- Attention GFDA Members -
NEW IN JUNE
Visit the sections below to view more information.
As this information is changing rapidly, we encourage you to bookmark this page and visit it often. Note, we have made the change to drop down windows for easier review.
You are encouraged to visit these and review the guidance, information, and links included.
GFDA closely monitors guidance and information regarding COVID-19.
Visit the drop down windows below and visit the live links.
Please note, sections have been updated to contain the most recent information and guidance for quick reference.
We encourage you to visit the links included in all drop down windows below.
For prior guidance, review our GFDA Alerts which have been sent via email to our Members or contact the GFDA office.
Click the titles below to open / close the drop down windows
GFDA Webinar - Monday, March 30, 2020
COVID-19 and Funeral Service
Our discussion included
GFDA received questions prior to and during the webinar, these were answered by our panelists and Dr. Kraft replied to many directly in the comments portion of the video.
Thank You to our Webinar Panelists
Dr. Colleen Kraft
Medical Director of Microbiology, Emory Medical Laboratories
COVID-19 Task Force
Patrick L. Bailey
Director of the Medical
DeKalb County, GA
GFDA President & NFDA Policy Board Member
Cy Hume, CFSP
A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home & Crematory
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Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.
May 28, 2020 in Atlanta, GA - Governor Brian Kemp, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Adjutant General Tom Carden, and Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Homer Bryson gave an update on Georgia's fight against COVID-19.
In this briefing he announced 2 new Executive Orders included to the right.
FUNERAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS SHOULD NOTE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS
Effective June 1, 2020 at 12:00 A.M. until June 15, 2020 at 11:59 P.M.
All residents and visitors of the State of Georgia shall:
Medically fragile and elderly Georgians are ordered to continue to shelter in place through June 12, 2020 at 11:59 PM.
Reporting of Issues of Non Compliance with Any of Governor Kemp’s Executive Orders
If you are reporting a possible violation of Governor Kemp’s Shelter in Place Order please contact:
For all non-urgent requests, please continue to contact Constituent Services through their online form found HERE.
COVID-19 Hotline: (844) 442-2681
The hotline can be used for asking about symptoms related to COVID-19, finding out if someone should get tested, reporting possible scams related to COVID-19, and alerting the state about non-compliant businesses.
On April 30, 2020 Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order renewing the Public Health State of Emergency, which will now terminate on June 12, 2020 at 11:59pm and requires that all medically fragile and elderly Georgians continue to shelter in place. On May 12, 2020 Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order, which will terminate on May 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm, requiring that all businesses, residents, and visitors of the State of Georgia practice social distancing and refrain from gathering in groups of ten (10) persons or more unless they are able to maintain a distance of six (6) feet or more between each other. Funeral Service professionals are encouraged to restrict gatherings of people to smaller numbers and strongly encourage people to wear masks and face coverings. The Board continues to encourage licensees to continue to support one another, be mindful of potential exposure, and use best practices to prevent infection and help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Click HERE for up to date information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To report issues of noncompliance with any of the executive orders you should call the state's hotline at 844-442-2681. The hotline can be used for asking about symptoms related to COVID-19, finding out if someone should get tested, reporting possible scams related to COVID-19, and alerting the state about non-compliant businesses.
Impact on National Board Testing
Pearson VUE resumed full testing on May 1, 2020, though there is limited test center capacity for scheduling to enforce social distancing. For the most up-to-date ICFSEB COVID-19 information click HERE, and for updates from Pearson VUE click HERE.
PSI test centers began reopening on May 1, 2020. Test sites will be opened where city, county, and state jurisdictions will allow, however, as the safety of candidates and PSI’s employees remain a top priority, sites will only be open for scheduling at 50% of their capacity in order to enforce social distancing procedures. PSI has also enacted a number of new policies surrounding enhanced sanitation procedures, allowable personal protective equipment for candidates, and flexible rescheduling. An outline of the steps being taken to ensure candidate and employee safety can be found HERE.
Board Office Operations Update
In response to Governor Kemp’s recommendation that state employees work remotely, the Professional Licensing Boards Division has implemented telework options for its staff. Effective March 16th, the Professional Licensing Boards Division will be closed to visitors. Constituents are encouraged to utilize web resources for online transactions and to answer frequently asked questions. For additional information you may contact the call center at 844-753-7825. Staff will be available to provide guidance by email.
