FLASH!!!!!! 

Your society is in urgent need of a Board Secretary!  If you volunteer, you would become vital part of our very important non-profit work. You would receive a free Handbook and become a free member for life. We meet eight times a year, on the morning of the 4th Thursday of the month.  Please contact us at our new phone number or:

FCSC's mailing address:  

Funeral Consumer Society CO

P.O. Box 4743

Greenwood Village, CO  80155-4743.

The FCSC Board members tried out a Zoom test meeting for their regular date and time (March 26th).  It was carried out, organized by V.P. Sue Mackey, with four “zoomers”, who were satisfied that we could repeat this for the next meeting time, April 23, at 10 a.m.  (The former Board meetings in 2019 and 2 months of 2020 met in the Englewood Public Library, which is now closed until further notice). 

Due to the Corona Virus, the annual meeting scheduled for May 2nd, 2020, is cancelled for May 2nd; please phone FCSC's new number, listed on the home page of this website for last minute info about a new date. 

Our general meeting for members and their guests usually includes one or two speakers, who talk about issues concerning our mission.  Since this annual meeting is on hold for now, there will be a short summary of their talks in our semi-annual newsletter, the Spring issue in April.  The 2020 meeting, May 2nd, at Malley Sr. Rec Center in Englewood has been cancelled.  

Legislative News

There are a couple of bills that were passed before the legislature shutdown:  ​

* HB 20-1051. This bill, introduced Jan. 8, 2020, concerns the "Final Disposition of the Abandoned Cremated Remains of Persons Eligible for Interment in a National Cemetery." This bill would allow cremated remains belonging to a military veteran for interment in a national or state veteran's cemetery. This bill was assigned to State Veterans and Military Affairs.  Passed and signed by Governor Jared Polis on March 20, 2010.

 

*HB 20-1060. This bill, introduced Jan. 8, 2020, concerns the "Conversion of Human Remains to Basic Elements Within a Container Using an Accelerated Process." The process is called 'natural reduction." This bill would add 'natural reduction' to a statute's list of what qualifies under "Final Disposition." The bill was assigned to Energy and Environment.  Still under consideration as of February 24 and is in the House as 3rd reading unamended.

 

*HB 20-1148. This bill, introduced Jan. 17, 2020, concerns "Punishments Related to Offenses Committed Against a Deceased Human Body. The bill limits conviction in a single incident to either 'tampering with a deceased human body' or 'for abuse of a corpse.'  Passed and sent to the Governor on March 20, 2020. He has not signed it yet.

FCSC HAS A NEW V.P.:  Sue Mackey!  Sue is also helping with education of our members.  Here is a link to the article described below:

https://khn.org/news/doctor-fired-catholic-hospital-challenges-aid-in-dying-laws/

 

Firing Doctor, Christian Hospital Sets Off National Challenge To Aid-In-Dying Laws | Kaiser Health News.

In Colorado case, the right to aid a cancer patient’s death runs up against faith-based hospital policies.

From People’s Memorial in Washington:  “On April 9, 2019, the Washington State House of Representatives voted to pass SB5001. This historic bill legalizes two sustainable death care options, alkaline hydrolysis and "natural organic reduction" (formerly "recomposition".) This morning (April 19th), the Senate concurred on the amendments made during the session, and the bill officially passed legislature. In the next few days, the bill will go to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee to be signed into law.  (It was signed.)

 

The following info is from a March 2017 CBS article about the pricing practices at funeral homes. The Funeral Consumer Alliance and the Consumer Federation of American did a survey of pricing practices at 138 funeral homes across the country. Thirty-five of these are owned by the Service Corporation International (SCI). Though not legally required, funeral homes have been asked to post their price lists on line. SCI has refused to do this. The survey revealed that SCI’s pricing can be as much as 72% higher than that of independent funeral homes. Josh Slocum is quoted as saying “One of the most critical ways families can control their costs is by shopping around, just as they would for any other product, but it’s difficult to do that for funerals.” Today it was noted that SCI owns between 1200 and 1500 funeral homes. Any home which uses "Dignity Memorial" is an SCI home.

Interesting article: 

           With Funeral Home Rules Due for an Update, There's a Push for Online Prices:

Federal regulations that took effect 35 years ago don’t require them — a disadvantage for people who are shopping when....

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/with-funeral-home-rules-due-for-an-update-theres-a-push-for-online-prices/ar-BBVom1d?ocid=spartanntp

Notes from the Newsletter of FCA

(our parent organization), concerning three

national surveys over the past two years:

*  Only 1 in 4 funeral homes posted their detailed General Price List online.

