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March 2018 Reporter

March 2018

Dear Members,


Update on BRAVE ACT (H.R. 1212)

During the NFDA Advocacy Summit, April 25-27, the BRAVE Act will be one item that members will discuss with their members of Congress. Currently, there are 47 co-sponsors for this bill. You can see if your representative has signed on to co-sponsor this bill by going to https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1212/cosponsors.

The Burial Rights for American's Veterans' Efforts Act (BRAVE Act – H.R. 1212), which was introduced in the House last March and in the Senate last July, "seeks to improve benefits for veterans who meet eligibility requirements; ensure all non-service connected veteran deaths are treated equally, regardless of where a veteran dies; and index benefits for inflation, alleviating the need for further adjustments from Congress".
Source: NFDA News, February 19, 2018

National Cemetery Administration Taking Steps to Remedy Customer Service Issues

Recently, many callers who have attempted to reach the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), have experienced delays or dropped calls. In a release, the NCA stated they are taking steps to address the issues.
Funeral Directors should continue to call the national scheduling office at 800-535-1117 to receive eligibility determinations and to schedule burials.

Is Have the Talk of a Lifetime Part of Your 2018 Business Plan?

FAMIC's Have the Talk of a Lifetime education campaign has conversation starter cards that Funeral Directors can share with families. The deck of 50 cards can help in creating dialogue among family members about their lives and how they want to be remembered. These cards are a great gift for people who are prearranging their funerals, as holiday gifts for those families your serve, event giveaways, and as post-funeral thank you gifts.

NFDA members can receive a free packet of cards at http://www.nfda.org/resources/public-community-relations/community-relations/have-the-talk-of-a-lifetime. Members can also purchase additional cards at a discounted rate at www.nfda.org.

NFDA Remembering a Life Film Contest

NFDA's Remembering a Life Film Contest is great opportunity for amateur and professional filmmakers worldwide to create films that will help convey the importance and power of memorializing lives (what you do every day!).

Amateur and professional filmmakers worldwide are invited to submit films that commemorate the life of someone who has died, or pay tribute to someone who is alive, for consideration in the contest. The contest is open now through May 1, 2018. The only requirement is that the films be five or fewer minutes in length. Visit www.RememberingALife.com/filmcontest for information about submitting a film.
Source: NFDA Bulletin, February 12, 2018

"Getting Grace" Movie Debut

On March 3, "Getting Grace", a movie that was filmed in Bethlehem, PA, will premiere in three theatres in the Lehigh Valley. The movie will be shown in select theatres nationwide starting on March 23rd.
Getting Grace is about a funeral director who meets a terminally ill teenage girl who wants to know what will happen to her after she dies. The film did very well in film festivals in 2017.
Source: Memorial Business Journal, February 1, 2018, Vol. 9 No. 5

Congratulations to PA's 2018 Meet the Mentors Attendees

NFDA's Meet the Mentors program is for licensed funeral directors/embalmers age 40 or under, or newly-licensed within the last five years. Attendees have the opportunity to meet and learn from successful funeral professionals.

Congratulations to Nathan Minnich, Hoover-Boyer Funeral Home, Elizabethville and Nicholas Ricci, Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home & Crematory, East Pittsburgh for being selected for this year's event being held March 11-13 in Atlanta.
Source: Memorial Business Journal, February 1, 2018, Vol. 9 No. 5


License Renewal and the PALS System

The PFDA office was flooded with calls throughout January regarding the challenges funeral directors faced during the licensing renewal process this year. Staff did their best, with the limited information available, to help members navigate the new PALS platform implemented by the Department of State (DOS). PFDA shared DOS information with members as soon as it was available and helped members obtain copies of CE records for PFDA programs. PFDA also worked with multiple Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting presenters to ensure that CE records were correctly reported to the state.

PFDA communicated members' numerous challenges to the State Board of Funeral Directors, the BPOA Commissioner and Director of Operations, as well as to the offices of Senator Tomlinson and Representative Readshaw.

Looking ahead, PFDA will continue to communicate with the State Board of Funeral Directors and DOS staff and will keep PFDA members updated with any new information that becomes available.

REMINDER - Online Submission of Preneed Forms

All submissions of Report of Preneed Burial Contracts and Completed Prepaid Burial Contract Reports must be done online at www.PALS.pa.gov. Paper submissions have not been accepted by the State Board of Funeral Directors since July 1, 2015. For question or help please call the Help Desk at 717-783-1087. The State Board notice, with instructions, dated August 17, 2017 is on the PFDA website on the home page in the Breaking News box.

Pennsylvania Law on Selling Insurance

Pennsylvania law prohibits a licensed insurance producer from knowingly accepting insurance or annuity business which "was sold, solicited or negotiated" by an unlicensed person. Doing so can result in a felony of the third degree and or a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
Source: Kathleen Ryan, Esquire, PFDA Executive Director

Updated Number of Registered Births and Deaths In PA

The PA Department of Health provided PFDA with some preliminary statistics of births and deaths registered for 2017. In 2017 the bureau registered over 138,000 births; 135,000 deaths; and almost 1,300 fetal deaths. In addition, in 2017 there was an increase of approximately 17 percent in birth certificate applications over 2016. In fiscal year 2016-2017 the total applications issued or reissued was 487,000 and for 2017 they are on track to issue over ½ million.

