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OKLAHOMA FUNERAL BOARD
4545 N. Lincoln Blvd, Suite 175
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
NOTES OF REGULAR MEETING
MEETING PLACE: Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 North Lincoln Boulevard, Room 104
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
DATE & TIME: 10:00 A.M. June 13, 2013
ORDER OF BUSINESS: The Board may discuss, vote to approve, vote to disapprove, vote to table, change the sequence of any agenda item, or decide not to discuss any item on the agenda.
1. Roll Call -
2. Approval of minutes of the May 9, 2013 Board meeting - Approved.
3. Matters to consider possible dismissal upon recommendation of AAG
A. 13-09 Unlicensed funeral director, delayed death certificate, no statement of goods and services, no general price list. - Dismissed Complaint
4. Vote to affirm or disaffirm the issuance of the following licenses, registrations, certificates, dissolution or other action
A. Apprenticeship (original) - All Approved
1. Rosalia Aragon, Broken Arrow, Serenity, Tulsa
2. Rebecca Terry, Checotah, Hunn, Black, & Merritt Funeral Home, Eufaula.
3. Raymond Gutierrez, Yukon, Yanda & Son Funeral Home, Yukon
B. Apprenticeship (1st extension) - All Approved
1. William Bryant, Bristow, Hutchins-Maples, Bristow (enrolled at UCO)
2. Milisse Anderson, Altus, Kincannon FH, Altus
3. Christina Shipman, Pryor, Shipman’s Funeral & Cremation Service, Pryor. (enrolled at UCO)
C. Funeral Director/Embalmer (original) - All Approved
1. Allen McElwain, Claremore (Embalmer only)
2. Christopher Storm Pierce, Edmond
3. Robert Combs, Cushing
D. Funeral Director/Embalmer (reciprocal) - All Approved
1. Kenneth Kirkland, Texas (Embalmer only)
2. Robert Flores, Texas
E. Establishments - All Approved
1. Smith-Phillips Funeral Home, Ada, request to change FDIC from Greg Chilcoat to Dennis Phillips.
2. Owens & Hartwell Funeral Home, Mannsville, Craig Owens requesting to close the establishment.
F. Crematory - Approved
1. Ada Burial & Cremation, Ada, request to change FDIC from Greg Chilcoat to Dennis Phillips.
5. Review complaints with possible vote for a finding of probable cause or other action
13-37 Failure to provide General Price List - Found Probable Cause
13-38 Delay in sending the ME a cremation permit application - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-39 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-40 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-41 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-42 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-43 Failure to provide General Price List - Found Probable Cause
13-44 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-45 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-46 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-47 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
13-48 Failure to provide General Price List - Dismiss with a letter of concern.
6. Discussion and possible action on a committee of Funeral Directors and Embalmers charged with studying the needs of Oklahoma Funeral Service and possible adoption of a report. The following report was read:
It is the opinion of the committee there must be immediate action taken to resolve the growing number of unacceptable actions by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office. The office of the medical examiner’s office currently receives about 1.9 million dollars a year from cremation permits alone. This makes cremation permits one of, if not the largest, source of revenue for the Medical examiner’s office.
The first concern is turnaround time for a cremation permit. Over the last two years, it has taken 4 - 10 days for a single case to be processed. What this does to the families is create lingering grief and distress. The family does not know when they will be able to plan services and or the committal of their loved one. What this means for funeral homes is that we are being forced to store and maintain the integrity of the decedents for an unknown amount of time. The cost in most cases is being absorbed by the funeral home themselves, creating a large expense. So from the M.E’s largest source of revenue, we/the funeral homes have gained a continually growing expense.
The second concern is that of the Medical examiner’s office handling unattended deaths. When a person is lost to a tragedy, the family understandably is in shock. The police show up and take control of the scene, ask the family what funeral home they would like to have contacted, and then they inform the M.E.. Traditionally, the funeral home will be contacted and come to the scene to help maintain the integrity of the deceased and to talk with and assist the family. For the last two years, when the M.E. has been contacted, they dispatched their contracted service for removal never notifying the funeral home selected by the family until the deceased is ready to be released in two to four days. Bypassing a simple courtesy call to let the funeral home know they have been requested by the family. The family is left in shock with no guidance or answers when they need it the most.
The State funeral board has been diligent and committed to maintain the open working relationship with the Medical Examiner’s office, but, on these two issues, they must be held accountable.
The Committee, Shaun Cummings, Todd Martin, Ben Gallo, and Brian Douglas.
7. Legal Update
A. Possible vote to enter into executive session pursuant to 25 O.S. Section 307(B)(4) for confidential communication between the Funeral Board and its attorney concerning pending litigation in the case of BancFirst v. Brown et al, Lincoln County District Court, Case No. CJ-2012-96, when with the advice of its attorney, the Funeral Board determines that disclosure would seriously impair the ability of the Funeral Board to process or conduct or defend its claim in the pending litigation.
B. Vote to enter open session.
C. Possible vote on matters discussed in executive session. No action was taken
8. New Business - No new business
9. Deputy Director’s Report
A. Medical Examiner update - Chris Ferguson reported that the Medical Examiner’s Office has a monthly meeting today in which they will be discussing agency goals for FY14, the new facility, and Cremation permit problems and solutions for the near future. Also Dr. John has resigned from the Tulsa Office.
10. Executive Director's Report - Mark Riley reported that during the month of May, there was -$24,320.37 income after expenses created by receiving $ 2,883.78 in net revenue with $ 27,204.15 in expenses. For the year, the net income currently stands at $ 7214.12.