*  16 percent of funeral homes failed to acknowledge/refused to respond to email and phone requests for prices.

*  22 percent advertised a price for direct cremation that did not include the price of the actual cremation.

*  No SCI funeral home websites have disclosed any prices.  FCA has determined this is a national, company-wide policy.

*  SCI's prices in each of 10 surveyed cities far exceeded prices at independent funeral homes.

*  The median price for direct cremation at an SCI funeral home was 72 percent higher than at an independent.

For more info from Funeral Consumers Alliance, go to:

www.funerals.org

On September 30, 2019, Board Member Anthony received information from Jon Haliford of "Return to Nature Burial & Cremation" in Colorado Springs, that they are adding alkaline hydrolysis to their services.  This is the first one in the state to do so, to our knowledge.

More Americans — and way more Coloradans — are choosing cremation, says the funeral industry report.  More than half of Americans now choose cremation. Denver Post, August 11, 2017   http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/DenverPost/Default.aspx

Notice:

FCSC's price survey of Funeral Home Costs in Colorado was printed in the Spring 2015 Newsletter.  See the "Resources & Links" tab on this website, menu bar above.

The 2016 March Bulletin of AARP notes that funeral home prices can be compared by visiting www.parting.com, a nationwide database started in 2015, based in California.  Prices can be searched by location, with a link to their General Price Lists.

 

BOARD MEETING NOTES

At the February 27, 2020 Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Em Putnam will resign from the FCSC Board of Directors after March.

*So far for our fiscal year our expenses were just $44.41 more than income; since our January meeting our largest expense was $321.09 for Membership Services Postage. Other expenses over $100 were $110.00 for education and $106.50 for FCA dues.

*In the last month we have five new members, and have lost seven.

*The PayPal option has not yet been put on the Website; it is being worked on.

*Most Outreach Presentations and Sr. Law Days have been postponed; call our new phone number for up-to-date info.

*There was discussion about whether to add new Contract Providers - specifically The Natural Funeral.

*Suggested: We run a working session for the Board members to work on things we all should be doing; title suggestion: “All The Things One Should Do When Someone Dies.” This could be repeated for the membership.

*It is time to redo our Handbook---the last revision was made in 2017.  (Note: Sections have been given to various Board members to review and revise.

*The meeting with John Lantz (former FCA Board member) inspired discussion about ways to use FSC’s money.  Suggestions were:  to work on requiring funeral homes to post all funeral homes costs on-line, to hire a professional to help with using available technology, visiting funeral homes in person, and that a professional video could be done for the purpose of using at Outreach programs.

*The next Board meeting will be done using Zoom, on April 23rd at 10:00a.m.

At the January 23, 2020 Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Stephanie Schacht was our guest. When asked if she was interested in becoming a Board Member, she said, "Yes" (she is a law estate attorney, and she has been trained as an End of Life Doula, and also has been an FCSC member for years). 

*Jim (from out-of town) emailed a summary of income, expenses and net worth for the full 2019 year. Total income was $8454.31 and total expenses were $8551.08.

*The largest expenses since October 1, were $562.48 for Newsletter postage, $300.00 for Newsletter mailing, $300.00 for Newsletter printing and $220.23 for Century Link phone.

*With sixteen new members, the net change is - 27 members (some have died, moved or returned with no current address).

*The November Newsletter labels did not include membership due dates. The bulk mailer does the printing of labels, and we will get a credit for their error.

*The new telephone number was glued over the old number in the Handbook; membership cards and the new blue tri-fold form were also corrected.

*Sue noted that we must get our Website pay button with instructions working, along with any credit card payment.

*It is felt that we should do more presentations at senior living and recreation centers (target audience)  and possibly fewer at expositions.

*From comments about our meeting with John Lantz, it was suggested we hire a professional to create a video for use at presentations.

*For Legislative News , two bills were introduced Jan. 8, 2020.  One other was introduced Jan. 17, 2020.  (See Legislative News above these Board Meeting Notes on this Web page.)

*There was a recent article in 'The Denver Post' headlined as "Pricing funerals online may become common." 

*Jan noted that body donation is free.  "Tomorrow Link" is a new, veteran-owned 501(c)(3) body donation service.

*Two suggestions for our Annual Meeting speakers were made; they will be contacted.

*The new phone number will be in place in January (720-432-5379), and the old one will be cancelled.  This will save us $220 per quarter.

At the November 7th Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Because of inclement weather on October 23, our meeting was postponed to today.

*The Treasury report continues to show the expected return on the BCIS CDs. 

*Our income since October first to yesterday to be $407.31. $100.00 of this came from new memberships, and $135.80 is expected income from investments, but still not confirmed. Expenses during this same period totaled $239.35, with $156.00 for FCA dues and $73.35 to CenturyLink.

