divider image

February 2017

Dear Members,


2017 Standard Mileage Rate Has Decreased

As of January 1, 2017 the IRS dropped the standard mileage rate from 54 cents to 53.5 cents per mile.

NFDA is Seeking Applicants for Open Seats on the Board of Directors

NFDA is looking to fill the following positions for the 2017-18 leadership year, which begins at the conclusion of the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo.

Open positions are: president-elect (one-year term), treasurer (one-year term), secretary (one-year term) and two (2) at-large representatives (two-year terms). The president-elect, after completing his or her term, automatically succeeds to the office of the president.

If you are interested in becoming a candidate, NFDA urges you to submit an application by 5 p.m. CT on March 1, 2017.

The Leadership Development Committee will announce their list of qualified candidates by April 3, 2017. The Policy Board will elect the at-large representatives during their July 2017 meeting. Qualified NFDA members will have the opportunity to vote for the association's
officers (secretary, treasurer, and president-elect) during the month of August 2017.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, January 9, 2017

FTC Scam

The Federal Trade Commission wants to make everyone aware of a scam they've previously warned the public about that has surfaced again. In the scam, the person pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they are under investigation and to click on a link for more information. If you get one of these emails, do not click the link. To learn more about this scam, click https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/fake-ftc-investigation-email-making-rounds-again.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, January 2, 2017

Death in London Scam Email

NFDA has been made aware of an email scam that is being sent to funeral homes claiming that a family member has died while on a business trip in London and the person wants your funeral home to handle the arrangements. This email is a scam and you should delete it immediately. NFDA has posted some helpful information to avoid email and phone scams: http://www.nfda.org/news/in-the-news.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, January 9, 2017

NFDA Endorsed Provider Program and Discount Advantage Program

All NFDA members can enjoy discounts and savings on services they use every day, like payment process, wireless phones, and office equipment. Don't miss out on NFDA's provider and discount advantage programs. Fine more information here: http://www.nfda.org/membership/benefits.

Pocket Guide on Chemical Hazards New Mobile App

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has launched a mobile application(app) of the Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. The app makes it easier for workers, employers and occupational health professionals to learn about workplace chemicals (like formaldehyde) and their hazards. The mobile app can be installed by going to www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg.

Source: NYSFDA Directions, January 2017


2017 Burial Limits

The Pennsylvania 2017 Average Burial Limits by County have been updated. PFDA members can find the updated information on the website at http://www.pfda.org/burial-reserve-limits.

Sales and Use Tax Follow Up

As follow up to the Sales and Use Tax article that appeared in the January Reporter, PFDA Executive Director, Kathy Ryan, has created a Sales Tax Disclosure for Urns form. Member funeral homes can use this form to have the next of kin sign for interred urns and those urns that are not interred by the family or by the funeral home. The form can be found at http://www.pfda.org/index.php?pID=621.

Regional Highly Infectious Disease Tabletop Exercises

The PA Department of Health Bureau of Public Health Preparedness, in conjunction with Delta Development Group will be hosting tabletop exercises throughout Pennsylvania. The four- hour exercises will focus on the process of handling patients with a highly infectious disease. These exercises will be hosted in: Morton, Altoona, Williamsport, Jessup, Corry, Harrisburg, Danville, Clearfield and Pittsburgh PA. For more information, contact David Nitsch at dnitsch@deltaone.com or 717-441-9030.

Legislative Update

PFDA is currently monitoring 15 potential pieces of legislation. Once language is developed and bill numbers are assigned we will keep you informed of their status throughout the legislative session.


Philadelphia Funeral Director Sentenced

On January 18, 2017, Janet Powell-Dailey, a funeral director in North Philadelphia was sentenced to three months in prison followed by 20 months of house arrest and five years' probation. Powell-Dailey is also barred from ever working in any mortuary business or service again and has lost both her business and funeral director licenses.

In January 2016 she was criminally charged by the PA State Board of Funeral Directors, following an incident in August 2015, when decomposing bodies were found in a garage near Powell- Dailey's Funeral home. In December 2016 she pleaded no contest to charges that included theft by deception, theft of a movable property, and abuse of a corpse.

Source: philly.com, January 19, 2017


New Member Benefit - Discount Background Checks

Effective staff and vendor management has become a necessity in today's business environment, that is why PFDA is partnering with Coeus Global, a nationally recognized background screening provider. As a PFDA member, you will receive a 20 - 40% member discount.

Choosing the right partner can be the difference between providing a safe and secure environment for your customers and employees, as well as reducing potential risks, and allowing undesirable elements to tarnish your organizations valuable reputation within your community.

