divider image

February 2018 Reporter

February 2018

Dear Members,


Donna Centofanti Named Director of Sales and Marketing for SecurChoice™

The Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association (PFDA) is proud to announce the promotion of Donna Centofanti to Director of Sales and Marketing for SecurChoice™, a preneed funding organization owned by the PFDA and its members.

Donna has over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing including convention and event planning and has been the Meetings Coordinator for the PFDA since 2014. In her new role, Donna will meet with PFDA members to educate them about their options within SecurChoice, and to help funeral home owners understand how their choices for funding preneed funerals today can have an impact on the future of their businesses.


National Cemetery Administration(NCA) Updates Memorialization Products

The NCA has an updated application and eligibility information for Government-furnished headstones, markers, or medallions for placement in private or local Government cemeteries.

The forms that have been revised are VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker and VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for a Government Medallion for Placement in a Private Cemetery. Both forms are now available on the VA's website at www.va.gov/forms. All other versions of the VA Form 40-1330 are obsolete. Please ensure the most current version dated December 2017 is submitted. The direct links for these forms are: https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330.pdf and https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330M.pdf

If you have questions or require additional information, you can contact the NCA by using their Inquiry Routing & Information System https://iris.custhelp.com.
Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration Memo, January 16, 2018

Formaldehyde Does Not Cause Cancer by Gene Mutation

The Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently released results from a study, which rules out the possibility of formaldehyde exposure causing cancer as a result of the mutation of the gene Trgp53.

For funeral directors, this study is good news because it gives a better understanding of how formaldehyde may cause cancer and how to avoid those exposures.

To read more go to: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/results/pubs/rr/reports/rr03_508.pdf.
Source: NFDA, The Bulletin, January 8, 2018

OSHA Adjusts Penalty Amounts for 2018

On Jan. 2, civil penalty amounts for violations of workplace safety and health standards increased by two percent from last year. In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the Department of Labor is required to adjust penalties for inflation each year. New penalties for willful and repeat violations are $129,336 per violation; serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements are $12,934 per violation; and failure to correct violations is $12,934 for each day the condition continues.
Source: OSHA QuickTakes, January 17, 2018 · Volume 17, Issue 2

New IRS Withholding Tables
The IRS has released the 2018 withholding tables reflecting the new tax rates and tax brackets, higher standard deductions and repeal of personal exemptions. All employers must use these tables no later than February 15, 2018. The tables can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1036.pdf .
Source: The Kiplinger Tax Letter, Vol. 93, No. 1, January 12, 2018


Delay in EDRS upload of COD

Assume that you have a signed death certificate or medical certification by an authorized certifier (Doctor, advanced practice nurse (CRNP) or physician assistant (PA-C); you have faxed/emailed same to the DOH and you have completed the FD portion of the death certificate in EDRS. If your county coroner will give you cremation authorization by piecing the certificate together; Ex. you have a death certificate with a nurse pronouncing the death, you have a medical certification sheet complete with cause of death from an approved certifier, and you have a partially completed, i.e. the top half of certificate with all the biographical data and disposition information "working copy" or "non-certified copy". *

After starting a new case in EDRS and completing all of the biographical information along with the disposition information you are able to 'sign' your portion of the certificate and you must then 'drop to paper'; which will make the disposition permit active in the system, allowing you to print the disposition permit out. The only item missing on the permit will be the cause of death. Since you have already received the paper death certificate or medical certification with the cause of death on it EDRS allows you to either type or hand write the cause of death in the corresponding box on the disposition permit, and you are able to complete your cremation/disposition.

  • If your coroner will only accept a fully completed certificate this will not work.

Source: Deron Youse, PFDA President

PA Dept. of Health Update

PFDA President, Deron Youse, and Executive Director, Kathy Ryan, Esq., met with representatives from the Department of Health (DOH) in late January. The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss the delayed receipt of additional certified copies of death certificates as well as free veteran copies. DOH representatives were aware of the issue and acknowledged their challenge of fewer staff and increased demand on the Division of Vital Records. PFDA shared the impact of the delays on funeral directors and the families they serve.

The DOH is taking a three-pronged approach to address the issue of death certificate processing as well other challenges they face:
• Improve the platform of the DAVE system
• Secure additional funding for DOH
• Review and improve DOH processes and procedures

The DOH wants to maintain an open line of communication with PFDA to ensure they are aware of any ongoing issues. If you have an issue you would like to share, beyond the delayed processing of death certificates, please email James Eirkson at james@pfda.org.

Credit Card Surcharges

Credit card surcharges have been legal in Pennsylvania since January 2013. However, there are several reasons funeral homes have mostly declined to impose these charges on consumers. Advance notification to the card companies is required as are three written notifications to consumers. In addition, there are surcharge caps. If you are considering imposing these charges, make sure you are in compliance with all these requirements PRIOR to instituting these charges.


Getting the Most Out of Your Preneed Program

Ever wonder if you could be getting more out of your preneed program as a funeral
home owner?

