- Attention GFDA Members -
As this information is changing rapidly, we encourage you to bookmark this page, visit it often,
and visit the links below to stay informed on the latest guidance and information.
It is important that you add GFDA, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Staff (email@example.com) to your email address book and check your email frequently, including spam/junk folder, to ensure you receive GFDA Alerts.
If you have not renewed your GFDA Membership, visit HERE.
To update your contact information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Click the title below to open / close the drop down window
We made the change to drop down windows to make the guidance and information easier to review.
As the situation is rapidly changing, we recommend you review the information below often and share it with your staff.
While we do our best to post guidance and information in real time, you should visit the drop down windows and links.
CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is available for urgent consultation at 770-488-7100
Visit the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) drop down for information regarding PPE needs.
3-29-20 UPDATE - President Trump has announced that the federal
social-distancing and mitigation guidelines will be extended to April 30th.
The NEW Federal social distancing and mitigation guidelines are scheduled to be released Tuesday night.
Click the titles below to open / close the drop down windows
CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is available for urgent consultation at 770-488-7100
Guidelines and Information - Updated
3-29-20 UPDATE - President Trump has announced that the federal social-distancing and mitigation guidelines will be extended to April 30th.
The NEW Federal social distancing and mitigation guidelines are scheduled to be released Tuesday night.
District Health Office Directory
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:
Click the links below to be taken to the NFDA COVID-19 informational pages.
Webcasting and Music Licenses
GFDA Members - You may purchase these through NFDA
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!
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.
NEW: Letter Verifying Critical Infrastructure Worker Status
March 30, 2020 - On March 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance to states naming mortuary workers as “critical infrastructure workers. Many states have adopted the DHS recommendations. One thing this order suggests is that critical infrastructure worker should be exempt from “shelter-in-place” mandates.
Because states are adopting “shelter-in-place” or “safer at home” mandates, NFDA has prepared a Certification of Employment document you can show to authorities verifying your status as a critical infrastructure worker.
This Certification of Employment document should be printed on funeral home letterhead, filled out completely, and signed by an owner or manager of the funeral home.
NFDA Scores BIG WIN for Funeral Service: Homeland Security Names
Mortuary Workers as Critical Infrastructure Workers
March 19, 2020 - Brookfield, Wis. – At the urging of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), guidance issued today by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) named mortuary workers as “critical infrastructure workers.” This underscores the vital role funeral directors and others who work in deathcare play in responding to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For more than a decade, NFDA has worked to ensure that during any mass-fatality event, mortuary workers are considered critical infrastructure workers. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to intensify globally and reach American shores, NFDA intensified its call to federal officials to solidify this classification.
The guidance noted words from President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Guidance for America: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”
Mortuary workers, which the guidance defines as “Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers” and “Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident,” are included in the “Healthcare/Public Health” category along with doctors, nurses, people performing testing and researchers. This essentially covers the full spectrum of those who work in deathcare.
This guidance helps define for state and local public health officials the professions that are essential to the COVID-19 pandemic response. The guidance specifically notes that critical infrastructure workers should have priority access to personal protective equipment and be exempt from “shelter-in-place” mandates. While the guidance does not address priority access for a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed, this guidance does signal that critical infrastructure workers would take precedence. NFDA is planning to send a letter to DHS asking them to prioritize mortuary workers once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
“The ability of funeral professionals to safely carry out their duties during a mass-fatality incident is paramount. We were very pleased to see NFDA’s efforts pay off when the federal government recognized mortuary workers as critical to the COVID-19 pandemic response,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “The role that funeral directors and cemetery and crematory workers are playing during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical. While their work may be overlooked, they are truly on the front lines in helping to care for pandemic victims and grieving families.”
NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.
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
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.
On March 23, 2020 Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order banning all gatherings of ten or more people unless you can maintain at least six feet between people at all times. The order will take effect at noon on March 24, 2020 and will expire at noon on Monday, April 6, 2020. The Department of Public Health will be empowered to close any business for noncompliance. The Board encourages 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 Georgia Department of Public Health.
Click HERE for up to date information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Impact on National Board Testing
Pearson VUE has temporarily closed U.S. testing centers through April 16, 2020. The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards is working to ensure that candidates affected by this closure will have sufficient time to reschedule and take their exam when centers reopen and testing resumes. For the most up-to-date ICFSEB COVID-19 information click HERE, and for updates from Pearson VUE click HERE.
PSI has temporarily closed their owned and operated physical test centers in the U.S. starting the end of day March 19, 2020 through April 13, 2020. Candidates can reschedule up to and including the day of testing at no penalty and no documentation required. In most cases, candidates can reschedule their examinations on-line and they are encouraged to do so. For updates from PSI click 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.
GFDA has been in contact with Chris Harrison, Georgia State Registrar, for guidance regarding Vital Records and death certificates.
