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April 2019 Reporter

April 2019

Dear Members,


Notice of the PFDA Annual Meeting

We invite you to attend PFDA's 2019 Annual Meeting and House of Delegates Meeting, which will be held at the annual convention on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, beginning at 9 a.m. at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Pocono Manor, PA. This meeting is for PFDA members.

At the meeting, members will vote on the following matters: the election of officers for 2019-2020 and the election of candidates nominated by their Local Associations for the position of District Governor. If you have any questions, please call the PFDA office at 800-692-6068.

(1) Election of the following slate of officers for 2019-2020:

For the Position of President:
David V. Peake, Jr., Craft Funeral Home, Inc.

For the Position of President-Elect:
Frank Kapr, Frank Kapr Funeral Home, Inc.

For the Position of Secretary/Treasurer:
Bruce Parthemore, Parthemore Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc.

(2) Election of candidates nominated by their Local Association District Governor:

District 6
Steven R. Kreamer, Kreamer Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

District 7
James N. Rigby, III, J. Nelson Rigby Funeral Home, Inc.

District 9

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. There is a flyer with additional information on this event, and registration form enclosed. More information can be found http://www.pfda.org.

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. There will be 7 credits of continuing education offered at convention. 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.

Northeast Funeral Service Partnership (NY, NJ, MA, CT, PA)

The five State Funeral Associations that form the Northeast Funeral Service Partnership, are working on getting their upcoming continuing education events approved in each of the other partnering states. A list of upcoming CEU's in the other states can be found at: http://www.pfda.prg/pfda-upcoming-events/

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. The continuing education seminars will be: The Secret of Great Business Partnerships presented by George Foley for 1 CEU (pending approval) and Million Dollar Mistakes: Working Backward to Minimize the Risks of Mortuary Litigation presented by Emily Ann Albrecht for 2 CEUs (pending approval).


Radiation Protection Guidelines for Safe Handling of Decedents

The recent publication of a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Research Letter titled "Radiation Contamination Following Cremation of a Deceased Patient Treated with a Radiopharmaceutical" has raised concerns among NFDA members and others in the profession about potential exposure and risk. To that point, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and American College of Radiology (ACR) published the following statement: "Radioactive materials are used routinely in medical practice to improve human health. The risk of harm to the crematorium operator is so small that it cannot be measured."

Read the full statement here: https://www.radiologybusiness.com/topics/policy/aapm-acr-radioactive-cremation-radiopharmaceutical.

Many members are also seeking guidance about whether their existing policies and procedures for dealing with this potential exposure or risk are effective. The most up-to-date information from the medical community indicates that the risk of exposure is minimal and supports current handling guidelines.

To read the entire story go to: http://www.nfda.org/news/in-the-news/nfda-news.

Source: NFDA Special Bulletin, March 14, 2019

BRAVE Act Introduced in the US House and Senate

The Burial Rights for America's Veterans' Efforts (BRAVE) Act of 2019 (H.R. 497/S.598) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. NFDA is urging Congress to pass the legislation, which would ensure that veterans are treated equally, regardless of the circumstances at time of death or where the death occurs.

The BRAVE Act will improve existing death benefits for veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements. It helps ensure that non-service-connected deaths are treated equally, regardless of where a veteran's death occurs, and makes certain that death benefits are indexed for inflation, alleviating the need for further adjustments from Congress.

There is a $2,000 death funeral benefit for a service-connected disability. The BRAVE Act will index the benefit for inflation. The current $780 funeral benefit for a non-service-connected death in a VA facility will not change as it is already indexed for inflation. The current $300 funeral benefit for non-service-connected death not in a VA facility or in instances when a veteran has no next-of-kin would be increased to $780 (equal to a non-service-connected death in a VA facility) and indexed for inflation.

NFDA members can read the entire article at: http://www.nfda.org/news/nfda-publications/nfda-memorial-business-journal.

Source: Memorial Business Journal, March 7, 2019

NFDA's Cremation Business Practices Survey

Recently, NFDA published its 2019 Cremation Business Practices Study, which asked members about the challenges they are facing regarding cremation. This online survey is conducted by NFDA every two years, and almost three-fourths of respondents were the owner, principal or partner of their firm.

The survey questioned members on things like: What percentage of your cremations last year were, direct cremation, cremation with a memorial service (no viewing), casketed adult funeral viewing and cremation; Do you own a crematory or use a third-party crematory; Why do you think families select direct cremation; and Why is your cremation business successful?

The average cremation rate at these member respondents' firms is 48%, which compares with 44% of respondents in 2017 and 41% in 2015. NFDA members can read the about all the survey results at: http://www.nfda.org/news/nfda-publications/nfda-memorial-business-journal.

Source: Memorial Business Journal, February 28, 2019

2019 Funeral Service Foundation '45 Awards

Due to the increase in Major Gifts and Pledges, the Funeral Service Foundation has increased the dollars that will be awarded in 2019.

New this year, the Foundation will offer up to 10 scholarships to licensed funeral directors to attend the NFDA International Convention & Expo in Chicago in October. Scholarships will underwrite registration fees and three nights' lodging at a convention host hotel. More details to follow.