*Membership changes from September 27 to November 7 show a total change of + 7 members.

*Anthony has done research on the sources for new members (66) since May 11, 2019.

*More information is needed before we add a 'join now' button to our website.

*It's expected that our new Google Voice phone will be operative by January 1, 2020. The message on our CenturyLink phone number will be changed ahead of the switch to Google Voice (we will cancel with CenturyLink).

*Andy and Jennifer are exhibitors at the Boulder Age Well Conference today; Jill will be presenting at the Pace Center in Lakewood this afternoon.

*There was no new legislative activity related to FCSC interests (Jan follows this).

*In a note from the F TC, Jan learned that 5.4 million people complained about robo calls, which represents 70% of all calls.

*We hope the Newsletter plea will result in a new Secretary.

*It was moved, seconded and passed to change our meeting time back to 10am (to 12pm).

*The next meeting is January 23, 2020 at 10:00am at the Englewood Library.

*It was moved, seconded and passed to accept Stephanie as a new Board Member.

*The next meeting is at 10:00am, February 27, 2020 in the Altenbach Room at the Englewood Library.

At the September 26th Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Former Board member and attorney consultant, Stuart Fleisher, informed FCSC that the gift tax is $15,000 per person (up from $14,000).

*On December 4, 9:30, in Arvada, Jill will discuss two topics: "Senior Living" and "The Funeral Industry." The contact is Karen Brady, an Arvada Elder Living Attorney.

*We have five new members, and membership has increased by three.

*We had agreed to change our FCSC phone number to Google voice; there was much discussion about getting the system working properly.   We will announce our new phone number in the November Newsletter, and cancel our CenturyLink phone number when the Google Voice system is working.

*There was discussion about adding a 'donate' button on our website; Jennifer is following up on this. 

*There are 7 Outreach activities that were announced (see the website).

*The article which exposes the conflict between the CO aid-in-dying law and faith-based health care businesses is being followed; the link is above, under "Sue Mackey, new V.P. for FCSC.

*FCSC needs a new Secretary.  Also, there is a need for more Board members; if any members are interested, let President Jill know.

*Kim Callinan of National Compassion and Choices has a publication for anyone diagnosed with a life threatening illness. The contact is:  kim@compassionandchoices.org

*The next Board meeting will be October 24, 2019, at 10:15am at the Englewood Library.

At the August 22nd Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Expenses for this period were $575.00 for Handbook printing, $205.50 for membership cards and $146.10 for our Century Link phone.

*Forty-four Dues Paying Members have been deleted due to long overdue membership dues; but we have 44 new Dues Paying Members.

*Anthony sent invoices to sixty-seven members who are delinquent on dues.

*Various Outreach events were announced and discussed for FCSC to present (see the menu bar "Commun. Ed.")

*October 5th, 10am to 3pm, The Second Annual Women's Health and Beauty Expo, presented by Colorado Community Media; Belmar Shopping Center, 464 S. Teller Street, Lakewood.

*Jan learned that a 2018 survey showed that 72% of Americans favor cremation. In Boulder County it was 75.2%. In Colorado just 18.9% favor burial.

*Jan reported that the Colorado Department of Health has a form which shows choices for the disposition of remains. This form is available on line, so Jill plans to scan it and email it to the Board Members soon.

*Jan will continue to keep us up to date on CO legislation and take phone calls.

*There are now 8 states that have legalized Medical Aid in Dying: CA, CO, HI, OR, VT, MT, NJ, and now Maine.

*There was much discussion about replacing our Century Link phone number with Google Voice. In the end, it was

voted to go forward with Google Voice.  This will involve member notification of the phone number change over the next several months, and testing of its actual use.

*Sue is putting together an up-to-date file with comprehensive information about Colorado funeral homes. It will be organized by county and arranged in columns. It will include complete prices and all services: burial, cremation, hydrolysis, green funerals.

*We need to have volunteers for the positions of Vice President and Secretary.  

At the May 4th Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Jan's term as President had ended on 3/31/19, and the board elected Jill Ross as President of FCSC; the transfer at the bank of "Registered Agent" was made.

*Three donations at the Annual meeting totaled $155.00.

*Stewart suggested we add related changes in both Federal and Colorado laws on the website and newsletter.

*Jill and Andy attended the "Volunteers" event held at the Highlands Ranch Comm. Center on 4/19.

*Andy attended the Malley Center event, on 4/11; there was little interest in FCSC.  People actually refer to these as "trick or treat" events, and it was voted on to not attend Malley and Buck Center events in the future.