A Message from PLB
We are all in uncharted territory with the global onset of COVID-19. Many positives arise during times of crisis; however, some see a crisis as an opportunity to scam, mislead, and take advantage of individuals.
Our office has learned that misinformation about licensing is being disseminated in an effort to exploit and create fear in our licensees and others.
Please stay alert. Be informed. Rely on the resources that you know are trustworthy for information and confirmation. This is one way to avoid being taken advantage of.
If you hear or are included in a discussion about possible license revocation, suspension, deactivation, or exorbitant fines, please verify what you are hearing. Contact the Professional Licensing Board to report this. Visit the Board’s website for correct and accurate information.
We want you to be safe. We want you to know the facts about licensing, now and always. Your Professional Licensing Board and staff are here to help.
Expanding COVID-19 Testing in Georgia
Effective immediately, free COVID-19 testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. Call your local health department to schedule an appointment at a location near you. More information may be found HERE.
Contact your Department of Public Health Office to inform them of your PPE needs.
It is important to contact your county’s office directly to inquire about their capabilities to issue death certificate and local mandates or orders which may affect your business.
In addition, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, with the assistance of the Georgia Department of Public Health, continues to request PPE supplies through the Federal system. To notify officials of your PPE needs:
Request for Status of Morgue Bed Availability
Facilities with morgues have been asked by the Department of Public Health (PDH) to update their morgue bed availability status daily by visiting the Morgue Availability Reporting Tool- for emergency use HERE. This is the morgue bed availability reporting tool used to report daily availability, normal and surge capacities, location and points of contact which can be completed on a phone, laptop or desktop computer. The information collected may be used by emergency managers to help support each other during these turbulent times.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING COVID-19
Greetings from the State Office of Vital Records,
We understand that many other offices have closed, or limited their functions to essential services due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
For Vital Records, we would consider the top priority essential services to be 1) Issuing disposition permits, and 2) registering death records. We believe that these functions can largely be accomplished through e-mail, fax, or online through GAVERS.
A secondary priority would be issuing certified copies of birth and death records. If a county has access to their facility in order to print records, we ask that they consider issuing certificate orders by mail. That will limit the visitors to the building, but still allow customers to receive their certificates.
Lastly, good communication will be crucial during this time. We ask that county registrars communicate any changes in local operations to stakeholders like funeral directors, coroners, and birth hospitals. Please be alert for any additional communications from Georgia DPH and the State Office of Vital Records. We will share more information as it becomes available. The response to COVID-19 is changing rapidly, and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation.
Additional Information from Chris Harrison, MPH, Georgia State Registrar, Deputy Director.
Generally speaking COVID-19 should not be on line A. If COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death it would be listed on the lowest line used of lines A-D. In the attached guidance document that we sent there was screenshot that showed COVID-19 listed on line B (it doesn’t seem to have the screenshot in the scan you sent). None of the guidance we have sent or shared from the CDC has COVID-19 on the first line.
The way to think of the cause of death lines is:
The patient died of Line A, which was cause by Line B, which was caused by Line C, which was caused by Line D.
A sequence for a COVID-19 death could be something like:
acute respiratory failure (line A), which was caused by pneumonia (line B), which was caused by COVID-19 (line C).
If COVID-19 were listed on the first line, it would mean the COVID-19 was caused by acute respiratory failure, which doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t be accurate.
Chris Harrison, MPH
Deputy Director, Data Integrity & Analytics
State Office of Vital Records
Georgia Department of Public Health
Visit HERE for a printable version and to utilize the links included.
CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is available for urgent consultation at 770-488-7100
Guidelines and Information
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemeteries
New Procedures at VA National Cemeteries due to COVID-19
Dear Funeral Directors:
All Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemeteries are open and will continue to provide interments for Veterans and eligible individuals. However, the National Cemetery Administration is continuing to adjust its services in light of the best practices urged by the CDC in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. As a result, on Friday, March 20, NCA will only conduct committal services at our 142 cemeteries nationwide for groups of 10 or fewer people. Larger groups will be asked to reduce their numbers or be refused service. We appreciate your continued support in communicating and reinforcing this direction.