The Foundation '45 Awards also include 18 academic scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, which are available to students enrolled full- or part time in ABFSE-accredited programs. They will be accepting academic online scholarship applications from August 15-November 1 at FuneralServiceFoundation.org.

Source: Memorial Business Journal, February 21, 2019


Abandoning Versus Relinquishing Cases

EDRS contains features to abandon and relinquish cases. Although these features appear similar, they perform distinct functions within EDRS.

Abandoning a case is used to cease activity on a case when a case was created in error. By abandoning a case you signify to other EDRS users which case is still active and which case should not be used to report information on the death event. The abandon feature is only available while the case is unregistered. Once a case is started in EDRS, it cannot be deleted or removed. Abandoning the case is an available option to any end user from the facility that currently owns the case. Once a case has been registered, it must be voided by the Department of Health if it was entered in error.

Relinquishing a case is used to remove ownership of a case from the facility. A case can be relinquished by any end user from the facility that currently owns the unregistered case. Funeral Homes can only relinquish the Personal Information section and Medical Facilities can only relinquish the Medical Certification section of a case. After the case has been relinquished, another facility can take ownership.

More information and how to abandon and relinquish a case can be found here: http://www.pfda.org/_files/live/EDRS_Tip_of_the_Month_-_Abandoning_vs_Relinquishing.pdf.

Can I Charge to Place Cremated Remains in Jewelry?

Some funeral directors are being asked to place cremated remains into jewelry; sometimes multiple pieces. This is a time consuming and risky endeavor and some practitioners wish to charge for this service. The FTC has not ruled that this charge would be illegal at this time. However, if you intend to charge for this service, you should disclose such charges on your General Price List.

Source: Kathleen Ryan, Esquire, PFDA Executive Director

Grief Support Group for Young Adults

Highmark Caring Place, 3 Walnut Street, Lemoyne, will be hosting a six-week grief support group for young adults 18-30 years of age. The program will run from May 14th through July 16th from 6:00-7:30pm at the Lemoyne office. For additional information or to RSVP, contact Teri Bowling at 717-302-8402 or Terri.Bowling@highmark.com.

Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors Board Meeting

The next State Board of Funeral Directors meeting will be April 24, 2019. The June and August meeting dates have changed from June 6 to June 14, 2019 and August 28 to August 29. All meetings are held at the PA Department of State, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110, unless otherwise noted. 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.


The Bigger Concern

In funeral service, we often worry about cremation rates, shortfalls, prices, and new competition, but in this article, Paul Lovelace shares a bigger concern that trumps all of these issues: creating new value for the families we serve. Many funeral directors feel like they are fighting a losing battle with cremation rates, but this article gets to the root of the issue: the perceived value of a funeral. For funeral home owners who are focused on meeting the unique needs of today's consumers, the future is very bright. For everyone else, a bigger concern is lurking. In this article, Paul shares 5 ways funeral homes can begin offering new value to the families you serve. Read more at http://bit.ly/thebiggerconcern.
Source: Paul Lovelace, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Funeral Directors Life


Will Your Life Insurance Policy Die Before You Do?

Most business owners spend hours monitoring things like employee payroll, inventory management, and equipment maintenance. All get done because the consequences of ignoring them could be costly. What you may not realize is that your life insurance should be regularly reviewed and managed as well.

When was the last time you reviewed your life insurance program? Changes in interest rates, loans, or premium payments over the years can all impact the performance of a policy. You may not be aware of it, but a policy can lapse even if you've made all your premium payments. The reality is the average consumer doesn't have time to understand how their life insurance policy really works or how it's performing over time.

Read more of this article, along with how to begin a life insurance policy audit here: https://www.federatedinsurance.com/posts/its-your-life/policy-audits.

Source: Federated Insurance, February 2019 Educational Articles


PFDA Office Closed

The PFDA office will be closed on Friday, April 19, 2019 in observance of Good Friday and will reopen on Monday, April 22, 2019.


James P. Murtha, Sr., 64, of Uniontown, died on February 21, 2019. He is survived by his brother, John Murtha, a PA Licensed Funeral Director at the Kepple Graft Funeral Home, Greensburg.

Dr. George J. Dusckas, M.D., 100, of Millcreek Township, died on March 8. He is survived by his daughter, Karen Martin and son-in-law, Jack Martin, a PFDA Board Member and PA Licensed Funeral Director. Both are working in the family business at the Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home Erie. George is also survived by his niece, Nancy, a PA Licensed Funeral Director, working in the family business at both Dusckas Funeral Home locations in Erie and the Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home.

Bennett Goldstein, 86, died on March 12, 2019. He was a PA Licensed Funeral Director and the former president of Goldsteins' Rosenberg Raphael-Sacks, Philadelphia and Southampton. He is survived by two sons, Bruce and Carl, a brother Gabe and three grandchildren, Jason, Seth and Joshua, all PA Licensed Funeral Directors working in the family business.

Eugene J. Harrison, 90, of Archbald, died on March 22, 2019 at Allied Services, Scranton. He owned and operated the Harrison Funeral Home, Archbald. Eugene is survived by his sons Michael, John (PFDA Past President), and Patrick, all PA licensed funeral directors working in the family business.

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