Policy Board Meeting Report – April 26, 2017 by Steve Palmer

[member only]

POLICY BOARD MEETING – April 26, 2017 by Steve Palmer


Lacy Robinson gave a 15-minute recap of arranger training. It is more than getting information and setting services. It is to get everyone to the “Life Honoring Point”. You must ask “Who are my customers?”. Everyone that was touched y that person’s life is your customer. Everyone that reads the memorial tribute/obituary is your customer.

Customer behavior has changed; but the arrangements conference has not changed.

Five goals: 1. CONNECT: Solid connection with the family includes: appearance, conduct, appropriate facility that is open to comfort, open questions, “have a Talk” guide.  2. DISCOVER: Ask the right questions. 3. LEAD: Discuss what are the right choices for them (religious, financial, etc). You Lead, do not let them lead. 4. DESIGN: Ideas, your talents add to the service, vendor partnership, extraordinary ideas (the WOW factor), know resources and trends. 5. SUPPORT: Knowing what to say (is it a tragedy, is there tension?).


Foundation gave 12 scholarships, ran the Meet The Mentors program, NFDA Professional Woman’s Conference, Career Development Awards (they pay for young funeral directors attendance at a NFDA meeting).


FTC will not expand Funeral Rule to other associated business such as cemeteries (no Bobby Rush/Consumer Bill) due to the anti-regulation administration. There is a variance in areas of the country with the non-compliance reports. These are due to the level of scrutiny by secret shoppers. The battle continues over casket and outer burial displays in arrangement rooms with display. FTC wants presentation prior, NFDA say when discussion leads to prices. Variable basic service fee still on list.


1. Variable Basic Service Fee (see above). 2. Embalming Discolsures: State laws vary too much for federal oversight. 3. Alternative Containers disclosures: What is an alternative container? 4. Cash Advance disclosure: This has never been a complaint item. Drop it. 5. Elininate price ranges: Who cares what the range is. Decision is not made about this.

Direct cremation with casket ranges, Immediate burial with casket ranges should be eliminated (Who picks a solid bronze for a direct burial?). Clarify third party merchandise providers: do we have to unwrap and do we have to dispose of the wrappings? Urn price list: We don’t have it now, no complaints, why now? Direct Cremation- be sure crematory fee is included. Some firms do not. The FTC review has been delayed and may not happen at all, We now have an anti-new-regulation administration and 4 out of the 5 FTC need to be replaced. Trumo will be replacing them.


2015 had 9,855 members, 2016 had 9,941. Percentage of funeral homes in US that are members is: 46% in 2016 and 45.4% in 2017. Arizona had 66 members in 2014 and 59 members in 2016. NFDA had a 93% retention rate of members in 2016. International: members in 49 countries, 958 locations, 45% since 2014. There are 190 plus forms available on the NFDA website. BEACON Health Options is a new endorsed member. Counseling, legal, financial, etc. are their offerings. LENDING USA- a third party lender. They have a 7-minute qualification, No recourse to funeral home. HAVE A TALK OF A LIFETIME: If you are not listed on their website, fill out their form n their website. “Have a Talk” idea playing cards well received, Give a deck to Hospice.


White volar exemption law that was supposed to take effect on Dec.1, 2016 had a Judge file an injunction. Still on appeal.  Stericycle has a class action suit by customers for fraudulent rising of fees. Currently 12 states offer alkaline hydrolysis as a disposition.


Ohio rejected alkaline hydrolysis as a disposition. Utah has a fee of $100 for cremation permit. Arkansas Funeral Board under Insurance Board. Indiana association had executive director Curtis Rostad retired, replaced by recent policy board member Adam Clayton. Nevada State Association up and running. Louisiana board now under Health and Hospitals where all excess funds the board saves will go to HHS, Final decisions made by a Judge. South Carolina had a Colorado low cost cremation, marketing all over, received a call, Colorado cremation provider could not find a local agent and family wanted to know where their loved one was. Connecticut reports that 38 out of the 300 affected McAllister Institute students are still in limbo over the National Board Test scandal.


Speaker Matt Schlapp, political consultant, former advisor to President GW Bush and current PR firm owner and frequent news show guest. Obama helped create the Trump phenomenon. Economy drove the election. Trump won out of an urgency to get something done. Obama presented his agenda and the republican House became stronger, the Senate was won, Governorships were won ad the White House was won. People can appreciate Trump’s straight talk and not have to like all of his faults. Washington is one scared city (on both sides).


We met with Rep. Gosar, Rep O’Halleran. We said hello to Rep. Grijalva. Julie Darus became a grandmother to Rep. Schweikert’s daughter Olivia as we and Mrs. Schweikert waited. The bills were well received by the staffs,

The two bills were:

HR2022 LATT Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Gosar and co-sponsored by Trent Frank. The Labeling and Transportation of Tissue Safety Act. Regulates tissue banks and regulates shipping of tissue across state lines.  Increases penalties.

HR1212. The BRAVE Act: Burial and funeral benefits for non-service connected veterans and getting the same benefits for those dying in VA facility. Truly bi-partisan. Indexes benefits.