Employers Must Display Revised Department of Labor Signs
The Department of Labor (DOL) has revised both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) posters. Employers are required to display the revised signs. For more information and copies of the signs go to https://www.dol.gov.
Funeral Rule Maximum Violation Fee Significantly Increased by FTC
As of August 1, 2016, anyone that is in violation of the Funeral Rule can be assessed a fee up to $40,000. The maximum fee, which was $16,000, has been adjusted for inflation because the FTC has not increased fees in over 10 years. More information on the change can be found at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2016/06/civil-penalties-undergo-inflation-recalculation.
FTC Updated Embalming Disclosure
The FTC has changed the last line of the Embalming Disclosure to read as follows:
[Except in certain special cases,] [E]mbalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement, such as direct cremation or immediate burial, that does not require you to pay for it.
Prior to the change the Disclosure read: ... that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial.
EPA's Final Rule to Protect Public Exposure to Formaldehyde
The EPA finalized a rule on July 27 to help reduce the exposure to formaldehyde vapors from certain wood products. The rule requires TSCA Title VI labeling on all "composite wood products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States." All items must be labeled by July 2017.
More information on the ruling and the impacted products can be found at
Source: NFDA Bulletin August 1, 2016
Recommendation to Funeral Homes for Handing Out the CPL or OBCPL
The FTC recently fined a funeral home for seating a consumer in an arrangement room where caskets or vaults were on display during an undercover shop. Due to this incident, NFDA is recommending that funeral homes provide the CPL and/or OBCPL prior to showing someone into an arrangement room that has caskets or vaults on display.
NFDA will be addressing this situation with the FTC Division of Marketing Practices and reviewing any additional charges related to this situation given to funeral homes by FTC undercover shoppers.
NFDA members with questions can contact T. Scott Gilligan, NFDA's General Counsel, at 513-871-6332.
Source: Director, August 2016
Have the Talk of a Lifetime Month
The Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) has designated November as "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" month. FAMIC's national marketing campaign is live and during November there are events and activities to engage consumers and direct them to funeral professionals and homes near them, via the website www.talkofalifetime.org, where they can go to "have the talk."
For additional information go to www.famic.org.
Source: NFDA Bulletin August 8, 2016
Mortuary School Program Enrollment and Graduate Numbers Are on the Rise
Statistics gathered by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), show that in 2015 1,713 students graduated from a mortuary school program and this was the highest number of graduates since 2000. Also, the information collected showed that the number of enrolled students saw growth after a four-year decline.
Pennsylvania is ranked fourth out of the 53 states and foreign locations for the highest number of new enrollees and graduates. Additional information on the statistics collected can be found at http://www.nfda.org/news/nfda-publications.
Source: Director, August 2016
Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) Rollout
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) with the help of five PFDA member funeral homes ran a pilot test on the new EDRS system over the last few months. The test was to ensure the process and proposed interim system met the needs of funeral directors, as well as met the Pennsylvania and federal reporting requirements. It was confirmed that the interim system met and exceeded funeral directors' needs. The interim system permits funeral directors to collect the medical information from non-EDRs medical certifiers via fax, scanner or personal delivery, and DOH has created a worksheet to make collecting this information easier. Once funeral directors have the completed form, you in turn, fax or scan it to the DOH to be entered into the EDRS.
The rollout will happen in phases: Phase 1 includes funeral directors, coroners/medical examiners and local registrars; Phase 1a will be 12 Southeastern PA counties (Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Berks, Lehigh, Carbon, Northampton, Monroe, Pike) and all remaining counties will be part Phase 1b in early 2017; and Phase 2 will include medical certifiers (primarily physicians and CRNPs) and licensed healthcare facilities. For more information, you may contact the EDRS Team Leader, David Mattiko, at 717-547-3680 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The EDRS website at http://doh.pa.gov/edrs will also contain useful information as the implementation continues.
Fort Indiantown Gap Cemetery Funeral Flag Presentation Changes
The Pennsylvania Military Honors Group (Army Personnel that normally fold and present the flag) at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery will now only be authorized to fold and present to Army Veterans.
If Funeral Homes have an Army veteran and would like to use the cemetery honors, there will be no change. However, if you have a non-army veteran and would like the military members from their branch of service to fold and present, please use this website to get contact numbers https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh/, click the Funeral Director's Information on the left hand menu.
The Fort Indiantown Gap volunteer honor guards will still be there every day to provide rifle volleys. In the event you do not arrange for the parent service to provide flag folding honors, the volunteer groups should be able to fold and present the flag. If you have any questions, please contact the Fort Indiantown Gap Cemetery at 717-865-5254.
