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November 2013

Dear Members,

Members: We'll Take Care of It. PFDA has a simple formula: we exist solely to take care of our members and we will continue to work every day to provide the wide range of services our members need. We consider it a privilege to be your voice for the funeral service profession at the state and federal levels. We are fortunate to have such a skilled and dedicated staff that cares about our members. And, we pledge to continue to actively solicit and use our members' input and suggestions to improve our services to our members.

PFDA membership year is January 1 – December 31, 2014. Membership Renewal notices will be mailed in late-November. Please take advantage of our safe and quick online renewal method by logging in at www.pfda.org. Should you have any questions, please contact Sue Bertsch, membership coordinator, at 1-800-692-6068 or email sue@pfda.org.
We appreciate your continued support and look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Increase in Licensee Fees The biennial renewal fee for all classes of licensees of the State Board of Funeral Directors will increase from $325 to $400 effective for renewal in February 2014.

Timeframe to File a Death or Fetal Death Certificate Some Registrars have been telling funeral directors the 96 hour rule does include weekends. This is incorrect information. Act 101 of 2012 had a significant change regarding the timeframe to file a death or fetal death certificate and it is 96 hours or four (4) business days, rather than calendar days. We have confirmed with Vital Records that there has been no change to Act 101 of 2012.

Social Security Lump-Sum Death Benefit We had a question recently about the basic eligibility criteria for payment from Social Security. The lump-sum death benefit of $255 is payable upon the death of a person who has worked long enough to be insured under Social Security. It is made payable to a spouse or child meeting specific requirements. The lump-sum payment cannot be paid to funeral homes or estates for funeral expenses. For further information visit http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/details.

Update: Electronic Death Certificate Registration Vital Records is doing some initial connectivity testing and once that is done, they will be making any necessary changes to the system. Source: Debra Romberger, Director of Vital Records

The Gelder Foundation The Gelder Foundation, established by the PFDA in coordination with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and others, provides continuing education to our members and also education and training for funeral directors who have volunteered for response teams who may have to deal with mass casualty incidents and disasters in Pennsylvania. Joseph Tomon and Dean Wetzler are the co-chairmen of the Gelder Foundation.

We need to update the volunteer information in the PFDA database and compile a ready list of members capable of responding, if needed. If you want to be a member of the PFDA response team, please complete the enclosed Gelder Foundation information form and return it to PFDA. A volunteer listed in the database does not mean you must be available to help. If you are called to volunteer, you have the option to participate or not based on your availability and commitment required.

2013 Golf Benefit Results With the addition of $11,889 in proceeds from its 10th Annual Benefit Golf Classic held during the Annual Convention in June, and Highmark Blue Shield's match of dollar-for-dollar, PFDA has raised a total of $231,685 for The Highmark Caring Place. PFDA President F. Glenn Fleming presented this year's donation to Caring Place's Tracy Bowling on October 16 at the Board of Governors meeting. Once again, a big "Thank You" to everyone – the golf committee, players and sponsors – for their support of this year's golf classic.

We Need your Help! Please show your support for Pennsylvania's veterans and active duty personnel and participate with us in Wreaths Across America. This is a wonderful public relations opportunity for you to take advantage of with the veterans' groups and their families in your community. You can transport your area veterans and their families by bus or bring them by van/automobile to this special remembrance ceremony. Start now to invite them to a beautiful ceremony they will talk about long after they return home.

Enclosed is a copy of the program. The ceremony is expected to last about an hour. Funeral directors along with veterans and their family members, state legislators, representatives of state veterans' organizations, dignitaries, among others, will attend this special ceremony held in the State Capitol Rotunda, on Monday, December 9, at 12:00 Noon.

Final Reminder: Hazard Communication Training by December 1, 2013 The first deadline in the implementation of the OSHA revised Hazard Communication Standard is December 1, 2013, the date by which employers must train workers on new label elements and safety data sheets. OSHA's Hazard Communication website at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html has Quick Cards and OSHA briefs to assist employers with the required training.

Inspections of Funeral Homes The State Board of Funeral Directors has adopted a Statement of Policy regarding inspections of funeral homes. Routine inspections will not occur more than once every 270 days. The outside range of 540 days is directory and not mandatory. New business inspections will ordinarily occur within 30 days of a request by the Board Administrator. Generally, inspections will be conducted only between Monday and Friday during the hours 8 am and 5 pm, excluding state holidays.

