Bill Summaries: H296 (2015-2016 Session)

  • Summary date: Mar 19 2015 - View summary

    Repeals (d) of GS 58-58-97 (Provision of life insurance information upon notification of insured's death), which deemed a licensee or employee of a licensed funeral establishment unfit for practice for making a false request for information under this section or failing to do actions required by the statute.

    Amends GS 90-210.23 to provide that the reinspection fee for funeral establishments or embalming facilities that fail to meet the article's requirements is to be based on the actual costs of reinspection after considering the salary of any employees involved and any expenses incurred during the reinspection, with a maximum fee of $300 per reinspection. Allows charging a reinspection fee of no more than $25 per submission if after an inspection a funeral establishment is found to have any required documents out of compliance.

    Amends GS 90-210.25 to require applicants for licensure for the practice of funeral directing, for the practice of embalming, and for the practice of funeral services to have passed an exam that also includes the standards set forth in the most recent version of the Funeral Industry Practices. Allows resident trainees granted an extension of time under GS 105-249.2 to file a tax return to be given an extension of time for renewing a certificate of resident traineeship equal to the number of days that the trainee engaged in active service in the US Armed Forces is on active deployment. Allows charging a late fee of up to $50 for each work report filed after the due date. Allows the North Carolina Board of Funeral Services (Board) to revoke, suspend, or refuse to issue or renew a certificate of resident traineeship or place a trainee on probation for violations of the article or Board rules. Requires renewal of Board-issued licenses before January 1 (was, February 1) of the calendar year for which the license is to be renewed. Adds new criteria to established criteria that allows a licensee to practice funeral directing or funeral service without owning, being employed by, or being an agent of a licensed funeral establishment, to include (1) obtaining and maintaining professional liability insurance with limits of at least $1 million, with specified requirements for submitting proof of the insurance and notifying the Board of any change to such insurance and (2) providing funeral directing services to no more than two funeral establishments, with a requirement to submit identifying information of the establishments to the Board annually, with any changes due to the Board within 30 days of change. Allows the Board to suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew the permit; place the permittee on a term of probation; or accept a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 in conjunction with a term of probation or in lieu of other disciplinary action when it finds that any person permitted to transport dead bodies has engaged in any of the 11 acts, including false or misleading advertising; failing to treat a dead body with respect; and practicing funeral directing, funeral services, or embalming without a license. Deletes the timing requirement for filing applications for funeral establishment permits. Also requires the renewal application and fee for funeral establishment permits be submitted by January 1 (was, February 1). Prohibits issuing more than one funeral establishment permit to the same building or property. Provides that a funeral establishment cannot contract or affiliate with more than two licensees which are permitted under GS 90-210.25(a2)(2). Also requires any funeral establishment that contracts with such a licensee to report specified information to the Board, with any changes to the submitted information due to the Board within 30 days of the change occurring. Adds to the offenses for which the Board may deem an applicant for licensure or a licensee unfit to practice to include (1) failure to refund any insurance proceeds received as consideration in excess of the funeral contract purchase price within 60 days, (2) failure to provide the purchased funeral goods and services or a refund of the purchase price within a reasonable time, and (3) violation of GS 58-58-97 (Provision of life insurance information upon notification of insured's death). Makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly or willfully abuse, mutilate, or fail to treat with reasonable care and concern a dead body in a person's custody. Gives the Board the authority to determine the length and conditions of any period of revocation, suspension, refusal to issue or renew, or probation for resident traineeship for those allowed to transport human bodies, funeral establishment permittees, and licensees. Makes clarifying and conforming changes.