Agency audit results - Jeff Brown from the Oklahoma Auditors Office. The Funeral Board recently was audited by the Oklahoma State Auditor. This procedure takes place every three years. The financial cost for this audit is going to be about $9,000. The board currently budgets about $3,000 per year for this audit.
They found two areas of concern;
-With the limited staff in the office, there is an opportunity for a staff member to accept money and issue a license. This does not allow for enough segregation of duties. The actual board members are being advised that they need to have more involvement in the daily operation of the office. There is no evidence of any wrong doing in the audit period, however this is something that needs to be addressed. This same concern was expressed in the last audit, however there was no solution offered at that time
-The board expenditures are being sent to the Board in a PDF format so that each member can review all expenses for understanding and further oversight. The auditor’s office also noted that there was no evidence of improper expenditures discovered during the audit.
Agency Legislation implementation
The new Oklahoma Funeral Board Rules go into effect July 11, 2013.The new Oklahoma Funeral Board Statutes go into effect November 1, 2013.
11. Strategic planning - The Board has not definitively determined to pursue all of the items. Rather, it was decided to work with the industry in the crafting of any rules or statutes and seeks honest input and feedback at the beginning of the process for these proposals. The Board does not wish to divert scant resources to move to the legislative level and only then find out there are irreconcilable concerns within the industry.
A. Discussion and possible action regarding election of officers for FY 2014 Board. Mike Phenix was elected President and Cindy Longanacre was elected Vice President
B. Discussion and possible action regarding changes to Rules
1. Nolo Contendere - The question was asked to the new assistance Attorney General if they needed or did not need. The Board was advised by previous AAG that it was something that they did need. The new AAG said that she would look into this further and suggested the board give to her the proposed language.
2. Investigative Subpoena Power - The way it is now, if the board needs evidence they must set a hearing date and lay out the charges in order to subpoena necessary evidence. The Board wishes to have that authority prior to setting a hearing so the investigation can be concluded prior to initiating the formal prosecution. Mrs. Longanacre brought up that the Oklahoma Nursing Board has this power and the AAG brought up that the Pharmacy Board also has this power. The AAG is going to talk to Jeffrey Long the new Policy Director for the Attorney General to gain some insight.
3. Embalming Reports - Look at requiring an actual embalming report in lieu of the Embalming Log.
4. Refrigeration requirement - Look at possible regulation in regards to capacity. Also, the Board considered potential requirement of refrigeration in new establishments, similar to preparation room requirement and exemption. It would grandfather current establishments. This would be for all new establishments.
5. Cremation reporting requirement - Current statue requires annual cremation report, however board has never enforced. The Board is considering some kind of summary on License Renewal for Crematories.
6. Board information to consumer’s requirement - Possibly a brochure on how to file a complaint or give all the board info. This could be on website so fh's could print off. Texas has this now and Hospice in Oklahoma has this.
7. Board appointed committee for recommendations to full Board - Staff was also directed to contact the Committee members and inquire about serving on the committee for the upcoming year.
8. Fee increase for Funeral Establishment, Crematories, Funeral Director, or Embalmers Licenses or any other fees that the Board charges.- Fee Increase -The Speakers freeze on all fee increases statewide did not pass, therefore there is a strong desire to run these again next session.
C. Discussion and possible action regarding changes to Statutes
1. Funeral Director only license - Mr. Dugger stated that this came up in the past presidents luncheon at convention this year. There may be a committee appointed to look at this, also to look at what the last committee did as well as too look at the Texas model.
D. Discussion and possible action regarding Board Operations
1. Inspections of Funeral Homes & Crematories - The board did approve continuing to do inspections and there is a possibility that the Board Members themselves (only the licensed members) may began to do inspections (not their competitors or their own firms), in order to try to get more inspections completed.
2. Future Funeral Board Projects - The board is going to look at sending staff to the NFDA/CANA training in Austin prior to the annual convention.
3. Court Reporter at hearings
4. Funeral Board Agency Consolidation & Sunset - Board is aware that there is desire at the capital to consolidate agencies, as well it was stated that there is a movement by some funeral directors to see the Funeral Board be sunsetted.
5. Discussion and possible action regarding FY 14 Budget - They approved the FY 2014 budget. This budget very similar to the FY 2013 Budget
6. Discussion and possible action on Board’s involvement with the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
7. Discussion and possible action on the employment, hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining, or resignation of the executive director, deputy director, inspector, or secretary.
8. Vote on possible executive session pursuant to 25 O.S. Supp 2011, Subsection 307 (B) (1) Discussing the employment, hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining or resignation of the executive director, deputy director, inspector, or secretary.
9. Possible action to be taken as a result of the executive session concerning the employment, hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining or resignation of the executive director, deputy director, inspector, or secretary. The Board reaffirmed Mr Riley’s salary to be set at the statutorily maximum. Mr. Ferguson was given a 7% increase in his yearly salary. Mrs. Longanacre said the board felt very strongly in giving both individuals a nominal raise, stating that losing both employees would cost the board much more than providing a raise. “It was very strongly felt by every board member that they have done a phenomenal job," Longanacre said. "They have absorbed the workload without complaint and have kept up their usual quality of work. We felt that not only did they deserve a raise, but that it is important from a fact of retention. To turn over either of those positions it would ultimately cost the board more as we scrounge for a replacement." Longanacre described the raise as a retention tool of the boards as well as a reward for two hardworking employees.
12. Adjournment -12:38 pm
Mark Riley Executive Director