In addition, families should know that volunteer veterans honor guards may no longer be providing services at all cemeteries.
Starting March 23, 2020, as a matter of public health and safety, committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors, whether by military personnel or volunteer organizations, will not be conducted until further notice at VA national cemeteries. Immediate family members (limited to no more than 10 individuals) of the deceased may choose to witness the interment if desired. There is no service involved with witnessing an interment. Families will be able to view the interment of their loved one from a safe distance.
We are asking for your assistance in communicating the changes in operations to families that have interments scheduled and contact honors providers to cancel their services. Please contact the national cemetery where the interment is scheduled as soon as possible if the family wishes to postpone the interment. NCA will work to schedule a committal or memorial services at a later date for those families that choose to continue with the direct interment or postpone the interment.
The National Cemetery Scheduling Office in St. Louis will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency. To schedule a burial, please call 800-535-1117, option 1.
Our cemeteries will remain open to visitors, but we strongly urge all guests to obey local travel restrictions and avoid unnecessary travel. Visitors should expect that certain portions of a cemetery typically open to the public may be closed (for example, public information centers, chapels). Please contact the local cemetery for more information.
As warranted, NCA will provide updates on the operating status of individual national cemeteries on our social media pages: https://www.facebook.com/NationalCemeteries and https://twitter.com/VANatCemeteries
For more information about the government’s response to COVID-19 please visit: https://www.coronavirus.gov
Visit Situation Update: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for information including the following and more. :
The CDC Coronavirus Guidance for Funeral Directors has been broken out into different sections for easier navigation. Please use the links below or the side menu on the left to navigate to the section you need to access. Information will be updated on these pages as soon as it is available.
President Trump Unveils Guidelines for Opening Up America Again - Visit HERE to view the guidelines.
Senate Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Economic Relief Plan for Individuals, Businesses
By a 96-0 vote, the U.S. Senate has approved a $2 trillion economic relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide emergency assistance to workers, families, small businesses and distressed industries.
The House will take up the measure on Friday in a voice vote to protect members from exposure, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland).
Key points concerning small businesses include:
Forgiveness for Small-Business Loans to Keep Employees
The bill creates a “paycheck protection program” for small employers, self-employed individuals and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the pandemic. The paycheck protection program would provide eight weeks of cashflow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small employers that maintain their payroll during this emergency.
If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covering payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from the crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.
Small-Business Contractors Also Get Protection
Federal agencies would be required to extend contract performance periods and promptly pay small-business contractors impacted by COVID-19.
For six months, the Small Business Administration is required to pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504 and Microloan programs.
The bill requires that the SBA enact these programs with regulations no later than 15 days after the act is signed into law.
Providing more cash flow to businesses and incentives to keep employees on payroll is a much-needed life support program for the economy.
Click here to learn more about the Senate CARES bill tax provisions.
Click here to learn more on the Senate CARES bill’s unemployment provisions.
Click here to learn more on the Senate CARES bill’s provisions for distressed industries.
Your government is open and working for you, but it’s not business as usual. Many state organizations are involved in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and are working on related efforts or have made temporary changes during this serious health emergency. Here’s what you should know about the state’s most-accessed services.
Click HERE for more information.
Support for Businesses
Small Business Loans
Application for small business emergency loans now open. Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), making it possible for small business owners and non-profit organizations in all 159 Georgia counties to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The application is now live, and Georgia small business owners can go directly to the SBA for assistance and information.
Paycheck Protection Program
Loans to help small businesses retain their employees. The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. For additional information, including eligibility and requirements, visit the Paycheck Protection Program page on the SBA website.
Government Operations and Public Participation
Department of Revenue temporarily suspending in-person services. Tax filing and payment deadline extended to July 15.
IRS extends tax filing and payment deadline to July 15 and introduces additional tax relief measures.
Detailed information not yet available. No action required by most people.
Georgia Presidential Primary postponed until May 19. Voting by absentee ballot strongly encouraged.
Complete your Census 2020 form online, by phone or by mail to ensure a U.S. Census Bureau employee does not have to visit your home.
General Assembly suspends Legislative Session.
April 7 session rescheduled for May. Filing deadlines tolled through April 13.
IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE, CLICK THE 'COVID-19 STATE SERVICES LINK ABOVE TO VIEW
THE NUMEROUS RESOURCES AND OPTIONS AVAILABLE.
We are working to update this page with specific items for you. We appreciate your patience.
Click on the graphics on the left to download the files.
GFDA is pleased to provide everyone in the funeral service profession with the information and resources that are critical to their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve found the complimentary information useful, consider how GFDA’s exclusive member benefits could be beneficial to your business year-round. To become a member or learn more, visit JOIN GFDA or contact the GFDA office, 770-592-8002.
Charlie Watts served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 14 years. During his term of service, Charlie had an unparalleled rise to a position of leadership in the House of Representatives, serving as Chairman of the Banks and Banking Committee, and as a member of the rules committee and the Appropriations Committee. Charlie has earned the trust and respect of his fellow legislators, on both sides of the aisle, and of state department heads.
Charlie Watts, GFDA Lobbyist, closely monitors all legislative matters and provides continual legislative updates to the GFDA Executive Committee, Legislative Committee, and our Membership. Our Legislative Committee Members are Chairman Ted Bearden, Richard Stanley, Barry Henderson, GFDA President Bill Hightower, and GFDA President-elect Rob Roberson.
Our legislative updates are posted weekly in this section and sent via GFDA Alert.
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The GFDA Executive Committee and Legislative Committee want to hear your thoughts. Please take a moment to visit the links below to view the bills. We encourage you to send your thoughts to email@example.com.
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 18 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to funeral directors and establishments, embalmers, and crematories, so as to remove certain crematory requirements as to retorts and to provide for an alternative cremation process; to provide for and change a definition; to provide for conforming amendments; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 48 of the O.C.G.A., relating to general provisions regarding specific, business, and occupation taxes, so as to eliminate gross receipts as a criterion for classifying businesses and practitioners for purposes of calculating the occupation tax levied by local governments; to remove inapplicable references; to require that the proceeds of local government regulatory fees be used to pay for regulatory activity and not general operations; to remove provisions authorizing calculation of regulatory fees for new construction, renovation, and other construction projects; to remove provisions authorizing alternative occupation tax rates for practitioners of certain professions and occupations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Notice From The Federal Trade Commission Regarding Complying With The Funeral Rule
The FTC Southeast Regional Office has requested our assistance in notifying GFDA members of this information. Review it carefully and be aware they are making visits to funeral homes across the state.
Please review the letter and copy of the Federal Trade Commission's guide "Complying with the Funeral Rule". The information is provided to assist funeral providers in complying with the Rule. Please share the information with all funeral directors and staff in your funeral home. Failure to comply with the Rule may result in civil penalties, which have recently increased at the direction of Congress to $40,654 per violation effective January 24, 2017.
If you have any questions, please contact the Federal Trade Commission's Southeast Regional Office at FTCFuneralRule-SER@ftc.gov.
Click the company logos below for more information about the specific services, programs, and prices they offer to our Members. We encourage you to contact your local representative to meet your business needs.
The GFDA Job Alert is provided as a service to members; it has helped place a number of professionals around the state.
Listings can be "open" with full detail and contact information, or "closed" with information forwarded. All information provided to GFDA is permanently confidential. The service also provides information, if requested, on individuals seeking positions.
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Mowell Funeral Home and Cremation Service is a family owned and operated company, serving the families of Fayette County and the surrounding areas. The Funeral Director is instrumental in facilitating and ensuring the success of our relationships with our families. By overseeing the planning, organization and management of all aspects of the funeral services and final disposition, our families are better able to gather, reflect, and celebrate the lives of their loved ones.
We are looking for someone who is self-motivated, able to work alone and as a team, has good communication skills, and has a professional appearance and demeanor, and lives close to the Fayetteville, GA area. (possible living quarters)
We offer a competitive benefits package, including; 401k, Life, Dental, Vision, and imbursement towards Medical.
Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have a high school diploma and an Associate Degree or Bachelor's Degree in Science of Funeral Service. He or she should hold current FD/EMB licenses in the State of Georgia. It is also an advantage for Funeral Directors to have experience working in funeral profession and are well versed in the protocols and procedures of the industry.