Coeus Global's online Employee Management System (EMS) will allow your funeral home, locally or nationally, to effectively conduct background screenings and track staff applicants quickly and easily.

To learn more about this new member benefit discount program please contact James Eirkson at: james@pfda.org or 800-692-6068


Email Fails by Funeral Directors

Email is a form of communication that most of us use daily. It's a quick way for people to contact to you, without having to make a phone call. Funeral directors need to embrace this form of communication and understand the power of email as a marketing tool. Here are some tips on how to make email more effective in your professional life: Get a professional email address (ex. name@xyzfuneralhome.com); Don't use one email address for the entire funeral home, each director needs their own email address. People send emails to people, not businesses; Have your email on your smart phone so you can respond quickly. This is a convenient way for families to get answers and it takes less time than a phone call; Use a professional signature and make sure it includes all of your contact information; Use a good subject line that lets the receiver know what the emails is about without opening the email; Put an "Out of Office" reply on your email when you are out of the office so that people know who to contact for assistance; By using email you can keep all family members in the loop during the planning process and it can be a quick way to get families to approve programs, videos, etc.; and when you use email as a form of communication, you can build your email database, which then can be used to send newsletters, events, and promotional information.

Source: CDFuneral News, January 17, 2017

How Funeral Homes Can Protect and Improve Their Online Reputation
Like many consumers, families that are planning funerals are going to the internet to see what options they have and to also read reviews posted by other families. The digital world has made it easy to find information with the click of a button. Families aren't going to trust a funeral home that has a lot of negative reviews or a questionable reputation based on what they read online. If you aren't currently monitoring your funeral home online reputation, it's a must. You also have to get families to post reviews. Things can be done easily by including links that click through to the online sites at the bottom of a follow-up email to your families. Those families that think you did a great job will want to tell everyone. Also, the more reviews you have, the higher you will rank in internet search engines, which will help your business appear before your local competitors who have minimal reviews. You should also be responding to the online reviews, both negative and positive, to show that it's important to the funeral home that you provide everyone with superb service.

Source: American Funeral Director, January 2017


PFDA Office Closed

The PFDA office will be closed on Monday, February 20, 2017 in observance of the President's Day holiday and reopen on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

New Classified Ad Page on the PFDA Website

The PFDA website now has a stand-alone page for classified ads. Members and non-members are permitted to advertise any funeral related products they are looking to sell on this page. The cost to advertise on the page is $55.00 per month, which will also include a listing in the monthly newsletter. It's an additional $5.00 to have a file# attached to your ad. All ad information needs to be sent to Donna in the PFDA office via email to donna@pfda.org or fax at 717-545-7360, by the 15th of the month to appear in the following month's newsletter and on the website.


PFDA Annual Convention

The 2017 Annual Convention and Expo will be held April 23-26, 2017 at Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center in Pocono Manor, PA. Attendees can reserve overnight rooms by calling 855-356-9208 and asking for the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association block or going online to https://book.kalahariresorts.com/poconos/groups.asp and using the group booking ID 416.

Registration brochures for this year's annual convention will be mailed shortly. Information on the PFDA Convention and Expo "The Power of Change..." 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, April 25 at 11:00am.

The annual service awards ceremony will take place during the PFDA Annual Convention on Tuesday, April 25 at 10:30am.

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 2016, $6,000 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.

2017 District Meetings

PFDA's Annual District Meetings will be held during the weeks of September 11-14 and September 18-21, 2017.


James W. Shirley, Sr., 83, of North Huntingdon, died on December 21, 2016. James was the previous owner of the James W. Shirley Funeral Home, Inc. North Huntingdon. He is survived by his son, James W., a licensed funeral director, who along with his wife Pam, own the James W. Shirley Funeral Home, Inc. James is also survived by his daughter, Pam Kukich and grandson Ryan Bushik, both licensed funeral directors working at the family business.

Geraldine L. "Gerry" Ronan, 88, of Carlisle, died on December 30, 2016. She is survived by her son, Lynn A. Ronan, a licensed funeral director and owner of Ronan Funeral Home, Carlisle.

Ann Lopatich, 90, of Latrobe, died on January 12, 2017. She was the previous owner of John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, Inc., Latrobe. Ann is survived by two sons, John S. and Joseph P., both licensed funeral directors working in the family business.

Richard H. Searer, 91, of Tyrone, died on January 22, 2017. He was the sole proprietor and supervisor of the Richard H. Searer Funeral Home, Tyrone. Richard was also a past president of the Keystone Local Funeral Directors Association.

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