2018 Burial Limits

The Pennsylvania 2018 Average Burial Limits by County have been updated. PFDA members can find the updated information on the website at:


Allegheny County Funeral Directors Association Officers Installed (ACFDA)

ACFDA recently held their annual memorial service and installation of officers and new board members at the Highmark Caring Place. PFDA President-Elect, Stephanie Doriguzzi conducted the installation ceremony. The newly installed officers are President, John N. Elachko, III, Vice-President, James E. Maksin, Treasurer, Kevin Dieterle, Secretary, Ryan T. Wilt, and new board members, Rosemarie Carfagna Au, Daniel F. Bekavac, Jr., and LeeAnn Sherman.


10 Things to Look for When Selecting a Preneed Company

In today's increasingly complex and unpredictable market, it is more important than ever to seek out relationships with stable, reputable, and service-oriented organizations. Before selecting a preneed insurance provider in particular, there are several factors to consider. These are indicators of the company's ability to weather market trends, remain committed to the interests and needs of the funeral industry, and provide the valuable tools needed to help funeral homes grow and increase profitability in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Read more of this article here: bit.ly/10ThingsPreneed.
Source: Todd Carlson, EVP and Chief Sales Officer, Funeral Directors Life


Senate Bill 354 (Tomlinson) Approved by Governor

Senate Bill 354 (Printer's No. 1426), sponsored by Senator Tomlinson, was approved by the Governor on Feb. 15, 2018. SB 354 amends Act 48 of 1993. The bill requires licensees, as a condition of licensure, certification, registration or holding a permit, to provide written notice of the following to the appropriate licensing board or commission within 30 days: 1) A disciplinary action taken against the licensee by a licensing agency of another jurisdiction; 2) A finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere, probation without verdict, a disposition in lieu of trial or an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition of any felony or misdemeanor offense. The bill also addresses sanctions, allowing for a licensing board or licensing commission to take disciplinary action against a licensee who fails to report sanctions and criminal proceedings. Additionally, the bill allows for temporary suspension.

A licensing board or commission may temporarily suspend a license, certificate, registration or permit under circumstances as determined by the board or commission to be an immediate and clear danger to the public health and safety. Finally, the bill states the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs shall expunge the disciplinary record of a licensee, registrant, certificate holder or permit holder, if the imposition of discipline was for a violation involving failure to complete continuing education requirements or practicing for six months or less on a lapsed license, registration, certificate or permit, subject to conditions. Read the full language of the bill at: http://bit.ly/2FAJu42.


FDL Joins Selected Independent Funeral Homes' Preferred Partner Program

Funeral Directors Life is proud to announce that the company has recently been chosen to join Selected Independent Funeral Homes' Preferred Partner Program at the Preneed Level.

"We are honored to be named as a Preferred Partner for Selected Independent Funeral Homes," said Kris Seale, President and CEO of Funeral Directors Life. "Both Funeral Directors Life and Selected are focused on helping independent funeral homes succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace."

Funeral Directors Life is a preneed life insurance company founded by funeral directors to serve funeral directors and remains true to its roots in the funeral profession. The company strives daily to help funeral homes increase profitability, streamline processes, and save valuable time.
Source: Funeral Directors Life News Release, January 25, 2018

How Can You Make an Impact When It Comes to Distracted Driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were over 2,000 injuries, with 37,461 resulting in deaths, in 2016 due to distracted driving. Annually the death toll is rising 5-8 percent.

What are you doing to keep your employees safe? To help business owners make an impact, Federated Insurance is introducing a Drive S.A.F.E.R (reinforce) initiative in 2018. The objective is to reinforce the Drive S.A.F.E. message with the additional employee training provided.

Nothing is more important behind the wheel than the task of driving.

Federated's Drive S.A.F.E.R initiative begins April 2018. Contact your local marketing representative for more information at www.federatedinsurance.com.
Source: Federated Insurance, February 2018


Scranton Funeral Director Facing New Tax Charges

Al Hughes, owner of Thomas J. Hughes Funeral Home and Eagen-Hughes Funeral Home, and split ownership of McGoff-Hughes Funeral Home and Davies & Jones Funeral Chapel, has been charged with "four counts of subscribing to a false tax return." Prior to these charges, Hughes was accused of stealing $1.25 million from his partners.
Source: The Scranton Times-Tribune, February 3, 2018


PFDA Office Closed

The PFDA office will be closed on Friday, March 30, 2018 in observance of Good Friday and will reopen on Monday, April 2, 2018.


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.

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 5th at 10:15am.

The annual Service Awards Ceremony will take place during the PFDA Annual Convention on Tuesday, June 5th at 9:30am.

Forms for the events listed above are enclosed.


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, presented by various speakers, for 2 CEU's and How Boomers Are Changing the Funeral Profession, presented by Josh McQueen, Passare, for 1 CEU (pending approval).


Darla C. Thomas, 79, of Oakdale, passed away on January 23, 2018. She was a Licensed Funeral Director at Thomas-Little Funeral Service, Inc., Oakdale, PA.

Wanda L. Berger, 82, of Harrisburg, passed away on February 16, 2018. She was a PA Licensed Funeral Director. Wanda is survived by her daughter, Marianne E. Corl, Licensed Funeral Director and Supervisor at W. Orville Kimmel Funeral Home, Harrisburg, PA; and her grandson Nathan Minnich, Vice President & Licensed Funeral Director at Hoover-Boyer Funeral Homes, Inc, Elizabethville and Millersburg, PA.

Ralph W. Roseboro, 79, of Reinholds, passed away on February 17, 2018. He was a Licensed Funeral Director at Roseboro Funeral Home in Denver, PA.

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