Essential Duties and Job Responsibilities:
Resumes should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject as "Funeral Director/Embalmer (Apprentice) Position".
Requirements & Qualifications:
This Job Is Ideal for Someone Who Is:
Resumes should be sent to email@example.com with the subject as "Middle/South Georgia Funeral Home Seeking Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer Position".
Our website will be under going maintenance June 1-3, starting at 6:00 PM each evening. During this time, portions of our website may be unavailable or under construction. We thank you in advance for your patience.
Attention Firm Members
The Funeral Service Foundation recently purchased KN95 masks from Kelco Supply Co. and they have graciously shared them with GFDA. We will once again be shipping masks to our firm members. GFDA greatly appreciates the Funeral Service Foundation's generous donation in this time of need!
Membership Renewals were due in January. Have you renewed?
If you haven't sent your renewal, take a moment and visit Join GFDA for your renewal form. Simply complete the form in full and return it with your payment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember GFDA Members:
GFDA Executive Committee Planning Session
The GFDA Executive Committee met for their annual spring planning session May 28 & 29 at the GFDA office in Roswell, GA. This was a very productive meeting where they reviewed the results of our recent survey, choose a series of webinars for this summer which will provide opportunities to begin earning your Continuing Education hours, planned events through June 2022, approved a revised 2020 budget, began work on our 2021 budget, approved changes to our website to ensure it is an even better tool for your business, and made many other decisions to ensure Georgia Funeral Directors Association is working and advocating for funeral service for years to come.
We are pleased to announce the Executive Committee appointed Scott Ellis, with Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home, as Secretary. With the cancellation of our 2020 Annual Convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nominating Committee (Nathan Stanley, David McLeighton, and Ernie Mosier) recommended freezing the Executive Committee for 2020-2021. The Executive Committee voted to approve their recommendation. Visit HERE to view our 2020-2021 Executive Committee. Our 2020-2021 District Chairs have also been chosen and we will be announcing them soon.
We will continue to make announcements in the coming days. As always, if you have any questions or if we may be of assistance, we encourage you to contact an Executive Committee Member or the GFDA office.
Scott Ellis, CFSP Joins the GFDA Executive Committee
Scott Ellis, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) and Certified Crematory Operator, has been a part of the Caldwell & Cowan family since 2007. A 2010 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, he served as Vice President of the Pi Sigma Eta fraternity, and was awarded the distinguished Bill Pierce Award, given to one who demonstrates their exemplary professionalism and above and beyond efforts to funeral service. He continues to work with the College, serving as a member of the Advisory Board. Following graduation, Scott completed the National Funeral Directors Association's Certified Preplanning Consultant program, which recognizes qualified, knowledgeable individuals who are committed to provide ethical and caring advance planning services for all families.
Scott is a lifelong resident of Newton County. He and his wife, Ronda, have been happily married for over 35 years. Their daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Mark Still, and their four beautiful grandchildren, are their pride and joy. Scott and Ronda enjoy going camping and love spending time with their family members, who mean the most to them.
Scott's goal in funeral service is to treat every family with the compassion and respect they deserve when they need it most. Having completed all required coursework to obtain his Certified Funeral Service Practitioner(CFSP) designation indicates that he goes above and beyond to serve every family as if they were his own.
Visit the GFDA Calendar
for more details about
our future events.
We ask that funeral-service-related death notices be sent to email@example.com to ensure timely notification to our members.
If it is outside of normal business hours, please call the GFDA office after emailing the obituary.
GFDA sends funeral service related Obituary Notices via a GFDA Alerts. We encourage you to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book to ensure receipt of these notices.
Our Facebook page is public and we post about our events, association news, obituary notices, regulatory reminders, and more. We encourage you to like our page. Remember, you can tag GFDA by using @GeorgiaFuneralDirectorsAssociation.
GROUPAHEAD Is Closing
The GFDA App has been discontinued
The company that hosts the GFDA app is ceasing business; therefore, our app closed Monday, December 23, 2019. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to you. GFDA is currently exploring other opportunities in this area.
ATTENTION GFDA MEMBERS
One of the many benefits of being a GFDA Member is you may purchase music and webcasting licenses through NFDA. We are the only NFDA state affiliate association in Georgia and encourage you to take advantage of this member benefit today!
