AGEG News


2023 AGEG Clinic

March 6 - 8, 2023

Edgar H. Wilson Convention Center in Macon, GA 

Continuing Education & Exhibits

Continuing Education Offering: Ten (10) Hours

CLICK HERE for more information. 


AGEG is Accepting Proposals for Continuing Education Programs

As the AGEG Board of Directors plan future events, they want to hear from those with presentations for funeral service professionals. 
CLICK HERE for more information on how to submit your program for consideration. 


The Odd One Out: How Isolation Hurts Death Care Professionals
by Jason Troyer, PhD

My wife did not want to talk about it. I had come home and waited patiently through dinner. Our young daughters had run off to play and now I was ready to share.

I had spent my day at a local funeral home (the funeral home I now work for). I had decided early in my career that if I was going to be writing articles and presenting to funeral and cemetery professionals, then I would need to spend more time “in the trenches.” As a grief psychologist, I had a lot of knowledge about the bereaved, but I would need to see the challenges and rewards of funeral service first-hand. The funeral home owners had allowed me to sit in on some arrangement conferences that day. After asking permission from the first family, I was ready to witness the process of planning a funeral.

The first arrangement conference of the day was to plan the funeral for a two-month-old. I will spare you the details, but death was tragic and accidental. As a former therapist, I’m no stranger to tough, emotional conversations – but I was not fully prepared for this. Thankfully, the funeral director I was shadowing was ready. He handled the entire meeting with empathy and professionalism. I marveled at his ability to know when to shift from allowing the parents to share their pain to offering personalized options that would allow them to begin to heal from this tragic loss.

When I arrived home, I wanted to share the experience with my wife. As a former child therapist, she has experience with difficult conversations and has dealt with painful, emotional topics. But she did not want to hear about the funeral arrangements for a baby. And yet I wanted to talk about it. That’s when it struck me. This is exactly what funeral and cemetery professionals deal with every day. You regularly see and hear things that other people never want to think about. You are the “odd one” in your community – and in some cases, even to your own families.

I could imagine the funeral director I had shadowed that day going to a barbeque with a group of friends later that night. While the accountant could complain about the stress of tax season and the teacher could share stories about unruly children and disgruntled parents, he already knew that no one wanted to hear about his day at the funeral home. Even his spouse would not want to hear the details of his day. And so, he would have to keep it inside – like the thousands of other funeral and cemetery professionals who perform the same duties each day.

I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had witnessed. In hindsight, the events of that day were the seed that grew to become my presentation on preventing burnout in funeral and cemetery professionals.

Given the challenging two years we have all had, I want to share three tips for dealing with the challenges of funeral and cemetery service.

1) Find Your People
It may be impossible to shake the “odd one” status within your community. That makes it critical that you seek out fellow funeral professionals who really understand the pressures of your field. This is why organizations like FCCFA are so important — you must “find your people.” When you are with them, take time to share stories and support, learn new strategies and tools, and ask your colleagues how they deal with various challenges of the profession. This opportunity to connect personally and professionally is invaluable.

2) Get Physical & Psychological Distance
There is no substitute for taking time away from work. Owners and managers must have reasonable expectations and workloads for their staff members. Given the nature of funeral and cemetery service, there will always be busy days and busy weeks. But too often I hear about professionals that never have slower weeks nor do they provide adequate vacation time. Achieving “psychological distance” is difficult because cell phones can keep you tied to the business even when you are away, but look for creative solutions and schedules so you can find times when you can turn off your phone.

3) Treat Employees as Well as You Treat Customers
While serving the needs of bereaved families is critical, I have seen too many situations where employees were treated like they were expendable. While poor service for a family may result in losing a few future calls, burned out employees will negatively affect every call. Owners and managers should also remember that employees are critical for marketing and are very expensive to replace. Support your employees by providing them with stress reduction resources, educational opportunities, and reasonable work conditions.
Funeral and cemetery professionals deal with extraordinary stressors and work conditions. Not everyone is able to survive to these unique demands. But I hope that death care professionals can go beyond simply “getting by” in this challenging field. It is time to take some of the attention and concern that you show every family that walks through your front door and begin practicing better care for yourself and your colleagues.