In a recent study, Funeral Directors Life found that each incremental preneed case added to a funeral home's case volume brought an additional $3,806 to the bottom line. That means that your preneed book of business, which affects your potential future at-need call volume, contributes to the profitability to your business in a very meaningful way.

So, how can you get the most out of your preneed program? This article shares a few ideas about how you can make the most of your preneed program and create a secure future for your business for years to come.

Read more of this article here: http://bit.ly/MorePreneed
Source: Paul Lovelace, Vice President of Corporate Development, Funeral Directors Life


Passare® Releases the Next Generation of the Family Collaboration Center

Passare, Inc. is proud to announce the release of the next generation of the online
Family Collaboration Center.

Passare's Family Collaboration Center helps funeral directors connect and communicate with families throughout the funeral planning process, from imminent need planning to follow-up items such as death certificate tracking. Family members, friends, and even caregivers can be invited to collaborate on arrangements in real time to enter biographical information, service preferences, obituary information, and much more.

Every piece of information shared in the Family Collaboration Center is accessible from the platform's case management system, saving time on data entry for each case. Having the family enter the biographical and other information online at their own convenience allows funeral directors to spend more time during the arrangement conference creating a more personalized and meaningful funeral experience.

To view the new Family Collaboration Center, go to http://bit.ly/PassareNow.
Source: Passare Press Release, January 16, 2018


Former Funeral Director's Debt Won't Be Liquidated

Stephen E. Kezmarsky, a former Fayette County funeral director was charged with 84 felony counts of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, forgery and insurance fraud. He was arrested on January 22, 2018 and will be arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Michael M. Metros.
Source: Press Release, PA Attorney General's Office, January 22, 2018


Email Scam Alert

A member funeral home received and email from a Joe Neff, who claimed to be from a town near where the member funeral home is located. Mr. Neff said he was a captain on a fishing vessel and his wife had been killed in a car accident in London. He wanted the member funeral home to handle the funeral services and to contact the funeral home in London. Our member assumed it was a scam, but replied to the email. He received a response from Mr. Neff with a phone number and name of a funeral home in Chelsea, London. The funeral home name was one that exists in Chelsea, but the phone number didn't match.

This is a reminder to be very cautious and to be aware that scammers are sophisticated and do respond to emails, as if you are communicating with a person in need. This too was a scam.


PFDA Welcomes Our New Members

Join PFDA in welcoming our newest member: Lantz Funeral Home, Inc. Uniontown and Noll Funeral Home Inc., Beaver. We welcome back Graziano Funeral Home, Inc., Pittston.

PFDA Office Closed

The PFDA office will be closed on Monday, February 19, 2018 in observance of the President's Day and reopen on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.


2018 Mid-Winter Conference- REGISTER TODAY!

PFDA is having a Mid-Winter Conference, February 6-8, 2018 at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, PA. To book hotel reservations please call the hotel directly at (610) 641-7101 or toll free at 1-(866)-754-2822. Six (6) credits will be offered. Thank you to Federated Insurance for being a Platinum Sponsor of PFDA.

2018 Convention and Expo

The 2018 PFDA Annual Convention and Expo will be held June 3-6, 2018 at Kalahari Resorts, Pocono Manor, PA. To book hotel reservations visit: https://book.kalahariresorts.com/poconos/groups.asp and use group ID: 498 or call 877-525-2427. Pending approval five and half (5½) credits will be offered.


PFDA's Annual District Meetings will be held during the weeks of September 10-13 and September 17-20, 2018. The continuing education seminars will be: Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse present by various speakers for 2 CEU's and How Boomers Are Changing the Funeral Profession present by Josh McQueen, Passare, for 1 CEU (pending approval).


Ronald W. McDonald, 82, of Marienville, passed away on December 21, 2017. He was a licensed funeral director and previous owner of Rolo0,m nald McDonald Funeral Home in Big Run and Ronald McDonald Funeral Home in Marienville (now the Furlong Funeral Home).

Herbert Bertsch, 87, of Harrisburg, passed away on December 24, 2017. He is survived by his daughter-in-law, Sue Bertsch, PFDA's Membership Coordinator.

Jennie Zacur Shirley, 90, of North Huntingdon, passed away on December 25, 2017. She was the previous owner of James W. Shirley Funeral Home, North Huntingdon. Jennie is survived by her daughter, Pamela Shirley Kukich, son, James W. Shirley, Jr., and grandson, Ryan Bushik, all licensed funeral directors working in the family business.

Barrett Gates Greenlee, 79, of Scenery Hill, passed away on January 8, 2018. He was a licensed funeral director and owner of John B. Greenlee Funeral Home, Beallsville, Greenlee Funeral Home, Bentleyville, and Greenlee Funeral Home, Fredericktown.

Roxanne Gerine Hoffman, 60, passed away on January 14, 2018. She was a licensed funeral director and owner operator of Hoffman Funeral Home, Bensalem. She is survived by her sister Michele Young, a licensed funeral director working in the family business.

Martha Bertsch, 86, of Harrisburg, passed away on January 19, 2018 at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg Hospital. She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Sue Bertsch, PFDA's Membership Coordinator.

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