Webcasting and Music Licenses
GFDA Members may purchase these through NFDA
During these challenging times, when federal, state and local guidance and/or mandates are limiting the size of visitations and funerals, webcasting or livestreaming a funeral can be an excellent way for those who cannot be physically present at a service to still partake in the event.
NFDA offers a webcasting license that covers the copyrighted music in the ASCAP, BMI and SESAC catalogs. It covers services broadcast via funeral webcasting software, as well as other livestreaming platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, Vimeo and Skype.
If you do not currently have a NFDA funeral webcasting license, click here for more information and to purchase one.
List of Webcasting Businesses - Note: NFDA does not endorse these companies. This list is simply being provided for the convenience of funeral professionals.
NFDA offers sample legal forms that give authorization for funeral homes to webcast funeral services and direction to record funeral services.
Update: Facebook Muting Issues During Live Streaming of Funerals
NFDA has been notified of the “muting” problem that funeral homes are experiencing when streaming funerals over Facebook. We have been in contact with a BMI representative who explains that several years ago Facebook entered into agreements with song producers to resolve copyright infringement claims. These agreements require Facebook to mute streamings that are broadcast over the Facebook platform if the streaming includes music belonging to the songwriters. He further explained that BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are not parties to these agreements and have no way to modify them. In addition, Facebook cannot modify them unilaterally. So, unfortunately, there is no way to solve the muting problems with Facebook.
As an alternative, the BMI representative strongly recommends that funeral homes use a specific funeral webcasting software platform or Zoom, Vimeo or Skype to stream funeral services over the internet. These platforms are not parties to the same type of music copyright infringements agreements that shackle Facebook. Your funeral home still needs a webcasting license from NFDA to stream funeral services that contain music. But, with using these services, the music will not be muted out as some funeral homes have experienced with Facebook.
LICENSING NEWS: The deadline for renewal for all license types was March 31, 2020. If you did not complete your renewal by the April 30th late renewal deadline your license is now lapsed and you will need to reinstate your license. Applications for reinstatement can be found under the "Application/Form Downloads" tab of the Georgia Board of Funeral Service website, HERE.
Have you confirmed your license renewal? What is the current status of your license? Please use the online "Licensure Search" feature to confirm that your renewal was completed. Be sure to check the current status and the license expiration date. If the information does not reflect that your license is "Active" with an expiration date of 3/31/2022 then your renewal has not been completed.
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The Georgia Board of Funeral Service administers the Funeral Service Law for the purpose of better protection of life and health, preventing the spread of contagious, communicable, and infectious diseases, and regulating the practice of embalming and funeral directing and the care and disposition of dead human bodies.
The Board consists of 7 members appointed by the Governor, six of whom are licensed and practicing funeral directors and embalmers, with one member serving as a consumer representative who has no connection with the funeral service industry. The Board is authorized to prescribe a standard of proficiency as to the qualifications and fitness of embalmers and funeral directors, to revoke or suspend licenses for any violation of this law, to adopt rules and regulations and to set standards of sanitation to be observed in the embalming or cremation of dead human bodies.
Board meetings are monthly (view Meeting Schedule for dates) and are open to the public. Persons wishing to bring matters for Board consideration must submit a written request to the Professional Licensing Board office in Macon.
Click HERE to visit the Georgia State Board of Funeral Service website.
The Professional Licensing Boards Division of the Georgia Secretary of State serves as administrative support to the 41 licensing boards housed with our agency. In addition to staffing the board meetings, our agency assists the boards with processing applications for licensure, license renewals and complaints.
Although the Professional Licensing Boards Division of the Secretary of State’s Office provides administrative and clerical support to assist the boards in carrying out their licensing responsibilities, the agency does not directly oversee or direct the actions and decisions of the boards. Determinations regarding licensing qualifications and complaints rest solely with the individual boards. Accordingly, our office does not have the ability to review, modify, or overturn a decision which has been made by any board.
Board members are appointed by the Governor.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LICENSE HOLDER
What are my responsibilities as a license holder?
