Greetings from Marietta, OK. As my last article, I hope this article finds each of you reading this doing well health wise with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. What a personal challenge for each of us to stay healthy to be able to serve our communities during these unprecedented times.
I wanted to devote this article on the approaching changes regarding the FTC seeking public comment as part of its Funeral Rule review. The deadline for these comments has been extended due to the pandemic. This information was obtained from April 2020, The Director mag. The stated purpose of the Funeral Rule is to make sure consumers get the necessary information to make informed purchasing decisions, as well as to lower existing barriers to price competition in the marketplace for funeral goods and services. The FTC is a civil law enforcement agency, not a criminal agency. Its focus is to protect consumers and find the right balance in the marketplace. The Funeral Rule was created in 1984 and the last review was in 1999, lasting until 2008. The FTC will be looking at technological, economic or industry changes that has affected the rule.
The following are the bullet points the NFDA will have on their agenda for the funeral director concerning any changes to the rule.
- Against mandating online posting of firms’ GPLs
- See the review process include distribution of the general price list
- Tighten up the casket price list and outer burial container price list requirements
- A funeral home should have the right to change its variable basic services fee
- Clean up price ranges
- Add to the Funeral Rule an exception that recognizes that certain things are a practical necessity
- Allowing an advisory position incorporated into the rule
Third-party casket handling fees.
On a closing thought, I would like to thank our Executive Director, Gordon Welch for efforts over the last month. He has diligently worked every day to communicate to all association members on daily COVID-19 updates and help get key state legislation passed at the Capital the first part of April when the Senate convened for one day. These two pieces of legislation are big hurdles for the Oklahoma Funeral Director. Gordon will explain the details in his article. He also spearheaded the ordering of the N95 respirator masks to offer for sale to funeral directors and some medical facilities across the state. Lastly, I want to thank the association Immediate Past President Vincent Friederich for willing to use his funeral home for the storage/dispensary of the masks once they arrived.
Honored to be your president,
I hope this article finds each of you doing well health wise with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as we thought we have seen it all, we have been sailing in “uncharted waters” as an association and as an industry. All the new terminology injected in our daily routine alone is a lot to become accustomed to.
After our round of Spring District Meetings, I am excited that we have all of the positions filled for the current board to serve you for the year 2020-2021. New people with new ideas are the wave of the future for our association. I really appreciate those willing to serve an additional term in their respective district positions as needed. We have a unique mixture of individuals from across the state that should represent each district well. I feel fortunate we were able to get all six of our district meetings done across the state just before various orders were issued limiting size restriction gatherings and restaurants closing dine in options. We currently have more than one individual interested in running for Secretary/Treasurer this next year. We will be reviewing the list of 13 bills in legislation we are monitoring and give you an update soon. Again, everything around us is being affected by this pandemic, so we must be patient and use a common sense approach as we move forward as an association, industry and nation. NFDA has been a huge help on keeping us updated on the national level.
As President of this great association, it has been quite the challenge of dealing with the daily issues that have arose due to this pandemic. I am proud to say that me and our Executive Director Gordon Welch created a communication system between us that has worked well. We talk several times daily as he keeps me abreast of all phone calls coming into the association office. We made a joint effort to “ramp up” communication with daily updates via email which have been very helpful to so many across our state with questions concerning the COVID-19 virus, protocol for funeral homes, conducting funerals, PPE, and all the issues of having to postpone our convention from April 19 at Winstar World Casino until the last week of July 2020. Our number one priority was to protect the health and well being of our guest speakers, vendors and attendees. Issues such as travel restrictions from many companies really made an impact on postponement. We are excited to already have new tentative dates for the convention at Winstar so everyone involved can make scheduled plans. We plan on the convention schedule to be as close as possible to the original planned in April. Our goal is to have the convention completed for 2020 before its time for our Fall District meetings and all board officers in place. Again, we hope all involved have seen an influx of info via email to try to keep the latest developments in front of you since it literally changes daily.
On a closing thought, I want to say “thank you” to many of our past presidents of our association that continue to go to our meetings and participate. This proves again they still have that dedication to better our industry on the state and national level by remaining involved on current issues.
Honored to be your president,