Mr. Harrison has assured GFDA “Vital Records considers the top priority and 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.”
It is GFDA's understanding that many offices have closed or have limited their functions to essential services due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is recommended that you contact your county’s office directly to inquire about their capabilities to issue certificates in person.
Important Announcement Concerning COVID-19
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics recently released guidelines for reporting deaths due to Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. Please share this information with anyone who helps to create, review, and register death certificates.
It is important to emphasize that Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death. We ask that all deaths use the standard terminology COVID-19. Listing all causes leading to death is also important. For example, in cases when COVID-19 causes pneumonia and fatal respiratory distress, both pneumonia and respiratory distress should be included along with COVID-19. Certifiers should include as much detail as possible based on their knowledge of the case, medical records, laboratory testing, etc.
An example may be found below.
For more general guidance and training on cause-of-death reporting, certifiers can refer to the Cause of Death mobile app available through https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/mobile-app.htm and the Improving Cause of Death Reporting online training module, which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/improving_cause_of_death_reporting.htm.
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 as it pertains to death certificates, please contact the Georgia DPH State Office of Vital Records. For the most recent updates regarding COVID-19, please visit our website at www.dph.ga.gov.
Chris Harrison, MPH
State Registrar, Deputy Director, State Office of Vital Records
State Office of Vital Records Contact Information
Gov. Kemp Issues New Executive Orders, Provides COVID-19 Update
GFDA has contacted Governor Brian Kemp and he has asked that funeral homes follow the guidance from the CDC, as well as state and local officials.
Gov. Kemp Announces Federal Approval of Major Disaster Declaration
March 29, 2020
Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that President Trump has declared a major disaster for all 159 Georgia counties due to the impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a statewide Public Health Emergency being declared on March 14.
"Georgia is grateful for this designation, as it will enable the state to continue partnering with federal agencies in a coordinated fight against this pandemic,” said Governor Kemp. “The presidential declaration is a critical step in providing additional assistance to our state and local governments as they continue to respond to COVID-19.”
The declaration for federal assistance currently covers Emergency Protective Measures, which are those actions taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health, or safety. This declaration also allows federal agencies to provide direct assistance to the State of Georgia.
Kemp declared a Public Health Emergency on March 14, activating the state emergency operations plan and making available state resources to help address any threats to public health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the Office of the Governor, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) works with local, state, and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMA/HS’ “Ready Georgia” campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters. Visit www.gema.ga.gov for more information.
The deadline for renewal for all license types is March 31, 2020. Renew online now HERE.
Have you confirmed your license renewal? What is the current status of your license?
Use the online "Licensure Search" feature to confirm that your renewal has been 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 3/31/2020 then your renewal has not been completed.
They have a new phone number. Effective January 15th, their phone number has changed to 844-753-7825.
In response to Governor Kemp’s recommendation that state employees work remotely, the Corporations Division has implemented telework options for its staff. Effective March 17, the Corporations Division lobby will be closed to visitors and walk-in customers. Mailed filings are still being accepted by our mail and intake division. For quicker processing, filers are encouraged to utilize online services (https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov) to submit various filings supported by our online system. For additional information, you may contact the call center at 404-656-2817 or email email@example.com.
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.
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.
Membership Renewals were due in January - Have you renewed?
We are updating our online locators and want to include you! 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 sends funeral service related Obituary Notices via a GFDA Alerts. We encourage you to add email@example.com to your address book to ensure receipt of these notices.
We ask that funeral-service-related death notices be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure timely notification to our members,
If it is outside of normal business hours, please call the GFDA office after emailing the obituary.
Save the Dates for 2020
Visit Upcoming Events for more information!
Our Annual Convention room block is open and we encourage you to make your reservations early!
GFDA is continuing to monitor information and guidance regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). At this time, our 2020 Annual Convention will proceed as planned. The health and safety of our attendees are our top priority. We will continue to assess the situation as time for our Convention grows closer and update you as new information is available.
FIND GFDA ON FACEBOOK
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2020 NFDA International Convention & Expo
October 18-21 | New Orleans, Louisiana
More Information Coming Soon!
Click below to open / close drop down windows
June 11, 2018
Typically, when a funeral home has been shopped by an undercover enforcement agent twice and found to be in violation of the Funeral Rule on both occasions, it receives a letter from the FTC stating when they were shopped and the nature of the alleged violations with which they are being charged. The letter also details their options: chiefly face a lawsuit in federal court or enroll in the remedial three-year Funeral Rule Offender Program.
Historically, these letters have not included – nor has the FTC been willing to disclose – the name(s) of the employee(s) who dealt with the undercover shoppers.
NFDA has now learned that the FTC will, upon request, disclose the names of employee(s) who dealt with the undercover shoppers.
NFDA members who have questions may contact NFDA’s General Counsel Scott Gilligan, 800-228-6332.