Certain personal responsibilities come with becoming a professional license holder in the state of Georgia. Those responsibilities include the following:
1. Renew your license prior to the expiration date of your license. While the Secretary of State’s office sends courtesy reminders via email to license holders, it is ultimately the license holder’s responsibility to know the expiration date of his/her license and to renew that license in a timely manner. Renewing the license includes submitting an online renewal application and answering each renewal application question truthfully, submitting any supporting documentation that may be required, completing any continuing education requirements that may be required, and paying the renewal application fee. The period for renewing your license usually begins within 60-90 days prior to the expiration date of your license. License holders may renew their licenses online via the Board’s website at: Renewal Portal After you submit your renewal application, it is your responsibility to check the status of your renewal online through the My Verification Page . Failure to complete and submit your renewal application by the license expiration date will result in a lapsed license. To reinstate a lapsed license you will have to file a reinstatement application, meet all reinstatement requirements for your profession which may mean additional training and/or testing, and pay the reinstatement fee. Please keep in mind that reinstatement of a license is at the discretion of the Board.
2. If your name changes, please notify the Board. Please be sure to include your name, license number, social security number, your new name, and a copy of the legal documentation granting the name change.
3. Submitting address and/or email address changes. Please be sure to submit your address and email address changes via the online link found here: address change . Failure to keep your address and email address current will result in our inability to send you notifications from the Board. Facility license holders may not submit facility address changes online; please review specific Board requirements regarding changes in facility addresses.
4. Keep current with Georgia laws and Board rules. Georgia laws and Board rules are made available on the Board’s website for your convenience. The General Provisions in Title 43-1 apply to all professional licensing boards and they are available here: General Provisions
According to the sworn statement your initial application and/or renewal application, you agree to become familiar and follow the state laws and board rules governing your profession. Failure on your part to abide by the state laws and board rules may result in disciplinary action being taken against you by the licensing board governing your profession. You may register with the Interested Parties List if you would like to receive email notifications of changes to the board rules governing your profession: Interested Parties Registration.
5. O.C.G.A. § 43-1-27 requires any licensee who is convicted of a felony to notify the appropriate licensing authority of the conviction within ten (10) days of the conviction. Failure to notify the Board of any such conviction shall be considered grounds for revocation of his/ her license, permit, registration, or certification.
ORDER VERIFICATION OF LICENSURE ONLINE
Do you need to order verification of your Georgia professional license to reciprocate or endorse your license to another state? You may now order your verification online at Order Verification. Enter your User ID and Password to begin the process. If you do not have a User ID and Password, you may create one following the prompts.
Georgia Department of Public Health - Office of Vital Records - Vital Connections Newsletter may be found HERE.
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The Georgia Department of Public Health has made rule changes governing Vital Records and the following:
If you have any questions about these forms you should contact the State Office of Vital Records.
Congratulations to Bryant Hightower
Bryant Hightower is a GFDA Past President and was installed as NFDA's 2019-2020 President. We congratulate him on his accomplishments and look forward to his serving in this role with NFDA in the coming year.
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to learn more about NFDA Events
2020 Leadership Conference
August 2-5 | Charleston, SC
NFDA looks forward to welcoming the funeral profession’s state and national leaders to the 2020 Leadership Conference, taking place August 2-5 at the Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, S.C. For the first time, NFDA is giving attendees two ways to attend this dynamic event, offering both in-person and virtual conference options.
“The safety of our members remains NFDA’s highest priority and this was not an easy decision,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “We listened to state association leaders and carefully studied CDC and state guidance for meetings and events. We also scrutinized the ability of our host hotel to follow best practices for cleaning, disinfecting and providing a safe experience for guests. After extensive discussions, the Board of Directors decided to move forward with an in-person gathering coupled with a virtual conference option – which will mirror the in-person event – for those who aren’t comfortable traveling or are unable to join us in person.”
LEARN MORE AND REGISTER HERE.
Virtual Cremation Certification Program
Tuesday, June 09, 2020 - Wednesday, June 10, 2020
NFDA will host its first live, virtual Cremation Certification Program June 9 and 10. Since its launch in September 2013, NFDA’s Cremation Certification Program has become the recognized certification standard for funeral service professionals.