Dr. Jason Troyer is a grief psychologist who helps funeral homes and cemeteries connect with their communities through presentations & CE trainings for hospice professionals, his customized app, Facebook service, and grief booklets. He can be found at www.JasonTroyer.com and reached at DrJasonTroyer@gmail.com.


FTC Voted to Retain the Funeral Service Rule & Issue Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On October 20, 2022, the commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to retain the Funeral Rule and issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning potential amendments to the rule, including whether and how funeral providers should be required to display or distribute their price information online and through electronic means. 

More information will be provided when it becomes available. 


Change in National Cemetery
Scheduling Office Hours

Effective November 7, 2022, the National Cemetery Scheduling Office operational hours will be as follows:

  • Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 7:30 pm ET
  • Saturday from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET
  • Sunday: The office will be closed


Georgia State Board of Funeral Service

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
TO THE GEORGIA STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL SERVICE
CHAPTER 250-6 ESTABLISHMENT/CREMATORY LICENSURE AND REGULATIONS,
RULE 250-6-.08 DETERMINATION OF FUNERAL DIRECTOR IN FULL AND CONTINUOUS CHARGE
AND NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

The public will have an opportunity to comment upon and provide input into the proposed rule amendment at a public hearing to be held at 10:00 a.m., January 10, 2023 in the Office of the Secretary of State, Professional Licensing Boards Division, 237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, Georgia 31217. If the Board office remains closed due to the public health emergency (COVID-19), the hearing will be held via teleconference. Please see Board’s website for information on how to join the meeting via teleconference.

Interested parties affected by the rule may submit written comments to the Board no later than close of business on January 2, 2023. Written comments must be legible, signed, contain contact information from the maker (address, telephone number, email address), and addressed to Gabriel Sterling, Interim Division Director, Secretary of State, Professional Licensing Boards Division, Georgia State Board of Funeral Service, 237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, Georgia 31217. Written comments may be faxed to (866) 888-9718.

During the public hearing, anyone may present data, make a statement, comment, or offer a viewpoint or argument, whether orally or in writing. Lengthy statements or statements of a considerable technical or economic nature, as well as previously recorded messages, must be submitted for the official record. Oral statements will be limited to five (5) minutes per person.

To view the full notice and synopsis of proposed changes, click HERE.


Georgia State Office of Vital Records

GAVERS TECHNICAL TIPS

Resubmitting a Ticket
The Operations Support team is committed to resolving user-submitted tickets in a timely and thorough fashion. To ensure your ticket is handled properly, the ticket must contain as much information as possible. This will assist the team greatly as they work to resolve your issue. If there is a ticket that is lacking information, more research will be required, which could potentially prolong the amount of time it would normally take to resolve your ticket. When resubmitting a ticket complete the following fields:

  1. Is this a ticket resubmission? This field will have the options of “yes” or “no”. If you are resubmitting a ticket, choose “yes” and enter your ticket number in the next field. If this is the first time submitting a specific request, you can select “no”.
  2. If yes, provide the previous ticket number: This field will accept only numerical characters. If you answered yes to “is this a ticket resubmission” enter your previous ticket number in this field
  3. Record date of event: If you are submitting a ticket to request assistance with a record, enter the date of the event (DOB/DOD).


Submitting Birth and Death Requests

When requesting a birth record please provide the following: The name on the birth record, date of birth, parents' names, and SFN if available. If the record was amended, please provide the amended date or additional details.

When requesting a death record please provide the following: The name of the decedent, date of death, and SFN if available.