Did you know that as a member of NFDA, you have a new, exclusive option for health insurance coverage? You do – NFDA Health Insurance Options offers exclusive savings only for NFDA members!
For employers, finding a health insurance plan for employees that offers good coverage, is affordable and complies with the Affordable Care Act can be exceptionally challenging. The task is particularly tough for small employers.
Through NFDA Health Insurance Options, employers of any size can work with a dedicated customer service representative to explore alternatives to coverage they may currently offer to employees. With options for small groups, members could experience exclusive annual premium savings of five to 15 percent.
NFDA Health Insurance Options not only offers savings available only to NFDA members but also has dedicated experts who will help you understand your best options.
If an employer chooses to adopt a new health insurance plan, a personal customer service representative will assist with making a smooth transition for everyone.
Health insurance plans and offerings vary by state, so it is important that you look at options available in your state.
More information about the NFDA Health Insurance Options program is available online, www.nfda.org/endorsedproviders. There, interested owners or managers can reach out to their personal customer service representative and get a complimentary comparison of their current health insurance plan with the options available in their state.
Over the past two years, NFDA has issued warnings to funeral homes regarding the operations of Heritage Cremation Providers, an internet middleman that holds itself out to the public as a locally-owned and trusted funeral home providing low-cost cremation services. In fact, Heritage Cremation Providers is an unlicensed seller of funeral and cremation services with a long track record of consumer fraud and abuse. State Funeral Boards in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee have all taken action against Heritage Cremation Providers; however, because Heritage Cremation Providers can hide behind the internet, it is virtually impossible for a state board to be able to shut it down. Despite efforts of state regulators, they continue to peddle low-cost cremation services to the public through its website.
Because of warnings issued by NFDA and state funeral associations, in addition to efforts by state funeral boards to prohibit funeral homes and crematories from providing services to Heritage Cremation Providers, many funeral homes have refused to enter into agreements with Heritage Cremation Providers to service families.
It appears that the warnings by NFDA and others have had an effect because we just learned that Heritage Cremation Providers has adopted a new subterfuge in contacting funeral homes to provide services to them. An NFDA member in New Hampshire informed NFDA that it was contacted over the last several weeks by a Colorado funeral home operating under the name of “Families First Funeral Homes.” After receiving several calls, the New Hampshire funeral home became suspicious and reviewed closely the paperwork that it had received from Families First Funeral Home. Buried in the paperwork were several written listings of “Heritage Cremation Providers.” Apparently, when Heritage Cremation Providers decided to disguise itself as Families First Funeral Home, it overlooked several references to Heritage Cremation Providers in its own paperwork.
Upon discovering the discrepancies, the member in New Hampshire notified NFDA and we have been able to confirm that Families First Funeral Home LLC is a limited liability company organized in Colorado. In addition, NFDA was able to verify that the contact agent for Families First Funeral Homes LLC listed with the Office of the Colorado Secretary of State is Anthony J. Damiano. Of course Anthony J. Damiano, also known as A.J. Damiano, is one of the owners and operators of Heritage Cremation Providers.
While NFDA members who receive calls to provide cremation services for Families First Funeral Home or Heritage Cremation Providers know to refuse those requests, it is highly probable that Heritage Cremation Providers will simply adopt a series of new aliases and fictitious trade names to disguise its actual identity. For that reason, funeral homes should always investigate when they receive a request for services from out-of-state funeral homes that they are not familiar with. If you have not previously dealt with a particular out-of-state funeral home, ask for its contact information and confirm through NFDA’s website, state board licensing listings and funeral home directories that it is an operating funeral home. Since nearly every funeral home has a website, this will be helpful in confirming who owns and operates the funeral home that is requesting you to provide cremation services.
NFDA members with questions regarding this matter may contact Scott Gilligan at 513-871-6332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by T. Scott Gilligan, NFDA general counsel
In 2016, a class action suit was filed against Stericycle claiming that the company had defrauded small-business customers by engaging in a billing scheme that automatically inflated consumer bills up to 18% biannually.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 246,000 small businesses, which included funeral homes, dentists, veterinarians and other business owners.
Following the filing of the litigation and discovery, a settlement was reached between Stericycle and the attorneys for the class. Under the settlement, Stericycle agreed to discontinue the pricing practices that were the subject of the complaint. In addition, Stericycle agreed to a $295 million settlement.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved the settlement and Stericycle began to reimburse the impacted customers the amounts they had been overbilled.
According to Scott Gilligan, NFDA general counsel, association members have received reports that funeral homes that were customers of Stericycle have begun to receive checks from Stericycle for their share of the settlement.
Brookfield,Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is bringing excitingchanges to its live education opportunities in 2019, from engaging, freewebinars to lower-priced CE opportunities and much more. There’s never been abetter time for funeral professionals to learn with NFDA.
