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September 2013

Dear Members,

Certificate of Death Revision 07-2012 The Division of Vital Records is still finding older versions of the death certificate in circulation. These older versions do not capture all the required data items. An important notice will be sent shortly to all data providers – funeral directors, facilities, coroners/medical examiners, and local registrars to instruct them to use the revised certificate 07-2012. When the latest revision is not used, Item 35, which includes County of injury (applicable only to a reported injury), is often missing which results in a query to find out this information.

Older death certificate versions will be accepted up to September 30, 2013, as long as the county of injury information is legibly printed on the certificate by the coroner/medical examiner, funeral director, or local registrar.

After October 1, 2013, the Division of Vital Records will reject any death certificate that is filed on any other revisions other than the 07/2012 revision. If data providers are in need the Certificate of Death Revision 07-2012, contact the Vital Records Supply Unit by calling 1-800-842-5040, Options 6-1-3, or by email at ra-dh-dvrsupplies@pa.gov.
Source: Debra Romberger, Director of Vital Records.

Update: Electronic Death Registration Program The Department of Health Divisions of Statistical Registries and Division of Vital Records are fine tuning the Electronic Death Registration system (EDRS). The implementation schedule is still on course to begin with pilots in October 2013.
Source: Debra Romberger, Director of Vital Records

New Law Increases Direct Payments for Funeral Expenses Act 35, which took effect September 1, 2013, raises the cap for direct payment of bank and similar deposit accounts to the family of a Decedent from $3,500 to 10,000 to pay for funeral expenses, provided the accounts of the Decedent held by the banking institution do not exceed $10,000, and that there is proof that satisfactory payment arrangements have been made for funeral services.

The spouse, any child, the father or mother, or any sister or brother (in that order) of the Decedent may present a receipted funeral bill from the funeral director to the bank for payment. Act 35 makes the payment by the bank mandatory rather than discretionary.

In the case of Patient Care Accounts, the facility is authorized to pay up to $10,000 directly to a licensed funeral director for burial expenses for a deceased patient.

Funeral Supervisor of Multiple Establishments According to the State Board, if a funeral supervisor has been approved to supervise multiple establishments he/she has to obtain a separate funeral supervisor license for each funeral home.

Disinterment/Reinterment PermitA reminder that both the signature of the Cemetery Official certifying disinterment has been completed (Section B) and the signature of the Cemetery or Crematory Official (or representative of facility receiving donated remains) certifying that reinterment or other disposition of remains has been completed (Section C) is required prior to filing with the Local Registrar.

Reminder: Health Insurance Marketplace Notification Requirement A critical element of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is establishment of the Health Insurance Exchange in each state -- referred to as the state's Health Insurance Marketplace. The Exchange is intended to make insurance available to individuals who do not have access to health insurance through an employer, or whose insurance through their employer does not meet certain standards in terms of coverage or affordability.

By October 1, 2013, employers are required to provide written notice to all employees, regardless of benefit enrollment status, or full- or part-time status, about the federal and state health insurance Marketplaces (also known as "exchanges"). After October 1, 2013, employers will be required to provide the notice to new employees within 14 days of their hire date. Two separate notices are provided by the Department of Labor – one model notice for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees; and another model notice for employers who do not offer a health plan. Employers can distribute notices to their workers by first class mail or electronically. You do not have to provide a notice to eligible dependents of employees. For further information and to download the notices, visit http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/.

NEW LABEL 139 for Shipping Cremated Remains Via U. S. Mail Beginning August 26, 2013, the United States Postal Service (USPS) began placing "Label 139, Cremated Remains", a non-trackable label, on any cremated remains being mailed domestically or internationally. The new label will allow USPS to identify these packages during processing and transportation and ensure they are handled with care. Although, the label will not be required, it is highly recommended to increase visibility during USPS process and transportation. Currently, the sales person at the USP S service counter will apply Label 139. However, the label will soon be available for customers through the Postal Store at www.usps.com.

Reminder: Cremated Remains must be shipped using Priority Mail Express or Registered Mail [Priority Mail (excluding Critical Mail), First-Class Package Service or First-Class Mail Parcels].

Canada Changes Procedures for Screening Cremation Containers Transport Canada recently introduced regulatory changes that require the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to follow new procedures for screening cremation containers. These procedures are similar to what has been in effect and practiced by the U. S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for several years. Complete information about the new requirements can be found on the PFDA website at http://www.pfda.org/index.php?pID=485.

CANA's Annual Statistical Report The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) has reported that the annual number of cremations topped the 1 million mark in 2011, as 1,056,211 cremations were recorded out of 2.5 million deaths or 41.7%. According to CANA's final 2011 data, Pennsylvania had 50,430 cremations recorded out of 128,290 deaths or 39.3%. Preliminary 2012 numbers are 47,996 cremations recorded out of 123,832 deaths or 38.8%.

CANA estimates that the cremation rate in the U.S. will hit 43.2% in 2012. The five-year average growth rate is 1.79% and CANA estimates that in 2017, the national average will reach 48.8%.

Exciting New "Have a Talk of a Lifetime"sm Program We encourage you to participate in the "Have a Talk of a Lifetime" program, a national effort to inspire families to have conversations about life and what matters most. These discussions can help families make important decisions about how they wish to remember and honor the lives of their loved ones. The powerful "Have a Talk of a Lifetime"sm campaign is sponsored by the Funeral and Memorial Information Council.

