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 at the Englewood library, on the morning of the 4th Thursday of the month.

At this time, the FCSC Board meets in the Englewood Public Library (lower level of the Englewood Civic Center) at 10:15 a.m.  The parking (underground) is one block north of U.S. 285 on Inca St. 

FCSC's mailing address:  

Funeral Consumer Society CO

P.O. Box 4743

Greenwood Village, CO  80155-4743.

Once a year we have a general meeting for members and their guests, in which one or two speakers are invited to talk about issues concerning our mission.  This annual meeting is held on the first Saturday in May, from 9:00 a.m. until around 12:00 p.m. The 2020 meeting, May 2nd, will be at Malley Sr. Rec Center in Englewood.

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

Legislative News

Senate Bill 19-027, concerning authorization for a County to use any lawful method to give final disposition to an unclaimed dead body was sent to the House Committee on Judiciary on 2/5/2019.  This bill, 19-027 – Concerning Authorization for a County to use any lawful method to give Final Disposition to an unclaimed dead body was postponed indefinitely on April 11, 2019. 

Senate Bill 18-234 was passed and signed by the governor on May 30, 2018, The Bill makes it unlawful for person who owns a funeral establishment or crematory to also own an interest in a non-transplant tissue bank. This bill was created due to the Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors selling human remains.

House Bill 19-1304 - Concerning the Death Reimbursement paid by an Agency that provides public assistance for the final disposition of a deceased indigent person was introduced April 3, 2019.

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

New Facebook Page!

nn      FCSC has a new Facebook site and Administrator---Pres. Jill Ross!             Look for new news on this site---Jill has a lot of ideas for FCSC!

                

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 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.

At the February 2 Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Senate Bill 19-027, concerning authorization for a county to use any lawful method to give final disposition to an unclaimed dead body was sent to the House Committee on Judiciary on 2/5/2019.

*A March 2017 CBS article wrote about the pricing practices at funeral homes. Of 138 funeral homes across the country, 35 of these are owned by the Service Corporation International. SCI has refused to post their price lists on line.  Any home which uses "Dignity Memorial" is an SCI home.

*The Human Service Resource and Career Fair, at the Tivoli Student Union at Metro State in Denver, will be held March 5, 2019.  Andy will be at the FCSC table.

*Treasurer Jim noted that happily our spending is balanced by our income and we are good, financially.

*Anthony reported an overall loss of 32 FCSC members, mostly due to overdue renewal of membership  s. Included in the totals are 12 new memberships; there are over 3000 FCSC members.

*Judy is working on the Spring Newsletter; it will be reviewed by Board Members and then sent to the printer in March to be mailed out in April.        

*Prices of Contract Providers will be checked for any changes by President Jan in time for the Newsletter.

*Jill is officially our Facebook Administrator. She reported that traffic on our page has increased.

*The "Dead Man's Festival" in Nederland, CO is being held this year on April 8, 9 and 10. Jill plans to attend.  *Mark Koebrich’s Senior Resource gathering at Lutheran Medical Center has been put off till this fall.

*Jan, upon her resignation as our President, will be the new Education Leader, after the retirement of Barbara Wagner.

*Another class action suit was filed against the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose; Sunset Mesa was found by the FBI to have sold bodies and body parts rather than using cremation as clients expected. The plaintiffs are family members of involved deceased. One body was even shipped to Saudi Arabia.

*2 brochures were brought up: "Death Notification Checklist.", and "Consumer's Guide to Funeral Service in Colorado." They are publications from the Colorado Funeral Directors Association (CDFA).

*It was noted that at last count 74% of Colorado residents opt for cremation.

*Jill will contact and line up a speaker(s) for our Annual Meeting; she has several speakers in mind.

At the January 24 Board Meeting, some of the items discussed:

*Jim reported for the period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, income was $2,064.32 and expenses were $2,089.55. the largest yearly expense was $1087.42 for Newsletter postage.  

*Anthony reported a net membership change of minus 61 people. With Life Members we lost twenty-two deceased, thirty-four with no current address, and two who requested deletion. With Dues Paying Members we lost three deceased, eight with no current address and one who requested deletion.  We have nine New Members.

*For the spring Newsletter, Jan will contact all of our Contract Providers to learn of any changes in their pricing;  she will keep Judy informed.

*Jan reminded us of Josh's exhortation:  Remember - our purpose is less about providing discounted expensive funerals and more about education. 

*Jill is eager for us to participate in Nederland's Dead Man Festival which this year takes place on March 8, 9 and 10.  We will be brainstorming ideas for our February meeting. 

*Mark Koebrich of 9News told Jill he wants us to exhibit at the Lutheran Hospital's Senior Resource gathering on Friday, May 3rd from 8:30 to 11:30 am. No other outside organization is invited. Traditionally, only inside people and Lutheran partner organizations have been involved. Andy volunteered to represent FCSC.

*The Denver Poste reported that three individuals have brought suit against the Sunset Mesa Mortuary in Montrose regarding their practice of selling body parts. It also reported that the Olinger-owned Berkeley Park Funeral Chapel in northeast Denver has closed.

*We will need a new person to take over the position of Education Director.  Barbara will resign at the end of her term in May.

 

President Jan subscribes to the FTC Newsletter,  subscribe@subscribe.ftc.gov, which has many articles of interest to FCSC members, such as "Robo-calling" shut-downs" and illegal practices by other companies.  In the August FTC newsletter it states:  "Unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC’s number-one complaint category, with more than 1.9 million complaints filed in the first five months of 2017 alone."

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