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July/August 2018 Reporter

July/August 2018

Dear Members,


The Importance of Documents

Lawyers love paper. You should too because if you don't have it documented, it didn't happen. I bring this to your attention in the context of caring for the deceased. i.e. If you are embalming, then complete and retain an embalming report. If you aren't embalming, then document what did happen including a chain of custody. This should include who brought the deceased to the funeral home and when and from where. Identify the deceased as soon as they arrive at the funeral home and the time of arrival. Indicate all functions performed on the deceased, who washed, disinfected, did the hair, dressed, placed in the casket or container, when the remains left the funeral home, where they went and who took them. These are basic standards of care and excellence and should be followed in every case. Mike Nicodemus, NFDA expert and funeral director says "[T]he more you document, the less likely you'll make an attractive defendant." I agree.

Source: Kathy Ryan, Esquire, PFDA Executive Director

Cremation Authorizations

For those of you who attended Mike Nicodemus' presentation at the recent PFDA convention, you know that he referenced a clause that should appear in every cremation authorization. This clause assures that the individual signing is giving accurate information without omissions and further provides the funeral home and crematory with indemnification in the event of a problem. PFDA's Comprehensive Form for Cremation Authorization already contains this information. It can be found under the www.pfda.org under legal forms. However, if you prefer, you can add the relevant language to the cremation authorization form you use.

"The Authorizing Agent acknowledges that the Funeral Home and Crematory are relying upon the representations being made by the Authorizing Agent in this authorization. The Authorizing Agent certifies that all of the information and statements contained in the Authorization are accurate and no omissions of any material fact have been made. The Authorizing Agent agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Funeral Home and the Crematory, their officers, directors, employees and agents from any and all claims, demands, actions, causes of action or suits of any kind or nature whatsoever, including, but not limited to, any legal fees arising out of or resulting from the Funeral Home's and the Crematory's reliance on or performance consistent with the directions, statements, representations and agreements contained in the Authorization."
Thanks to Mike Nicodemus and NFDA for this helpful hint.

Source: Kathy Ryan, Esquire, Executive Director

FTC Tweaks Funeral Rule Enforcement Process

The FTC recently announced that upon request, an establishment that receives a letter stating they have been found in violation of the Funeral Rule, can get the names of the employee(s) that were shopped by the undercover person.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, June 11, 2018


PA Department of Welfare Guidelines on Spend-Down and Excess Funds

DPW recently published a question and answer document to help with the most asked questions about Medicaid Spend-Down and Excess Funds. For more information on the document go to: http://www.pfda.org/medicaidspenddown-excessfunds/.

Increase in PA Death & Fetal Death Certificate Fees

The PA Department of Health (DOH) sent out two notices outlining the increase in fees for
Death Certificates and Fetal Death Certificates that are issued by the Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries or by a local registrar.

As of August 21, 2018, the fee for all death certificates and fetal death certificates will be $20. Through August 20, 2018, the fees will remain $20 for certificates issues by the Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries and $6 for death certificates issued by the local registrar.

Harrisburg Arthritis Foundation Office Has Closed

The Arthritis Foundation office that was located in Harrisburg is closed. All memorial mail is to be sent to Arthritis Foundation, PO Box 344, Enola, PA 17025-0344. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Waksmunski at dwaksmunski@arthritis.org.


What Is SecurChoice

If you've been a funeral professional in Pennsylvania for any length of time, you've probably heard about SecurChoice, but you may not know exactly what it is. Actually, a lot of people I talk to don't know about all of the options offered through SecurChoice. I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a little bit about how SecurChoice came to be and how we are helping funeral home owners get more out of their preneed programs every day. Read more at bit.ly/WhatIsSecurChoice.

Source: Donna Centofanti, Director of Sales & Marketing, SecurChoice


Star Tribune names Federated Insurance a 2018 Top 150 Workplace

Federated Insurance has been named one of the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota by the Star Tribune. Produced by the same team that compiles the 27-year-old Star Tribune 100 report of the best-performing public companies in Minnesota, Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction. The analysis included responses from over 71,000 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations.

Federated Insurance was ranked ninth on the large company list.

Source: Federated Insurance News Release, June 22, 2018


Bucks County Funeral Director Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Clients

David Faust, owner of Faust Funeral Home, Hulmeville, admitted he stole almost $300,000 from clients who had prepaid for their funerals by forging their death certificates, even though they were still alive. He also pleaded guilty to collecting $100,00 in Social Security disability benefits illegally. Also, Faust pleaded guilty to theft by deception, forgery, tampering with public records, and other crimes, including misdemeanor charges of identity theft.

Faust faces a maximum prison term of 71 years when he is sentenced.

Source: Philly.com, June 6, 2018


Congratulations to Our New President

Stephanie L. Doriguzzi, was installed as the 2018-2019 PFDA President, at the Board of Governors Installation Dinner on June 6, 2018.
Stephanie is a 2006 graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where she received the William J. Musmanno award for excellence in embalming and the Mu Sigma Alpha Award in outstanding academic efficiency. She is also a 2007 graduate of Point Park University where she received her bachelors' degree in Funeral Management.

