VOLUME 47, ISSUE 8
Issue Date: April 20, 2015
Law and Public Safety
Division of Consumer Affairs
State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey
Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9 and 9.7 and 13:36 Appendix
Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected; General Price List
Authorized By: State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, Khaled Madin, Acting Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:7-38.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2015-041.
Submit written comments by
June 19, 2015, to:
Khaled Madin, Acting Executive Director
State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45009
Newark, New Jersey 07101
The agency proposal follows:
The State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey (Board) proposes amending the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected (SFGSS) described in N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9 and the example provided in the chapter appendix. The proposed amendments reflect changes in the industry, make it easier for customers to understand the services and merchandise offered and purchased, and provide practitioners with flexibility to tailor the SFGSS to fit their business needs.
The Board recognizes that within the last 10 years the industry has changed with respect to the goods and services offered to and sought by consumers, and that its licensees have different business models. Also, because of a diverse religious and secular clientele throughout the State, some of the existing items are no longer routinely offered by all practitioners; consumers are often confused as to why they appear on the SFGSS. The Board wants to provide practitioners with the flexibility to tailor the SFGSS to fit their business needs while retaining a standard organization of the statement. It believes that a consistent, standard format for the SFGSS benefits consumers and is easier to enforce.
N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9 sets forth the format for the SFGSS that licensees are required to provide to consumers. The Board proposes amending the SFGSS to update it to better reflect current industry practices, to remove some items that are no longer routinely offered to customers, and to broaden some of the identified categories to encompass a wider variety of types of funeral services. The proposed amendments also provide licensees with the ability to tailor the SFGSS to include specific items that they offer to their customers.
In addition, the Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(a)1 to require practitioners to include on the SFGSS language that "The statement is subject to change by agreement of the parties." The Board believes this additional language will make it clear that, consumers and licensees are permitted to discuss and agree to changes to the funeral goods and services previously selected. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(f), any change authorized by the purchaser must be reflected on the final bill.
The Board proposes modifying the category of "Professional Services" to replace the item "Sanitary Care, Without Embalming" with "Other preparation of the body." This broader categorization includes a wider range of services, such as cosmetic work to prepare the deceased for viewing, and washing and disinfecting when that procedure is used instead of embalming.
The Board also proposes to remove from the list of specified merchandise items: clothing, urn, prayer cards, acknowledgement cards, and register book because these items are no longer routinely offered or selected by consumers. Proposed N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(g) will allow practitioners to fill in items of goods or services that they offer and that are not specifically identified on the SFGSS.
Under "Cash Disbursements" the Board proposes re-ordering the items specified in this category, such that state permit and filing fees and certified copies of the death certificate appear first because these items are commonly ordered. The Board proposes to separately itemize the permit and filing fees from the copies of the death certificate, so that the applicable costs for these separate items is clear. The Board also proposes amending the SFGSS to make it clear to customers the number of copies of the death certificate that will be ordered and the cost per copy. The Board is also modifying the language regarding permit fees to encompass permit and filing fees from other states. The Board also proposed to remove "pallbearers" from the specified list of items because paid [page=765] pallbearers are not frequently requested. This item, therefore, does not need to be pre-printed on the form and can be written in as necessary. In addition, the Board proposes amending "Newspaper Notices" to broaden it to "Obituary charges" to encompass the placement of both print and online obituary notices.
The Board also proposes amending "Package Reduction" to "Price Reduction" to clarify that the reduction in price may apply to both individual items and an entire package of items. In accordance, with this change, the Board proposes to amend the language in N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(d).
A provision of N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(c) recognizes that the SFGSS may include optional packaged services that combine services otherwise enumerated separately on the statement. This provision states that if an optional package service is selected, other categories of services offered are not applicable. The Board is concerned that this statement can be misinterpreted as prohibiting licensees from providing other services in conjunction with optional packaged services. As such, combinations are not prohibited, the Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(c) to remove this possibly misleading statement and replace it with language directing the consumer to review the General Price List for a list of services included in the optional package. In accordance with this change, the Board proposes to amend the language in N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(d).
The Board is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(g) to specifically allow practitioners to fill in items of goods or services that they offer and that are not specifically identified on the SFGSS. This additional language makes it clear that practitioners can tailor the statement to fit their business needs and that they have the ability to add an offered good or service that the Board has not included. Because the Board believes that a consistent format is necessary to enforce a standard of practice, the proposed amendment also makes it clear that a licensee may not change the organization of the statement.