    Amends GS 90-210.27A to allow suspending the requirements for preparation rooms in funeral establishments if the preparation room is damaged by fire, weather, or other natural disaster. Allows suspension for a period not to exceed 180 days, provided the establishment complies with other specified requirements and laws. Sets a chapel registration to expire on December 31 of each year, after which a late fee is also required. Allows the Board to suspend, revoke, refuse to issue or renew, or place on probation any funeral chapel registration for violations of the Article or Board rules and allows the board to determine the length and conditions of the punishment. Provides that to receive a suspension of more than 90 days, the applicant must show good cause for additional time. Also establishes liability insurance requirements for funeral establishments, which must have limits of at least $1 million. Sets out other requirements regarding the maintaining of liability insurance.  Establishes that human remains must be stored in a licensed funeral establishment or licensed crematory when the remains are not in transit for visitation or funeral service.

    Amends GS 90-210.28 to make a conforming change by deleting the $100 establishment and embalming facility reinspection fee. Adds in the $25 Funeral Industry Practices document reinspection fee.

    Amends GS 90-210.29B to provide that documents containing information collected or compiled by the Board or its inspectors or employees as a result of a complaint, investigation, audit, or interview in connection with a license application are not considered public record until the Board has taken final action.

    Amends GS 90-210.61 to provide that the preneed funeral fund requirements in (a)(2), allowing up to 10% of any payments to be retained, apply to those contracts executed before January 1, 2015.

    Amends GS 90-210.63(a) to provide that for preneed funeral contracts executed on or after January 1, 2015, the licensee may retain an administrative fee not to exceed 10% of the funds on deposit at the time of transfer if the amount is agreed upon in writing. Requires any funeral establishment holding a permit that accepts the transfer of a preneed funeral contract after the death of the contract beneficiary to file the certificate of performance with the Board and mail a copy to the contracting preneed licensee. Specifies requirements if the preneed funeral contract is performed by an establishment in another state. 

    Enacts new GS 90-210.63B allowing cancellation of a preneed funeral contract by a preneed licensee if specified conditions apply, including that the value of all insurance policies does not exceed $500.

    Amends GS 90-210.64(d) to increase the referenced preneed funeral fund balances to $1,000 or less (was, $100 or less).

    Amends GS 90-210.67 to allow preneed licensees to sell preneed funeral contracts and prearrangement insurance policies and make funded funeral prearrangements only on behalf of one preneed funeral establishment licensee, provided that the preneed sales licensee may also sell contracts or policies at any preened establishment owned by the same corporation or at two more more establishments owned by different individuals or entities located within a 30-mile radius. Requires obtaining a preneed sales license at each establishment at which the licensee sells preneed funeral contracts or preneed insurance policies or makes funded funeral arrangements. Makes clarifying changes. Allows funeral establishments to purchase the required bond from any company authorized to sell bonds in this state or deposit $50,000 with the clerk of superior court in the county where the preneed funeral establishment maintains its facility that is licensed or applying for licensure. Provides that the bond requirement does not apply for failure to timely renew the license. Requires licenses to be renewed before January 1 (was, on or before the first day of February).

    Amends GS 90-210.68 to base the reinspection fee for preneed licensees on the actual cost of the reinspection after considering the salary of any employees involved and any expenses incurred. Requires that in January 2015, and each subsequent January, preneed licensees must prepare and submit an annual report to the Board on their preneed funeral contract sales and performance of preneed funeral contracts.

    Amends GS 90-210.69 to allow the Board to determine the length and conditions of any period of probation, revocation, suspension, or refusal to issue or renew a preneed license. Deletes GS 90-210.69(c)(3), which previously established that a conviction involving a crime of fraud or moral turpitude could be used by the Board as a basis to refuse to issue or renew a license or to suspend or revoke a license.

    Amends GS 90-210.73 providing that financial information used to demonstrate solvency in connection with a required bond are not public records.

    Repeals GS 90-210.80 through GS 90-210.107 (Article 13E concerning Mutual Burial Associations). Effective January 1, 2015.

    Amends GS 90-210.81 deleting the provision making it the duty of the Board of Funeral Services to take charge of the books of any association that fails to comply with the specified requirements.