*There are eight upcoming events in the next summer months; it will be discussed as to which ones to attend.

*Andy told about three articles of much interest: "Your 15 minute Will" (AARP); "The End is Nigh for Death-Care Stocks" (Wall St. Journal); and "Cremation Nation: Our New Way to Go" (Wall St. Journal).

*Larry had agreed to set up a free phone number via Google Voice; he now offered to set up a free trial testing period with Google Voice before our August meeting.

*Sue, who sent in an offer to work on an Excel document that lists basic pricing and other information.

*It was voted to send $25.00 gift bags to our two Annual Meeting speakers.

*We need a VP; Jennifer Bishop's name was suggested.

At the April 25th Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*We have tabled discussion regarding switching to Google Voice until the Board’s business meeting on May 4, 2019.

*There are some new Outreach locations---check the web site under Community Ed.

*A friend from The Department of Vital Records sent Jan information on their many training sessions for interested people. A big topic will be Electronic Death Registration. The Denver session is on August 23, 2019. Barbara went to one of these last year.          

*Jan sent an invitation to our Annual Meeting to all of our Contract Providers. Paula Cappadona replied the she will attend.

*The Annual Meeting business meeting is scheduled for 9:30. Our two speakers will present at 10:00 and 10:30.

*Jill's daughter alerted Jill to a website called HeavenMaid.com. This company supplies people who make sure graves are kept attractive and clean at $21.00 per visit. We agreed that this is a very innovative idea as gravesites are often neglected.

*Jan informed Jill that when vetting any prospective new Contract Provider, the President and another Board Member must do the interview. 

*For an interview follow-up: “A Better Place” has a very inexpensive direct cremation price of $750; they are building a new crematory at 72nd and Washington with a chapel (as reported by Sue Mackey).

*Another interview follow-up might be done for “In Memorium” in Broomfield.

At the March 22nd Board meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Senate bill 19-027, introduced 2/5/19, is concerned with authorizing counties to use any lawful method to give final disposition to an unclaimed dead body.  This bill, 19-027 was postponed indefinitely on April 11, 2019.

*Jill has secured two speakers for our Annual Meeting:.

     1) Heather Maguire, "Your mid-wife at the end of life" or Death Doula. 

     2) Lindsey Wolman, Funeral Services Liaison with Donor Alliance.

*The Spring Newsletter has been sent to the printer.

*There are many outreach opportunities coming up for FCSC (see the web site)

*Jan handed out a list of SCI-owned funeral homes and 11 cemeteries.  Because of SCI's questionable practices, FCSC does not accept those Contract Providers.  It was agreed that ethics is what is important to FCSC.

*There was shared pleasure over having former Board Member, Larry Clarke, at our meeting today.

*The Board unanimously voted to accept Sue Mackey as a new Board Member.

*The Board presented Jan Eccher with a gift of a beautiful, inscribed vase in appreciation of her leadership as President for sixteen years.

Lafayette company is helping people die and be buried naturally:

 

"Dust to Dust: Green burials are a growing trend in Colorado"

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/front-range/lafayette/dust-to-dust-green-burials-are-a-growing-trend-in-colorado

Concerning Durable Powers of Attorney, a word of caution:

     Durable Powers of Attorney may, on occasion, lose their power.  Financial (Statutory) Powers of Attorney are sometimes abused by adult children who want access to their parent's funds, or by criminals who forge these documents for the same reason.  Because of this potential abuse, financial institutions (banks, brokerage firms) may balk at recognizing this durable power of attorney and deny access to the funds in question.

     Experts recommend that the adult children who have this durable power of attorney check with the financial institutions involved to determine if this document will be accepted, and, if not, adjust or add to the document as necessary.

     For example, some institutions may ask the account holder (the person fiving the power of attorney) to sign separate powers of attorney drafted by their lawyers to allow for easier and smoother administration. 

Information on body and organ donations:  The daughter of two former members informed us that her parents had contributed their bodies to Lone Tree Medical, www.lonetreemedical.com, an organization which receives body and organ donations for medical research.  They will pick up bodies at no charge, as will the Anchutz Medical Center.

Updated and Revised from Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA):

 

• Should You Prepay Your Funeral
• Cremation Explained 
• Veterans Funeral and Burial Benefits 
• Death Away from Home 
• Common Funeral Myths 
• Four-Step Funeral Planning 
• Ten Tips for Saving Funeral Dollars 
• Green Burial 
• Embalming Explained 

They're all available in two forms. 

Click here for articles formatted for online reading
Click here for tri-fold formatted brochures suitable for printing

Looking for publications on other topics?  Drop them a line at fca@funerals.org

          Funeral Information