Inspections will be limited in scope to information required for an inspector to complete preapproved inspection forms. A follow-up inspection is limited to a review of the previously identified deficiency or noncompliant condition. Routine and follow-up inspections will be conducted without prior notice. However, an appointment may be scheduled for funeral homes
that are remote or isolated and an unscheduled inspection would consume an unreasonable amount of time if nobody is there when the inspector arrives at the funeral home. An appointment may also be scheduled if the funeral home is not open during regular business hours (Monday – Friday 8 am to 5pm). New funeral home inspections and closing inspections will be scheduled in advance.

Finally, the Statement of Policy also sets forth the possible courses of action in the event the inspector finds or suspects violations in the conduct of an inspection that are within or not within the scope of the Board inspection report form. Visit www.pfda.org/inspections/ to read or download a copy of the complete Statement of Policy related to inspections.

Preneed Contract Reports Sent to the Board Preneed contract reports submitted to the State Board by the funeral home are scanned to the funeral home's license. The regulation at 49 PA Code §13.224(e) provides who can get a copy of the report as follows:
Parties privy to the contract
Heirs of the deceased
Executors or administrators of the estate of the deceased
Courts of competent jurisdiction
The State Board of Funeral Directors


February 11 – 13

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA

NEMACOLIN: Pennsylvania's 5-star luxury resort on 2,000 acres in the Laurel Highlands in the Southwestern area of the state. Nemacolin offers elegant accommodations, restaurant collection, spa, indoor heated pool, Lady Luck casino, Heritage Court Shoppes, and many activities, including a tour of the amazing art collection. Visit www.nemacolin.com for details on this extraordinary resort.


Kenneth Gronback - a leading generational marketer/demographer
Kelly Terwisscha, CEO, TWC - funeral home designers/builders/renovators

These guys are good!


  • Learn about the implications about repositioning your business in this New Age in the New Year.
  • Then, go home with a new perspective & recommendations for strategic planning for your business & its future.
  • AND, treat your special Valentine to a special gateway!!!

Make Plans Now to Attend...Registration Brochure with details to follow with 6 CE credit hours pending.

New President and Officers of NFDA Robert L. "Robby" Bates, CFSP, CCO, of Bates Family Funeral Home in DeKalb, Texas, was installed as president of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) during its annual convention in October. Installed as officers were President-elect Robert "Rob" C. Moore IV, CFSP, CCO, of Moore's Home for Funerals in Wayne, NJ; Treasurer Bob Arrington, CCO, of Arrington Funeral Directors in Jackson, TN; and Secretary W. Ashley Cozine, CFSP, CPC, CCO, of Broadway Mortuary in Wichita, KN. Additionally, Scott B. Anthony, CFSP, CCO, of Anthony Funeral & Cremation Chapels, Webster, NY and Charles T. "Chuck" Bowman, CMSP, CFSP,CCO, of Horan & McConaty Funeral Service & Cremation, in Denver, CO, were installed as at-large representatives.

Affordable Care Act The IRS has launched a new Affordable Care Act Tax Provision website at www.IRS.gov/aca to educate individuals and businesses on how the health care law may affect them. The new home page has three sections, which explain the tax benefits and responsibilities for individuals and families, employers, and other organizations with links and information for each group. The site provides information about tax provisions that are in effect now and those that will go into effect in 2014 and beyond. Source: Federated Funeral Directors of America Comments Fall 2013.

FDA to Issue New Rule on Medical Device Identification – How Does It Affect Funeral Directors and Crematory Operators? In coming weeks the Food and Drug Administration will issue a final rule on medical device identification. For funeral service, the rule, once implemented, will make it easier for families that may believe that a pacemaker or defibrillator may have been faulty and caused or contributed to the death of their loved one to specifically identify the device and have it accurately examined by the manufacturer or other source for any problems related to its operation. We will keep you informed when the final rule is published and will make it available on the PFDA website.

In Memoriam

James B. Gaffney, 68, of Pen Argyl, died September 24, 2013, at his residence. He and his wife, Donna L. Gaffney, own and operated the James B. Gaffney Funeral Homes in Penn Argyl and Bangor.

William E. Martin, 57, of Mount Joy, died on October 17, 2013 at his residence. He was employed as a funeral director at The Sheetz Funeral Home, Inc., Mount Joy.

Ethel Persing Klett, 98, of Williamsport, died on October 23, 2013 at the Valley View Nursing Center, Montoursville. Mrs. Klett's daughter, Kathleen Ryan, is the PFDA General Counsel.

Harold L. Hunsinger, 74, of Williamsport, died November 2, 2013, at his home. His son, Bryan Hunsinger, is a funeral director at McCarty-Thomas in Hughesville.

The PFDA Officers & Board of Governors & Staff wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving

The association office will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, on Thursday,November 28, and Friday, November 29. The office will reopen on Monday, December 2.

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