    Enacts GS 90-210.108 prohibiting, on or after January 1, 2016, owing or operating a burial association unless the association complies with the requirements imposed on an insurance company or insurer. Violations are a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    Amends GS 90-210.123 to require crematory licenses to be renewed before January 1 (was, on or before the first day of February). Allows the suspension, revocation, or refusal to issue or renew a crematory license for violating the most recent version of the Funeral Industry Practices. Allows the Board to determine the length and conditions of punishment. Requires reinspection fees to take into consideration the salary of any employees involved and expenses incurred during the reinspection. Allows Board inspectors (was, Board members) to serve notice, subpoenas, and papers. Requires that an owner of a cremation facility must be a licensed funeral director or funeral service licensee. Establishes that any crematory inspected and found to not meet all of the requirements of this Article must pay a reinspection fee for each additional inspection. Reinspection fee cannot exceed $300 per reinspection.

    Enacts new GS 90-210.123(f1), providing that a crematory must sell or offer only cremation services, including the making of preneed cremation arrangements, or sell or offer containers, urns, and other cremation merchandise through a person licensed by the Board to practice funeral directing or funeral service who is an owner, employee, or agent of the crematory.

    Amends GS 90-210.124(b), providing in what circumstances the director of social services becomes vested with all interests and rights to a dead body. Establishes that the director must authorize and arrange for disposition, including cremation, of the body.

    Amends GS 90-210.129 providing that for any death occurring in North Carolina certified by the attending physician or other person authorized by law to sign a death certificate under the supervision of a physician, the body will not be cremated before the crematory licensee receives a death certificate signed by the person authorized to sign the death certificate. Specifies that (a) applies to deaths occurring in the state. Provides that for deaths occurring outside of the state, a crematory licensee may not cremate a body without first obtaining a copy of a burial-transit permit issued by the jurisdiction where the death occurred and either (1) a death certificate from the other jurisdiction that meets the same requirements as in (a) or (2) any document or certificate required to authorize cremation in the jurisdiction where the death occurred that is signed by a physician, medical examiner, or other authorized person that contains all of the required information. Provides exceptions to the prohibitions on cremating more than one person in the same cremation chamber.

    Amends GS 90-210.132 to add hydrolysis to the crematory fee schedule and removes the $100 reinspection fee.

    Makes a clarifying change in GS 90-210.133(c).

    Enacts new GS 90-210.136 to require licensure before hydrolyzing human remains. Provides that except as otherwise provided, the license for the hydrolysis of human remains has the same requirements and fees as licensing of crematories, and the Board has the same powers over hydrolysis licensees as over the practice of cremation. Provides for the disposal of remaining residue or remains and for the containment of remains.

    Amends GS 130A-415  exempting licensed funeral directors or funeral service licensees in North Carolina from the provisions of this subsection. Enacts new GS 130A-415(j), requiring funeral directors or funeral service licensees in North Carolina, with physical possession of a dead body, to make reasonable efforts to contact relatives of the deceased or other persons who might wish to claim the body for final disposition. Sets out procedures and responsibilities to follow if the body remains unclaimed. Sets out procedures for when the Commissioner of Anatomy fails to request delivery of the abandoned dead body within two days of receiving notification. Makes conforming and clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 130A-420 to provide that the guardian of the person has the authority to direct the final disposition of the remains of the ward through authorized methods, if executed before the death of the ward, unless expressly prohibited by the order of appointment. Establishes in the statute that a person who does not exercise his or her right to dispose of the decedent's body under subsection (b) of this section within five days' notice or 10 days from the date of death, whichever is earlier, is deemed to have waived his or her right to authorize disposition of the decedent's body or to contest disposition. Sets out who retains authority of decedent's body in the case of a waiver occurring.Provides that once the burial of an individual is completed, the method and location of disposition may not be changed unless otherwise authorized by law or by a court order showing good cause.

    Includes a severability clause.

    Effective December 1, 2015.

  • Summary date: Mar 18 2015 - View summary

    To be summarized.