Thenew NFDA Virtual Roundtables offer an exciting and interactive way to earncontinuing education hours. Featuring live video discussions with theprofession’s most insightful authorities on topics that impact funeralprofessionals and their business, NFDA Virtual Roundtables offer a more dynamiclearning experience than the traditional webinar. NFDA Virtual Roundtables alsoenable participants to ask the experts on their most pressing questions.
NFDAVirtual Roundtables, which will be one to two hours in length, come with moreaffordable pricing – $99 for NFDA members and $149 for nonmembers.
Thefirst NFDA Virtual Roundtables open for registration are:
· January24, 1-2 p.m. CT (1 CE): CoffeeHour with the Cremation Experts with Mike Nicodemus, NFDA vicepresident of cremation services; Sammy G. Oakey III, president of Oakey’s FuneralServices and Crematory; and Adam Sanden, partner at Brunner Sanden DeitrickFuneral Home & Cremation Center.
· February20, 1-2:30 p.m. CT (1.5 CE): LingeringLiability – Inside the Cemetery with Mark Evely, director of theMortuary Science Program at Wayne State University; and Tanya Marsh, professorof law at Wake Forest University School of Law.
Dates,topics and presenters for future NFDA Virtual Roundtables, which will addresstopics such as community outreach, death cafes, the FTC Funeral Rule andtechnical skills, will be announced throughout the year.
NFDAmembers have an additional opportunity to learn: free webinars. These sponsoredwebinars will feature a wide range of experts addressing topics such asmarketing, preneed and more. Dates, times, topics and speakers will beannounced on the NFDA website, www.nfda.org,in the weeks and months to come.
RefineYour Skills with Other NFDA Education Offerings
Beyondthe new NFDA Virtual Roundtables and free webinars, the association has avariety of offerings to help funeral directors raise the bar professionally andpersonally.
NFDA’scertification and training programs include the Arranger Training Program,Cremation Certification Program and Certified Preplanning Consultant Program.These programs offer an in-depth exploration of issues that funeral directorsencounter on a daily basis. The tips, tools and techniques learned during theseseminars can transform a funeral director’s approach to serving families andlead to increased client satisfaction.
NFDA Online LearningCourses enable funeral directors to learn from the best experts in funeralservice to boost their business knowledge and skills wherever and whenever theyhave Internet access. In recent months, NFDA has unveiled new courses such as:
· EmbalmingRisk Management(3 CE Hours)
· 2018Annual All-staff Training with the FTC Funeral Rule Coordinator (3 CE Hours)
· ApproachingTrauma Cases with Confidence (3 CE Hours)
· Demonstrationof Soft Tissue Repair(4 CE Hours)
· SupportingPregnancy Loss Families (3 CE Hours)
· Do-It-YourselfMemorials (with a Little Help from the Funeral Director) (2 CE hours)
· Masteringthe Art of Funeral Home Phone Etiquette (1 CE Hour)
· TheRelevance of Restorative Art (3 CE)
· RSVP:I'll See You at My Living Funeral (2 CE Hours)
· TenTools for Stress Relief (3 CE Hours)
NFDA’sconferences and events, which culminate with the annual InternationalConvention & Expo, are specially planned to help funeral professionals taketheir career and business to the next level. These events offer a chance togrow personally and professionally through unique opportunities to learn fromthe some of the best minds in the profession and network with peers.
· February22-24 – Cremation Conference – St. Pete Beach, FL – www.nfda.org/cremationconference(registration now open)
· February24-26 – Business Conference – St. Pete Beach, FL – www.nfda.org/businessconference(registration now open)
· March10-12 – Meet the Mentors – Atlanta, GA – www.nfda.org/mentors(the entry period for a chance to participate has closed)
· April3-5 – Advocacy Summit – Washington, D.C. – www.nfda.org/advocacysummit(registration opens soon)
· April12-14 – Professional Women’s Conference – Annapolis, MD – www.nfda.org/pwc (registration opens soon)
· May16-17 – Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar – Pittsburgh, PA – www.nfda.org/embalmingseminar
· July13-16 – Leadership Conference – San Diego, CA – www.nfda.org/leadership
· August15-16 – Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar – Nashville, TN – www.nfda.org/embalmingseminar
· October27-30 – NFDA International Convention & Expo – Chicago, IL – www.nfda.org/convention
Formore information about NFDA education offerings, visit the NFDA website, www.nfda.org, and click on the “Education” tabat the top of the page.
NFDAis the world's leading and largest funeral service association, serving morethan 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in theUnited States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader,beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is theassociation of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensiveeducational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance tobecome pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster futuregenerations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield,Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.
More NFDA News may be found HERE.
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.
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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.
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Georgia Department of Public Health - Office of Vital Records - Vital Connections Newsletter may be found HERE.