Stephanie became a licensed funeral director in 2008 and is currently the supervisor at the Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., Turtle Creek location. She has been a Certified Celebrant since 2006 and has been a PA Licensed Insurance professional since 2010.

In 2011 Stephanie was elected to sit on the Allegheny County Board of Trustees and served as their President in 2014. Also, in 2011, she was selected to serve on the Pursuit of Excellence Committee for the National Funeral Directors Association which was a three-year term. Stephanie was one of two funeral directors in Pennsylvania selected to attend the NFDA's Meet the Mentors program at Harvard University in August of 2011. In June of 2012, Stephanie, was sworn in as the District II Governor, serving Allegheny County, on the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Board of Governors.

In 2012 Stephanie married her husband, Dustin Despot, and they have since had a daughter and a son.

Congratulation to Our New Officers

David V. Peake, Jr. was installed as the 2018-2019 President-Elect for PFDA and Frank Kapr was installed as the 2018-2019 Secretary-Treasurer for PFDA, at the Board of Governors Installation Dinner on June 6, 2018.

David V. Peake Jr., is a 1998 graduate of Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS). He also attended Springfield Township High School and Kutztown University prior to going to PIMS. After mortuary school, he served his apprenticeship with the Givinsh Family Funeral Homes. After which he went to work at Robert L. Mannal Funeral Home, in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia, where he continues to work. In 2012 Mannal acquired Craft Funeral Home of Erdenheim, and David is the current Supervisor for that Funeral Home. He has served the Philadelphia Local Funeral Directors Association as a Board Member (2010-2013), Vice President (2013-2015), and President (2015-2017). Over the last three years David represented the Philadelphia Funeral Directors Association as their District Governor for District 8. He lives with his wife Abbey and their three children Greyson, Olivia and Sawyer in Flourtown. David is very active in many local associations in the five county Philadelphia region.

Frank Kapr, CFSP, is a lifelong native of Scottdale. He is a graduate of the former Immaculate Conception High School, Connellsville, the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science and received his Associates Degree from Point Park University, Pittsburgh.
He is the President/Owner of Frank Kapr Funeral Home, Inc., Scottdale. Accomplished achievements for the Funeral Home include: Five-time recipient of the National Funeral Directors Associations Eagle Award and recently the Golden Eagle Award for outstanding services by the Funeral Home and its staff. Funeral related memberships for Frank are as follows: member, past President and present board member of the Westmoreland, Indiana and Armstrong Counties Funeral Directors Association. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania State and the National Funeral Directors Associations. He was the recipient of the Tribune Review "Quest for The Best" in Funeral Homes in the Scottdale, Mt. Pleasant areas and recently was awarded the "Silver and Bronze" awards for the best Funeral Home in Westmoreland County, PA through its subscribers.

Frank assisted in the recovery and identification process of the devastating crash of US Air
Flight # 427, in Hopewell Township, near the Pittsburgh International Airport, September 8, 1994 and the terrorist crash of United Airlines Flight #93 in Shanksville, PA., Somerset County, September 11, 2001. Frank has been a member of the Glenn Gelder Foundation for Mass Fatality Preparedness since June 2003.

Frank is married to Rhenee Gadd Kapr and resides above the Funeral Home with their pet "Yorkie" Rylee.

Congratulations to PFDA's New District Governors

The new District Governors to the PFDA Board are: P. David Newhouse (District 3) and Aaron Pietryka, (District 5).

Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association Visits PIMS

Members from Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association (PFDA) recently visited Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS). PFDA scheduled the visit to speak to the upcoming graduating class. As well, they provided lunch for the students following their presentation.
Staff members, Mrs. Kathy Ryan, executive director and legal counsel; Mr. James Eirkson, assistant executive director; and PFDA President Mrs. Stephanie Doriguzzi were on hand to speak with the students.

An informative program on membership benefits and legal matters were discussed with the students. The staff answered numerous questions and socialized with the students during lunch following the program.

PFDA's 137th Convention & Expo

The 2018 Annual Convention and Expo was held in June at Kalahari Resorts in Pocono Manor,PA. Again, our exhibitors enjoyed the large space and having everyone in one room. The board members, local associations, past presidents and exhibitors' generous donations to the Silent Auction, helped us to raise more than $5,300 for the PFDA Funeral Service Action Fund and Building Fund. Winner of the cash prize drawing was Frank Kapr.

The 2019 Convention will be held at Kalahari Resorts again from June 2-5, 2019

PFDA Welcomes New Members

Join PFDA in welcoming our newest member: Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Ulysses.

PFDA Office Closure

The PFDA office will be closed on Monday, September 3, 2018 for the Labor Day holiday. The office will re-open on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.


2018 District Meetings

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. Locations and dates can be found on the PFDA website at http://www.pfda.org/2018_fall_districtmeetings/. A registration form is enclosed.

OSHA Sessions

PFDA in conjunction with the Indiana Funeral Directors Association will be hosting three OSHA Teleconference Sessions. The dates and times are: October 5 at 10am, October 12 at 3pm, and October 19 at 3pm. You only need to attend one of the three sessions to receive 1 CEU, which has been approved in PA. More information to follow.


Harold J. Hoffman, 88, of Lowville, NY, died on June 5, 2018 at Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility. He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Wessel, a PA licensed funeral director at Ferguson Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., Belle Vernon.

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