divider image

March 2019 Reporter

March 2019

Dear Members,


NEW EVENT – Mentor Program

PFDA will be hosting a Mentor Program April 9-10, 2019 at the Eden Resort in Lancaster. This program is limited to 25 registrants and is open to all Funeral Directors age 40 or under or newly licensed in the last 5 years. All registrants must be registered by March 26, 2019. There is a flyer with additional information on this event, and registration form enclosed. More information can be found http://www.pfda.org.

Merril Hoge Celebrity Golf Classic for Children

Highmark Caring Place will be hosting their 25th Merril Hoge Celebrity Golf Outing for Children on Monday, May 20, 2019 at Southpointe Golf Club. A former or current Pittsburgh Steeler player or coach, or other celebrity will be joining each foursome. This event is held to raise awareness and funds for the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families.

For more information and to register for the event, contact Michelle Vargas at 412-544-1679 or michelle.vargas@highmark.com.

PFDA Annual Convention and Expo Save The Date!!!!

The 2019 PFDA Annual Convention and Expo will be held June 2-5, 2019 at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, Pocono Manor, PA. The member brochure will be mailed mid-March. You can find additional information at http://www.pfda.org. Hotel rooms can be booked now. To book online go to: https://staypa.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania#groupSignIn and use the Group Booking ID – 2698 when you are prompted and follow the on-screen instructions or call 1-877-KALAHARI (525-2427).

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 4th at 10:15am.

The annual Service Awards Ceremony will take place during the PFDA Annual Convention on Tuesday, June 4th at 9:30am.

Forms for the events listed above are enclosed.

2019 District Meetings – Save the Date

PFDA's Annual District Meetings will be held during the weeks of September 9-12 and September 16-19, 2019.


OSHA Civil Penalty Amounts Have Increased

As of January 23, 2019, OSHA's civil penalty amounts for violations of workplace safety and health standards have increased to adjust for inflation. New penalties for willful and repeat violations will be $132,598 per violation; serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements are $13,260 per violation; and failure to abate violations are $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date.

Source: OSHA Newsletter, January 17, 2019

Congratulations to PA's 2019 NFDA 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 Kelly Burkett, Mauk & Yates Funeral Home Inc., Altoona; Christina Elliott, Joseph Levine & Son Memorial Chapel, Trevose; Timothy McLoone, Joseph A. Fluehr III Funeral Home Inc., Richboro; Marie Sipler, Good Sipler Funeral & Cremation Centre, Reamstown; Linda Webb, William G. Neal Funeral Homes, Washington; and Marc Zmijowski, Leonard M. Pavlic Funeral Home Inc., Charleroi for being selected for this year's event being held March 10-12 in Atlanta.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, January 28, 2019

You Can Help Shape the National Board Exam

Every year the Board of Directors of the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards appoints funeral directors to serve one-year, voluntary appointments to the National Board Exam (NBE) Arts and NBE Sciences Committees. Appointees provide general oversight of the content of the licensing examination. This includes item development, with an ongoing mission to maintain and review items at various stages of the exam development process.

The committees are composed of licensed practitioners from across the country. It is important that the committee composition includes a wide range of demographics, including newly licensed professionals, so everyone who meets the requirements is encouraged to apply.

While this is a voluntary position, travel expenses are paid by The Conference. Previous experience in exam development is not required as training is provided.

To be considered for one of the NBE committees, please visit the following link for instructions on how to apply: https://theconferenceonline.org/exam-committee-interest/. The application deadline is March 13.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, February 18, 2019


Reviewing Reports of Vital Events for Completeness

To ensure the quality of data reported on Certificates (Reports) of Death (HlOS.143) and Reports of Fetal Death (HI0S.024), it is critical to follow existing policies and procedures regarding the completion and review of these reporting forms. This State Registrar Notice addresses responsibilities related to the filing of paper Certificates (Reports) of Death and Reports of Fetal Death.

Funeral Directors and Medical Certifiers: All reporting entities are reminded to complete each field. If a field is unknown or refused, it must be indicated as such instead of leaving the field blank. All certificates must include the name, signature and date signed of the funeral director and the
medical certifier.

Careful attention should be given to the following fields that are often erroneously left

Certificate of Death – Decedent's Education, Martial Status, Was ME/Coroner Contacted and Was an Autopsy Performed.

Certificate of Fetal Death – Principal Source of Payment, Date of Late Normal Menses, Plurality and Education.

Source: State Registrar Notice, January 30, 2019

EDRS Tip of the Month-Correcting a Duplicate Case Error

Correcting a duplicate case error requires two steps. The first step is to abandon the incorrect case and the second step is to override the duplicate error(s) in the correct case.

Step 1: Abandon the Incorrect Case - Go into the incorrect case. Next go to "Other Links," then to "Assign Status." Choose "New Special Status", next "Status" (to the right), and then at the pull-down menu choose "Abandon." Next enter in the reason. In most cases "Duplicate Entry" is an acceptable reason. Save and then close. You will see ABANDON in red at the top of your case in the status bar.

NOTE: Do not use relinquish to abandon a case. Relinquish is used to give up your access to the case only if you need to transfer it to another Funeral Home. Relinquish does not abandon the case.

