptions and often serve as the principal healthcare professional for patients. Under the current law, PAs are permitted to pronounce death, but they cannot sign a death certificate. Benninghoff's legislation will make the process of getting a death certificate easier for all parties.
Funeral Interns and Death Certificates
Please note that as of May 5, 2016, if a funeral intern signs a Certificate of Death, Vital
Records will require a replacement Certificate of Death singed by a licensed funeral director. If you have any questions or concerns, please submit them via email and send them to
Certificate of Death Revision
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised the Certificate of Death, Form H105.143. The certificate has a newly revised form dated as of 10/2015.
Changes to the form are: Parent has been added next to both the Father's and Mother's names; The box to the left of 23a has been changed to 23a-24 and must be completed by the person who pronounces or certifies the death and if any portion of 23a-23d is completed, then the information must be entered in all of 23a-23d; and the Certificate is now printed on regular 20# weight paper.
Vital Records will permit a 90-day grace period to implement the revised certificate, but by September 1, 2016, all deaths filed on Certificates of Death older than 10/2015 will be rejected.
With the roll out of the Electronic Death Registration System during July and August 2016, more death certificates will be filed electronically, therefore there will be less of a need for a manual paper process. Certificates of Death can be ordered by email email@example.com or faxing to 724-656-3155.
The 10-Day Rule
Section 13.184 sets forth the rule regarding holding a body in excess of ten days. The
rule currently states that a funeral director ". . . may not allow the retention of a dead human body at his establishment or elsewhere for a total of more than 10 days without first obtaining special permission from the Board." The Board clarified that the ten days begins when a funeral director takes control of the remains, not from the date of death. The form that the Board requires to obtain permission is found on PFDA's website under the legal forms.
Alzheimer's Association New Address Information
Some of the Alzheimer's Association of PA offices have moved. Below is the information for all office locations in PA.
Erie - 1600 Peninsula Drive, Suite 15, Erie, PA 16505
Harrisburg - 2595 Interstate Drive, Suite 100, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Pittsburgh - 1100 Liberty Avenue, Suite E-201, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
State College - 270 Walker Drive, Suite 201-B, State College, PA 16801
Wilkes-Barre - 57 N Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.
PFDA is actively monitoring the following bills:
• SB 874 (McGarrigle) - Would require cemeteries to provide price lists, trust money at the end of each month, and prohibit the practice of "constructive delivery."
• SB 538 (Tomlinson) - Would allow for expungement of certain infractions.
• SB 180 (Greenleaf) - Amends organ procurement law.
• HB 1364 (Santora) - Companion bill to SB 874.
• HB 30 (Petrarca) - Amends organ procurement law.
• HB 72 (Readshaw) - Amends right to disposition law to majority rule.
• HB 802 (Readshaw) - Would allow for CE carryover for biennial renewal.
• HB 443 (Harhai) - Amends banking act to allow grandchildren to access funds at death.
• HB 1974 (Longietti) - Amends amount of wages or benefits due to deceased that an employer can pay from $5,000 to $10,000.
John Price and Price Funeral Home
As of March 31st, 2016, the State Board of Funeral Directors levied a civil penalty in the amount of $25,000 on and revoked, immediately stayed in favor of probation for no less than five years, subject to the terms and conditions set forth below, the funeral director and funeral supervisor license of John M. Price, Jr, F.D., license numbers FD014657L and FS014657L.
The State Board of Funeral Directors further levied a civil penalty in the amount of $25,000 on and revoked, immediately stayed in favor of probation for no less than five years, subject to the terms and conditions set forth below, the restricted business corporation funeral establishment license of Price Funeral Home, Inc., license number FR000921L.
John Price has appealed all penalties.
Blair Hawkins and Hawkins Funeral Services Inc.
As of May 12, 2016, the State Board of Funeral Directors levied a civil penalty in the amount of $90,000 and revoked, effective June 13, 2016, the funeral director license, of Blair Anthony Hawkins, F.D., license number FD013103L, and ordered Hawkins to cease and desist from practicing as a funeral director.
The State Board of Funeral Directors also levied a civil penalty in the amount of $10,000 on Hawkins Funeral Services, Inc., and orders Hawkins Funeral Services to cease and desist from the practice of funeral directing.