The Board currently provides at N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(c) Category IV - Merchandise item #8 that items may be packaged for individual items less than $ 400.00 each. The Board believes that it is more appropriate to address this on the General Price List rather than the SFGSS. Therefore, the Board proposes removing from N.J.A.C. 13:36-1.9(c)8 and adding to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.7 that, if offered, individual items worth less than $ 400.00 that are offered in a single package must be included in the General Price List.
The Board also proposes to amend the "Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected" in the chapter appendix to reflect the specified changes above.
The Board has determined that the comment period for this notice of proposal shall be 60 days. Therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
The Board believes that the proposed amendments will have a positive impact on the practitioners and the public to which they provide services. The amendments address diverse consumer preferences and practice changes in the industry, promote clearer consumer understanding, and allow funeral homes greater flexibility in tailoring their business to meet consumer needs. The amendments also clarify that licensees are not prohibited from providing other services in conjunction with optional packaged services.
The proposed amendments may have a small economic impact to the extent that funeral homes will need to print new statements to comply with the amendments. The Board believes that the benefits of updating the form to reflect diverse consumer preferences and practice changes in the industry, and promoting consumer understanding outweighs the slight costs incurred by the licensees.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments are governed by N.J.S.A. 45:7-32 et seq., and are not subject to any Federal requirements or standards.
The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will result in the creation or the loss of jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will have any impact on the agriculture industry of the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Currently, the Board licenses approximately 1,700 practitioners of mortuary science and registers approximately 730 mortuaries. Because practitioners of mortuary science are individually licensed, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., they may be considered "small businesses" for the purposes of the Act.
The proposed amendments may impose a small increase in costs as discussed in the Economic Impact above. The practitioners will not need to employ any professional services to comply with the requirements of the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments impose no recordkeeping or reporting requirements, but impose compliance requirements as detailed in the Summary above.
As the compliance requirements contained in the proposed amendments promote clearer consumer understanding for all consumers who receive services from practitioners of mortuary science, the Board believes the rules should apply to all members of the regulated community. Therefore, no differing compliance requirements are imposed upon any licensed mortuaries based upon their size.
Housing Affordability Impact Analysis
The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on affordable housing in New Jersey and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the rules would evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed amendments concern the "Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected."
Smart Growth Development Impact Analysis
The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on smart growth and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the rules would evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2, or within designated centers, under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in New Jersey because the proposed amendments concern the "Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected."
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface
thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
SUBCHAPTER 1. ADMINISTRATION
13:36-1.9 Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected
(a) When making preneed and/or at need funeral arrangements, as defined in N.J.A.C. 13:36-11.1, the practitioner shall compile a Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected. The statement shall be on a pre-printed, single-sided sheet of paper that is at least 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, but no more than 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches, and shall include at least the following information:
1. The full name of the funeral home, address, telephone number, manager's name, title and license number, and funeral file number, [and] whether the statement is being completed for an at need arrangement or a preneed arrangement, as defined in N.J.A.C. 13:36-11.1, or for a price quotation only, and the language "This statement is subject to change by agreement of the parties";
2.-8. (No change.)
(b) (No change.)
(c) All charges relative to the funeral shall be categorized as follows and the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected shall contain the following information:
STATEMENT OF FUNERAL GOODS AND SERVICES SELECTED
Charges are only for those items that you selected or that are required. If we are required by law or by a cemetery or crematory to use any items, we will explain the reasons in writing below.
[CATEGORY] I.[--] PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
[1.] Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff $
[2.] Embalming (including use of preparation room and
sanitary care) [$]
If you selected a funeral that may require embalming, such as a funeral with viewing, you may have to pay for embalming. You do not have to [page=766] pay for embalming you did not approve if you selected arrangements such as a direct cremation or immediate burial. If we charged for embalming, we will explain why below.