Submitting Tickets to Add Pronouncers/Certifiers and Attendants

When submitting tickets to add pronouncers/certifiers and attendants, please be sure to provide the following: the name of the pronouncer/certifier/attendant, the license number (unless not applicable), and full name and address of the facility where the registrant will be affiliated to list in the system.

UPCOMING WEBINARS

DECEMBER 7, 2022 - 10:00 AM
Vital Records Office Hours
Please join us for our upcoming Office Hours session. The goal in mind when creating this series was to give local and county stakeholders the opportunity to meet regularly, discuss issues and provide updates in a virtual townhall-like setting. We will have guest panelists at every meeting to answer questions and address concerns. Please register via the link below. If you have any questions, please contact your regional consultant.  REGISTER HERE


A MESSAGE FROM THE STATE REGISTRAR

Greetings from the State Office of Vital Records,

Recently, a new feature was added to GAVERS which allowed users from funeral homes and medical certifier offices to submit amendments or corrections to their records directly through GAVERS, without the need to submit separate requests through e-mail, mail, or fax. This was the first time since GAVERS launched that the system allowed electronic corrections to registered records. As of October 31st, 2022, funeral home and medical certifier users submitted more than 700 corrections.

In the coming months, we look forward to bringing similar features to our Birth users at hospitals & birth centers, and to our county vital records users who assist customers every day with certified copies. Please look for future announcements and training opportunities as these features become available in the coming months.

We hope these changes will help ensure we have the most up-to-date and accurate information on records. This helps all of us to serve the constituents of Georgia, and the agencies who depend on our data. Thank you for all you do to support the mission of Vital Records.

Sincerely,
Chris Harrison
State Registrar & Deputy Director
State Office of Vital Records
Georgia Department of Public Health


Member Spotlight

Let me start off by saying that I believe each of us are put on this earth for a purpose and are placed in the profession in which we belong for a purpose. I love the funeral profession. Over the years I have swept parking lots, cleaned toilets, washed cars, cut grass, painted, generally maintained physical facilities, worked nights, weekends and holidays. I have seen the best and worst in people at one of the most difficult time of their live and I have missed a lot of events with my family and have “been so worn out and depleted physically and/or mentally I could barely function and have prayed for the phone not to ring again…….but it all comes with the territory we call being a Funeral Director and Embalmer….and I love it.

I am a third generation native of Atlanta, Georgia. I attended DeKalb County, Georgia elementary and secondary schools and received a B.A. degree in from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. Following college I attended and graduated from (the late) Atlanta Law School receiving both a LL.B. and LL.M. degree. After working for a while I decided to follow my lifelong compassion since high school and entered the funeral profession. I attended and graduated Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service having the privilege of being taught by the late Russell Milison and received both an A.A. degree and Graduate Funeral Service Diploma. I have been employed in the funeral profession at several funeral homes, both corporate and private since 1977 having had the privilege of working at the three largest volume funeral homes in the metro Atlanta area. Leaving the funeral profession I taught at Gupton-Jones for a year but missed the funeral home atmosphere so I returned to what I loved. Now semi-retired I am still actively associated with A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory as I have been for the past 19 years. I am a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Georgia Funeral Directors Association and proud member of the Georgia Academy of Graduate Embalmers. I am fortunate to have had the same wife for 45 years resulting in two wonderful daughters and sons-in-law and four fantastic granddaughters and finally one grandson (not bad for an only child).

I am proud to be a member of the Academy of Graduate Embalmers of Georgia as I have been for the past 20 or so years. The annual clinics have always proven to be informative as well as educational. The 2022 clinic was one of the best clinics that, in my opinion, that I have ever attended and kudos should go to the Executive Director and each member of the board for not only this clinic but all of the past clinics which I have attended. Also, the benefit of seeing our friends and colleagues is a plus.