Janet Dailey and Powell Mortuary Services, Inc.
As of January 15, 2016 the State Board of Funeral Directors hereby levied a civil penalty in the amount of $180,000 on and revoked effective February 15, 2016, the funeral director and funeral supervisor license of Janet M. Dailey, F.D., license numbers FD013089L and FS013089L, and orders Dailey to cease and desist from practicing as a funeral director.
The State Board of Funeral Directors further levied a civil penalty in the amount of $120,000 on and revoked effective February 15, 2016, the restricted business corporation funeral establishment license of Powell Mortuary Services, Inc., license number FR000247L, and orders Powell to cease and desist from practicing as a restricted business corporation funeral establishment.
Harvard Study Reveals Higher ALS Risks for Formaldehyde Exposure
The study found that "male funeral directors who routinely work with embalming fluid might be at increased risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)." "Those whose jobs involved continual exposure to the formaldehyde in embalming fluid were three times more likely to develop the neurological disease, compared to people never exposed to the chemical, researchers reported." The full article can be found in the July 13 issue of the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
The IRS is aware that a large number of businesses sidestep their payroll
responsibilities by classifying workers as independent contractors, when they are actually employees. The Labor Department and states are currently seeking out misclassifications and sharing their results with the IRS to secure back payroll taxes and penalties from firms that wrongly treat employees as contractors.
Funeral homes who have voluntarily reported workers as contractors and given them 1099s, can go to the IRS, pay a modest fine, and receive audit protection for earlier years.
Source: The Kiplinger Tax Letter, Vol. 91, NO. 9
Fall Annual District Meetings
The Annual Fall District Meetings will be September 12-15 and September 19-22, 2016 throughout the state. The locations and dates are as follows: 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
New Book Helps Mourners After the Death of a Soulmate
Companion Press announces the publication of a new book entitled When Your Soulmate Dies: A Guide to Healing Through Heroic Mourning, by renowned grief educator Dr. Alan Wolfelt.
Author, educator, and grief counselor Dr. Alan Wolfelt serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado. The author of Understanding Your Grief and many other books for grief caregivers and mourners, Dr. Wolfelt is committed to helping people mourn well so they can live well and love well.
When Your Soulmate Dies is available in both softcover and e-book formats. To order visit www.centerforloss.com or call (970) 226- 6050.
Source: Center for Loss and Life Transition, May 17, 2016
Frank M. Regan, 87, of Scranton, died on April 27, 2016 at the Hershey Medical Center. He was the owner of Frank M. Regan Funeral Home, Scranton. He is survived by his son Frank and brother Neil, both PA licensed funeral directors.
Virginia M. Lucas, 98, of Kulpmont, died in May of 2016. At the time of her death she was the oldest and longest consecutively licensed female funeral director in PA. She is survived by her son Charles J. Lucas, III and grandson Charles J. Lucas IV, both PA licensed funeral directors working in the family business at C.J. Lucas Funeral Home Inc., Kulpmont.
William R. Decker, 94, of Peckville, died on May 7, 2016, at Moses Taylor Hospital. He was the owner and operator of Kinback Decker Funeral Home, Peckville. He is survived by his son, Robert Decker, a PA licensed funeral director working in the family business at Robert E. Decker Funeral Home, Peckville.
Sherrie L. "Shae" Neal, 49, of Washington, died on May 9, 2016. She was the co-owner of William G. Neal Funeral Home Ltd. She is survived by her husband, Michael P. Neal, a PA licensed funeral director and co-owner of William G. Neal Funeral Home Ltd., Washington.
William F. Datig, 84, of Brentwood, died on June 17, 2016. He is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Deborah and William Harris, owner of Harris Funeral Homes and Chairman of the State Board of Funeral Directors. He is also survived by grandson John, a PA licensed funeral director.
Samuel M. Cummings, Sr., 76, of Kane, died on June 25, 2016. He was the owner of Cummings Funeral Home, Inc, Kane and a past president of PFDA. He is survived by his son Sam Jr., a PA licensed funeral director, working in the family business at Cummings Funeral Home, Inc.