[3. Sanitary Care, Without Embalming $]
[4.] Other [(Specify)]
preparation of the body [$]
Professional Services TOTAL $
[CATEGORY] II.[--]OTHER STAFF AND RELATED FACILITIES
Use of facilities and staff for:
[1. Use of Facilities and Staff for Viewing]
[2. Use of Facilities and Staff for] Funeral Ceremony [$]
[3. Use of Facilities and Staff for] Memorial Service [$]
Use of equipment and staff for:
[4. Use of Equipment and Staff for] Graveside Service
(including accompaniment of remains to place of
final disposition) [$]
[5. Use of Equipment and Staff for Funeral Service Off Premise $]
[6.] Other ([Specify]
Other Staff and Related Facilities TOTAL $
[1.] Transfer of Remains to Funeral Home $
[2. Use of] Hearse [$]
[3. Use of] Limousine[(s)] [$]
[4. Use of Flower Car(s) $]
[5.] Other ([Specify]
Transportation TOTAL $
OPTIONAL PACKAGED SERVICES
1. Direct Cremation $
2. Immediate Burial [$]
3. Forwarding [or Receiving] Remains [$]
4. Receiving Remains
[If an optional packaged service is selected, Categories I through III are not applicable.]
(If you select an optional package, see General Price List for a list of included services)
Optional Packaged Services TOTAL $
[CATEGORY] IV.[--] MERCHANDISE
[1.] Casket or Alternative Container:
Type of material
Interior material $
[2.] Vault/Outer Burial Container:
Type of material [$]
[3. Clothing $]
[4. Urn $]
[5. Prayer Cards $]
[6. Acknowledgment Cards $]
[7. Register Book $]
[8.] Other [(Specify)--Items may be packaged for individual
items less than $ 400.00 each)]
Merchandise TOTAL $
FUNERAL HOME CHARGES TOTAL (I-IV &
Packaged Services) $
[CATEGORY] V.[--]CASH DISBURSEMENTS (Estimated)
Disposition: state permit and filing fees $
Certified copies of death certificate #____ @ $_____
[1.] Cemetery or [Crematory]
[2. Clergy and/or Church]
Officiant and/or place of
[3. Pallbearers $]
[4. Organist and/or Soloist]
Music (specify) [$]
[5. Certified Copies of Death Certificate and Permit Fee $]
[6. Newspaper Notices]
Obituary charges [$]
[7.] Other [(Specify)]
cash disbursements (specify) [$]
Cash disbursements TOTAL $
TOTAL OF ESTIMATED CHARGES
(I-V & packaged
[(Category I-V & Packaged Services) $]
PRICE REDUCTION (If [Applicable]
GRAND TOTAL OF ESTIMATED CHARGES $
. . .
(d) A practitioner who offers the Optional Packaged Services and has that offer accepted by a consumer shall not be required to detail the charges for Categories I through III set forth in (c) above[, which are then not applicable]. It shall not be mandatory for practitioners to include the category of "Optional Packaged Services" on the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected if they do not offer for sale the services of Direct Cremation, Immediate Burial, Forwarding of Remains, and/or Receiving of Remains or to include the "[Package]
Price Reduction" category, if this category is not utilized by practitioners. A practitioner shall not include any charges for Category V cash disbursements in any Optional Packaged Services.
(e)-(f) (No change.)
(g) A practitioner may utilize a photocopy of the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected contained in
the chapter Appendix [A], incorporated herein by reference, to satisfy the requirements of this section.
A practitioner may fill in blank lines to customize the goods and services provided. If a practitioner does not use the chapter Appendix, the practitioner must use a Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected that includes all of the required information and disclosures and follows the same basic format as the chapter Appendix.
SUBCHAPTER 9. PREVENTION OF UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ACTS AND PRACTICES
13:36-9.7 General price list
(a) (No change.)
(b) Funeral providers shall include on the price list, in any order, the retail prices (expressed either as the flat fee, or as the price per hour, mile, or other unit of computation) and the other information specified below for at least each of the following items, if offered for sale:
1.-12. (No change.)
13. Other automotive equipment, together with a description of the automotive equipment provided for any quoted price; [and]
14. Acknowledgement cards[.]
15. Individual items of merchandise of less than $ 400.00 each that are offered together as a packaged item.
(c)-(d) (No change.)
(Agency Note: The text of N.J.A.C. 13:36 Appendix is reproduced below, without proposed change symbolization, the amendments are described in the Summary above.)
In order to ensure your comments are received, please send your comments concerning any rule proposals via email to DCAProposal@dca.lps.state.nj.us.
Please include the following in your email:
Email Subject Line: Rule Proposal Subject
Email Body: Comments to the Rule Proposal, Name, Affiliation and Contact Information (email address and telephone number)