Visit www.pfda.org/indexphp?pID=484 to download the promotion materials, including the important brochure, a video, four print ads designed to target different audiences, digital ads, press release and social media tools. FAMIC charges a one-time fee of $50 to download a print ready file for the brochure. All the other campaign materials that you can use are free.

You can use the materials in an outreach effort, such as in front of a group of senior citizens, and actually walk them through what it is all about. The brochure can be customized by adding the funeral home's logo and can be distributed to consumers or groups in the funeral home service area; it can also be displayed in the funeral home lobby. Please call PFDA at 1-800-692-6068 if you have any questions about using this program.

Do you have the 6 CE credits required to renew your license? NO?? ....Then we need to see you at:

Option #1: District Meetings – September 9-12 & 16-19 – 3 CE credits

Option #2: November 13 – Four Points Sheraton in Mars – 1-6 CE credits; or

Option #3: November 19 & 20 – J. Levine & Sons Memorial Chapel/Trevose – 3 CE credits each day; or

Option #4: December 3 – Holiday Inn/Grantville – 1-6 CE credits

 Don't renew your license without satisfying the CE requirements – you could be one of the FDs selected in a random audit by the State Board & where's your proof??

Results of 2013 NFDA General Price List Survey

Non-declinable basic services fee
2012 National Median Price* - $1,975
2009 National Median Price* - $1,817
% Change - 8.7%

Removable/transfer of remains to funeral home
2012 National Median Price* - $285
2009 National Median Price* - $250
% Change - 14.0%

2012 National Median Price* - $695
2009 National Median Price* - $628
% Change - 10.7%

Other preparation of the body
2012 National Median Price* - $225
2009 National Median Price* - $200
% Change - 12.5%

Use of facilities/staff for viewing
2012 National Median Price* - $400
2009 National Median Price* - $395
% Change - 1.3%

Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony
2012 National Median Price* - $495
2009 National Median Price* - $450
% Change> - 10.0%``

2012 National Median Price* - $295
2009 National Median Price* - $275
% Change - 7.3%

Service car/van
2012 National Median Price* - $130
2009 National Median Price* - $125
% Change - 4.0%

Basic memorial printed package
2012 National Median Price* - $150
2009 National Median Price* - $125
% Change - 20.0%

Subtotal without casket
2012 National Median Price* - $4,650
2009 National Median Price* - $4,265
%Change - 9.0%

Metal casket (average charge for the most frequently purchased item)
2012 National Median Price* - $2,395
2009 National Median Price* - $2,295
% Change - 4.4%

Average Cost of a Funeral with Casket
2012 National Median Price* - $7,045
2009 National Median Price* - $6,560
% Change - 7.4%

Vault (average charge for the most frequently purchased item)
2012 National Median Price* - $1,298
2009 National Median Price* - $1,195
% Change - 8.6%

Total with Casket & Vault
2012 National Median Price* - $8,343
2009 National Median Price* - $7,755
% Change - 7.6%

*Median Price - The amount at which half of the figures fall below & half are above. Prices have not been adjusted for inflation.

Survey Methodology: The survey was mailed to a random sample of 2,900 NFDA members on May 13, 2013 to gather GPL & other related data for January-December 2012. 406 members anonymously completed the survey (13.6% response rate). Source: NFDA press release August 1, 2013.

Children's Grief Awareness Day is November 21. In partnership with Highmark Caring Place, this special day is designed to remember the needs of grieving children and of the benefits that they obtain through the support of others. To learn about ways you can participate and to download free toolkit materials to use in your funeral home, local schools and your community visit the website www.childrensgriefawarenessday.org.

PFDA Welcomes New Employee We are pleased to announce that Jessica Schaufert has joined our team as an administrative assistant. She is a resident of Camp Hill, PA and a recent graduate of Penn State Harrisburg. She has replaced Sam Zema, who has left us to pursue a career in another industry. Please introduce yourself to Jess when you call the association office.

The new improved PFDA Caring Kit to give your client family members after the death of a loved one contains valuable information to help families through the grief process along with a list of additional reading materials appropriate to their loss.

The Caring Kit is designed as a 9" x 12" presentation folder with 12 pages of content. An inside front pocket in folder allows you to include 8 ½" x 11" materials of your own. There is space for your business card.
Cost: $5.00 each + shipping
Order: Online at www.pfda.org or call PFDA at 1-800-692-6068

-— Giving Comfort, Hope and Inspiration -—

"Letting the families you serve know that this resource booklet is a part of your continuing commitment to them. Letting them know that you hope that they will be encouraged by this information and that perhaps it will ease burdens in the months ahead."

In Memoriam

Mark Evan Brant, age 55, of Somerset, died in Tucson, Arizona on July 6, 2013. He was formerly employed as a funeral director at the Christman's Funeral Home in Lebanon.

Verdabelle Rowan Fuoss, age 88, formerly of Bellwood, died on August 11, 2013 at Garvey Manor Nursing Home, Hollidaysburg. She was the mother-in-law of Jack Russin, owner of the Jon C. Russin Funeral Home in Bellwood, and grandmother of Beth Russin Dickinson, a funeral director working in the family business.

Jackie Lee "Jack" Sackett, age 75, of Tioga, died on August 10, 2013 at the Samaritan House, Wellsboro. He was the father of Jackie Buckheit, owner and operator of the Buckheit Funeral Chapel and Crematory in Mansfield.

James Bube "Jim" Heilig, age 95, of Mount Joy, died on August 25, 2013 at Pleasant View Retirement Community, Manheim. He owned and operated the former James B. Heilig Funeral Home in Mount Joy.

Complete obituaries are available on the PFDA website at www.pfda.org

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