I chose the funeral service as a profession because it was always interesting to me. As a child spending time with Charlie and Charles “Sonny” Foster and being around Roswell Funeral Home there was always something about this profession that intrigued me. It was a way to help people. Back in the early 1980’s in a conversation when riding in the hearse in route to the cemetery with me Dr. Sam H. Coker former pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Atlanta told me “this is a ministry, no you are not in a pulpit preaching, but you minister to people in their time of need and help them through one of the roughest days of their life. This is something not everybody is called to do or is capable of doing”. Ever since this conversation my entire outlook on the funeral profession changed.

As it was put to me by one of my mentors “you can get a steak anywhere but people want and will pay for is the “sizzle”….this is what will set you and your establishment apart from the others……always remember that.” This has always been my goal over the years.

With the rise in cremation rate we, as funeral service professionals, need to put the “sizzle” back into funeral service, more serving the particular and individual needs of the family, more offering all available options for personalization of the funeral service and making the event stand out for them, more compassion and less “cookie cutter” same thing over and over. As the late John Wylie of H. M. Patterson & Son told me “ If a family can’t decide which of two things to do…think… show them how to do both…as long as it is not illegal or immoral we can do it.”

As to the future of embalming remember as Ernie Mosier at A. S. Turner & Sons put it “In the embalming process watch the hands of the deceased and not the hands of the clock.” Have the mindset of “attention to detail” remember this is part of the “sizzle”. It is the little things which add up and result in one big thing that will make the embalmer and your establishment outstanding in their field…..the “sizzle”.

With the increase in cremation we, as embalmers must do the best we can do in the preparation room. The funeral service itself can be outstanding and everything done to the most intricate detail BUT if mama doesn’t look like herself or the presentation is not up to the highest standards…..this will always “stick out” in the minds and memories of those loved ovens left behind. We owe it to ourselves as well as to those we are privileged to serve to do our professional best by using all of our training, experience and expertise in our field to make someone presentable and help insure the future of the open casket funeral service. Remember the funeral service begins with a properly presented body which is the main focus of and reason for every funeral service.





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Charles A. Nelson, Jr. CCO

AGEG Emeritus Member


AGEG continues to monitor federal, state, and other agencies for new or revised information and guidance.

We provide this information as a service to funeral service professionals so you may continue to safely serve your families and communities. 
AGEG Members receive AGEG News emails directly with guidance, information and resources critical to their business.
If you are not an AGEG member and have found the information useful, we hope you will join.  Visit our Membership page for more information. 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

CLICK HERE for our dedicated page. 

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
  • Infection Control - Postmortem Guidance - CLICK HERE

GEORIGA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
  • COVID-19 Funeral and Mortuary Science Guidance - CLICK HERE


FEMA Funeral Assistance for COVID-19 Related Deaths

CLICK HERE for more information and resources you can share with your families who may be eligible for reimbursement. 
Updated November 18, 2022


Monkeypox

CLICK HERE for our dedicated page. 

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
  • NEW 11-4-22 - Completing a Death Certificate in the Setting of Monkeypox - CLICK HERE
  • Transfer of Human Remains - CLICK HERE 
  • Personal Protective Equipment and Facility Design for Autopsy - CLICK HERE
  • Autopsy Procedures and Specimen Collection - CLICK HERE


Membership

AGEG members are a great pool of information for embalmers across the state and the southeast. We offer specific training for your profession and opportunities to earn your Continuing Education Hours for your licensing requirements. AGEG members receive a discounted rate event pricing and AGEG News. CLICK HERE to learn more. 


Member News

Are you an AGEG Member and have news you want to share with your colleagues?  We can help!  CONTACT US with details.  

Death Notifications

So we may notify our members, we respectfully request notices of funeral professionals and their loved ones passing be sent to the AGEG office via email. Notices will be shared with our members via email and posted on our public Facebook page, private Facebook group, included in our annual Memorial Service, and posted HERE

To view our 2022 Memorial Service video, visit HERE


Career Center

Do you have a job opportunity or seeing a new opportunity?
If you answered yes, CLICK HERE to for details on how to
submit your job opportunity or resume. 



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