“I am happy to be taking NFDA’s Cremation Certification Program online,” said NFDA Vice President of Cremation Services Mike Nicodemus. “This virtual program will enable those who planned to participate in a seminar that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic to earn their certification. This program is also a great option for those who have not previously been able to travel to attend a seminar."
Annual All-Staff FTC Funeral Rule Review
Thursday, June 11, 2020 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Presenters: T. Scott Gilligan, NFDA general counsel, and Patricia Poss, FTC senior attorney and Funeral Rule coordinator
Are you confident that you are in full compliance with all requirements of the FTC Funeral Rule? NFDA general counsel Scott Gilligan will discuss how you can become and remain compliant with the FTC Funeral Rule. FTC Funeral Rule Coordinator Patricia Poss will provide an update on Funeral Rule enforcement actions and compliance efforts, review results of the FTC undercover shopping tests and discuss recurring problems that the FTC has observed. Our experts will also answer your questions about the Funeral Rule.
NFDA to Host Certified Celebrant Training Seminars
As families' wishes continue to evolve, it is more important than ever to offer a variety of services that exceed their expectations. To help you meet the needs of families not affiliated with a religion or church – or who simply want something a little different when planning a service – NFDA is again partnering with InSight Institute to host Certified Celebrant Training seminars in June and October.
A certified celebrant works with the funeral director to provide families with a funeral, memorial service or tribute that is personalized and tailored to reflect the personality and lifestyle of the deceased.
With fewer families incorporating religious rites into funeral and memorial services, many funeral directors see certified celebrants as a way to meet the needs of non-religious families and those who may see themselves as spiritual but are not affiliated with a church or religion.
The Certified Celebrant Training seminars hosted by NFDA will be conducted by InSight Institute’s Glenda Stansbury MA, CFSP, and Kathy Burns. In a creative and collaborative environment, attendees will develop such skills as:
•Articulating the Value of the Funeral
•Facilitating Family Meetings
•Using Music and Readings Resources
•Art of Ceremonial Writing
•How to Serve as a Master of Ceremonies
•Developing the Celebrant Concept in the Community
•And much more
The seminars will be held:
•June 22-24, Brookfield, WI – NFDA Headquarters
•October 16-18, New Orleans, LA – in conjunction with the 2020 NFDA Convention
For more information or to register for an NFDA-hosted Certified Celebrant Training seminar, visit www.nfda.org/celebrant or call 800-228-6332.
A Brush with Death
The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has launched A Brush With Death, a podcast to help funeral professionals be more responsive to the evolving needs of families and better respond to the issues shaping their businesses.
New episodes are released on the second Tuesday of each month. Recent episodes are:
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June 01, 2020
NFDA has debuted a new public service announcement (PSA), A Message to the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic, to help families understand that, in spite of mandates and guidance limiting public gatherings, they do have options to meaningfully commemorate the life of their loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reinforces the role of funeral directors in helping families plan a safe and meaningful service. This new PSA is part of NFDA’s Remembering A Life consumer outreach and education initiative and is available for use by association members at no charge.
The PSA also encourages viewers to visit NFDA’s consumer education site, www.RememberingALife.com where they can learn more about the way the pandemic has shaped funerals and the grief journey; how to plan a meaningful service; and search for an NFDA-member funeral home near them.
This is the latest in a series of Remembering a Life PSAs that explore the value of funerals, the role of funeral directors in planning a meaningful service; and the importance of memorialization when a death occurs under tragic circumstances. Funeral professionals can view the PSAs by visiting the NFDA website, www.nfda.org/psas.
NFDA is sharing this new PSA with consumers on the Remembering A Life website and social media sites.
The PSAs are available to NFDA members for use in the community, such as by posting them on a funeral home website; sharing them on social media; or as part of a community presentation. Funeral homes may also wish to work with local TV stations to run the spots as public service announcements. The PSAs may also, in certain circumstances, be appropriate to share with a family that is planning a service.
NFDA members who are interested in using them in their outreach efforts can find information about obtaining them on www.nfda.org/psas.
June 01, 2020
While your work is often overlooked, the comfort and care you are providing to grieving families during the pandemic is just as critical as that of doctors, nurses and other frontline responders.
We salute you and we thank you. We invite you to watch a special new tribute to the #Last Responders
More NFDA News may be found HERE.