Step 2: Override the Duplicate Errors - Go into the correct case and validate page. Then go to the "Decedent page." At the bottom of the page, you will see one or two errors referring to a duplicate case and duplicate social security number (only if a SSN was entered in the incorrect case). Place a check in each box and then choose "Save Overrides." The errors are now overridden but the yellow dot will remain. You may proceed to signing the case if you see "Personal Valid with Exceptions" in the status bar.


•The "Validate Page" button will validate the entire case not just the page you are on.
•The yellow dot will not be replaced with a green check when the case is overridden.
•Users that can override and abandon a case are Funeral Directors or Funeral Users; Coroners or Coroner Users and Medical Certifiers or Medical Facility Users.

Source: State Registrar Notice, February 13, 2019

Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors Board Meeting

The next State Board of Funeral Directors meeting will be March 13, 2019. All meetings are held at the PA Department of State, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110. The public session meeting starts at 10:30am. Agendas for each meeting can be found at https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/FuneralDirectors/Pages/General-Board-Information.aspx.


ACFDA New Trustees and Officers for 2019

On January 16, 2019, the Allegheny County Funeral Directors Association installed its Officers and new Board of Trustee members. The newly installed officers are: President: James E. Maksin, John F. Slater Funeral Home Inc., Brentwood; Vice-President: John Paul Lester, Boron Funeral Home, Carrick; Secretary: LeeAnn Sherman, Stephen M. Brady Funeral Home, North Side; and Treasurer: Rosemarie Carfagna Au, Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., Shadyside.

Also installed, to begin three-year terms on the Board of Trustees, are: Jaime D. Hahn, Hahn Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., Millvale; Edward P. Kanai, III, Edward P. Kanai Funeral Home, Greenfield; and Eric N. Sarokon, Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., Shadyside.

Source: ACFDA News Release, February 1, 2019

Luzerne County Funeral Directors Office Installation

On February 9, 2019 the Luzerne County Funeral Directors installed their Officers and new Board Members. The officers that were installed were: President for a 2nd Term: Michelle R. Piontek and Vice-President for a 2nd Term, Gregory P. Shanko. The newly installed Board members are: Three-Year Board Term, Bernard J. Piontek; Three-Year Board Term, Jeffrey J. Stock; and One-Year Board Term, Katherine M. Malig.


Reflecting on George H.W. Bush's Funeral: Key Lessons for Planning a Healing and Meaningful Funeral

From start to finish, George H.W. Bush's funeral was rich with ritual, tradition, symbols, and meaning. As Kris Seale thought about all of the planning that was involved in creating such an intricate and personalized tribute, he began to think about what we can learn and share with our families about what it takes to create a healing and meaningful funeral experience. As you meet with families, either in a preneed or at-need situation, you may be able to open up the conversation about the value of a funeral ceremony by talking about these elements and how they all came together to create a very meaningful celebration of life. These are key lessons that we can carry over into preneed or at-need planning! Read more at http://bit.ly/ReflectingOnBushFuneral.

Source: Kris Seale, President & CEO, Funeral Directors Life


Are Your Vehicles Prepared Inside and Out?

While it's true that a driver's skills, training, and experience are key to safety on the road, there's plenty that can be done before a vehicle leaves the garage to help a driver stay safe between Point A and Point B. Make sure all your vehicles are prepared -— inside and out -— for their intended use before you send employees out into traffic.

Ditch the distractions, keep it clean, and prepare for an emergency.

Get a grip, practice constant care, and watch for recalls.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, before you or your employees head out, make sure all your vehicles are ready for what the road has in store. You can read more at https://www.federatedinsurance.com/posts/risk-management-corner/vehicle-preparedness.

Source: Federated Insurance, January 15, 2019


PFDA Welcomes New Member

Join PFDA in welcoming our newest member: Allentown Cremation Services LLC, Orefield.


Lynn Rich, 78, of Madison, died on January 24, 2019, at Walnut Ridge Memory Care in Greensburg. She is survived by her husband, Ronald Rich, Sr., a PA licensed funeral director and owner operator of Beatty-Rich Funeral Home, Inc, Madison; and her son, Ronald (Tony) Rich, Jr., a PA licensed funeral director working at the family business.

Samuel Brodsky, 70, died on January 25, 2019. He was a PA licensed funeral director at Joseph Levine and Sons, Trevose.

Ruth F. Cooney, 55, of St. Marys, died on January 26, 2019. She is survived by her daughter, Michelle Muccio-Krise, a PA licensed funeral director and supervisor at Lynch-Green Funeral Home, St. Marys.

Tanya Marie LaValley, 44 of Newton, NJ, died on February 20, 2019. She is survived by her dad, Stanley Szpindor, previous owner of Szpindor Funeral Home, Trooper.

Mary Margaret Kukuchka, 92, of Eatonville, died on February 20, 2019. She is survived by her son Thomas, a PA Licensed Funeral Director and owner of Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home, Inc, Tunkhannock, and her grandson, Eric, also a PA Licensed Funeral Director, working at the family business.

Stanley W. Sawinski, Jr., 66, of Greensburg, died on February 21, 2019 in UPMC Shadyside. He was a PA Licensed Funeral Director at William F. Gross Funeral Home, Penn Hills.

Emory B. Fenstermacher, 83, of Kutztown, died on February 24, 2019 at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest. He was a PA Licensed Funeral Director and worked at Ludwick Funeral Homes, Inc., Kutztown and Topton.

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