Updated State Board Member Information
Please note that PA State Board Professional Member Thomas G. Kukuchka has new business and personal email addresses: Business email:email@example.com and Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FDLIC Recognized by Workplace Culture Experts at Great Place to Work®
Funeral Directors Life was recently certified as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. Funeral Directors Life earned this credential based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys administered by the workplace culture experts at Great Place to Work®. A summary of these ratings can be found at http://reviews.greatplacetowork.com/funeral-directors-life.
One Key to Running a Great Business
What is one of the most influential factors affecting your company's success? It's your employees-—the people who are right beside you, helping to build the profit and pursue opportunities for growth. Physical assets-—the buildings and equipment-—support financial goals, but to carry out the directives necessary to reach those goals, a company won't get too far without trusted employees.
Are any of your key people close to retirement, or absent due to a long-term illness or disability that may prevent their return? Perhaps one of your star performers recently quit. Or, perhaps, one of your key employees passed away not long ago. With the anxiety of losing a valuable employee still fresh in your mind, it's a perfect time to start putting a plan in place to protect your company in the event another key person leaves. Determine who your key employees are and decide how to protect your company after losing a key employee.
Are you prepared to cover that expense out-of-pocket? Few employers have that kind of extra money lying around, "just in case." Having an important employee leave is enough of a disruption to your business. Do you want to add a financial burden on top of that?
Source: Federated Insurance
The Unpleasant Side of Cyber Space
The Internet connects businesses of all sizes to data networks and computer systems around the world. It also exposes companies to hackers, viruses, and other computer attacks. And, let's face it, there is no such thing as perfect computer security. Whether by hacker, glitch, or employee error, many businesses will experience a data breach incident at some point.
Knowing a breach is practically inevitable, and the recovery cost potentially devastating from a financial, public image, and regulatory enforcement standpoint, how does a business owner protect his or her organization?
As cyber-crimes get more sophisticated, your defense against them needs to keep pace. Federated Insurance can help you learn ways to minimize the risk of a breach, and, if you are a Federated client, you also have access to a seven step cyber security plan through Federated's Shield Network®. To learn more, visit www.federatedinsurance.com.
Source: Federated Insurance
Beware of this email scam – "Hello my name is Miller Russell, I live in Williamsport I am a captain of a fishing vessel and I am on sea at this moment and the best form of communication for me is via email. I will like to use your funeral home for the funeral of my wife who passed away on the 6th of August 2016. After an automobile accident in London England while she was on a business trip. She is currently at a funeral home in England...." The email goes on and the sender provides a phone number. Do not call this person or provide them with any of your information.
PPL Electric Utilities Warns Customers of Sophisticated Phone Scam
PPL Electric Utilities is warning its customers to be aware of a phone scam in which calls appear to come from the utility and mimic the company's call center.
Also a scammer walked into a business pretending to be from PPL and demanded money under threat of a service shut-off, but was unsuccessful.
The bogus number that customers are being told to call-— 855-625-7634 -— has been associated with other scams against utility customers in other parts of the country. Another number -— 844-255-4708 -— also is being used. In some cases, the bogus number has been set up to look on Caller ID like it is from PPL.
Mostly business, and some residential, customers have been targeted by the recent scams. PPL reminds its residential and small business customers that the only number they should be calling to discuss their account is 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775). Mid-size to large businesses can call 1-888-220-9991, option 4. Be sure to report any scam attempts to PPL at 1-800-342-5775 and also to local police.
Source: PPL Electric Utilities
PFDA Member Obituaries
We are asking that PFDA members forward obituaries for any PFDA Member Funeral Director or their immediate family members to the PFDA office via fax at 717-545-7360 or email email@example.com.
PFDA Office Closing
The PFDA office will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2016 and reopen on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
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. A registration form is enclosed.
NFDA Convention Golf Outing – Volunteers Needed
NFDA's 2016 International Convention and Expo is being held in Philadelphia October 23-26. The annual golf outing will be held on Sunday, October 23 at the Scotland Run Golf Course in Williamstown, NJ. They are looking for volunteers to help with the outing. Anyone interested in helping with this event, please contact Nancy Kerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262.814.1530.
Frank J. Behm, 84, of Jefferson, died July 25, 2016 in Uniontown Hospital. He was a licensed funeral director and previous owner of Behm Funeral Homes in Jefferson and Waynesburg. Frank was a past president of PFDA.
He is survived by his son-in-law, Greg Rohanna, licensed funeral director and supervisor at Behm Funeral Home, Inc., Jefferson and a past president of PFDA.
James L. "Jimmy G" Guercio, 61, died on August 12, 2016. He was a licensed funeral director for the Vincent Gangemi Funeral Home, Inc, Philadelphia.