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FCAI Annual Meeting: May 7
from your President's iPad ...
Board Nominees
Final Rights
Co-op Mortuary Contract Renewed
Help Wanted
Price Survey Updated
Matters of Conscience

Spring 2011


At The Library! at Cole and Ustick (corner of Cole and Ustick Rd. in Boise) Saturday, May 7, 12:30pm

Alliance members and the general public are invited to our annual meeting. Following a brief business meeting, we’re pleased to have Arthur A. Hart, Director Emeritus of the Idaho Historical Society present:


"Funerary Art"

exploring the way people have memorialized their dead with sculptural art on tombstones and monuments in Europe and America from the 17th Century to the present. Examples from several Idaho locations are included, even a few with humorous inscriptions.

Idaho Humanities Council logo This program is funded in part by the Idaho Humanities Council, a nonprofit organization that serves as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sent from your President's iPad...

As you might recall, last year I was nominated to the Board and at the June board meeting, voted into the position of President. One of the pleasures of my position is the opportunity to reflect (that is, if my memory cooperates) on the accomplishments of this past year ...

In July, we were provided a table, at no charge, at the Idaho Health Care Association – Idaho Center for Assisted Living and Idaho End-of-Life Coalition Annual Convention & Trade Show in order to disseminate information & brochures. There were more than 1200 registered caregivers in attendance, representing nursing homes, assisted living, home health, and hospice organizations from around the State. We also staffed an information table at the End-of-Life Coalition’s Tuesday night program that was open to the public. We had many people stop by our table to pick up information and express their appreciation for our organization. At the IHCAICAL- IdELC Convention this coming July, we have been given a one-hour time slot to present: “Don't Let Your Families Get Buried in Debt: 10 Tips for Saving Funeral Dollars.”

On January 13th Twin Falls TV station (KMVT-TV, KTWT-LP, KTID-LP) came out to the house to interview me about FCAI and funerals in general. The reporter filmed my home-made casket and cremation urn. The interview was included in a 3-part series that aired in the Twin Falls area in February.

In March, we re-negotiated our contract with Accent Funeral Home and completed our annual comparative price survey of funeral homes in Idaho.

As you know this is an all-volunteer organization. Your present Board Members have all but maxed out their terms. Tom von Alten has served 2 consecutive terms as allowed by the bylaws. Bryan Jennings and Ritta Nielsen have graciously stayed on beyond their original 3 year term commitments. My wife, Monica accepted a Board appointment to fill an opening on the Board, this year. This organization can’t function without volunteers! I am excited to report that we have a full slate of nominees to the Board, to present to you at the up-coming Membership meeting, BUT we still need YOU! At the annual meeting I will include on the sign-in sheet, a list of items we could use help with this next year. Please consider donating, if not your time, maybe a dollar or two to help maintain our ability to reach out, educate others and to continue to do the work we do.

Finally, we have arranged for Arthur Hart, Director Emeritus of the Idaho Historical Society to share with you his collection of cemetery art in a program entitled “Funerary Art.” I look forward to seeing everyone at The Library! at Cole & Ustick, Saturday, May 7th 12:30–2 pm.

Board Nominees

Our bylaws call for five board members, with three year, staggered terms. Of our current Board of Directors, only one member, Loyal Perry continues with 2 years remaining in his 3 year term (ending 2013).

Your current Board is pleased to present three members who have accepted the nomination to stand for election to our Board of Directors at our May 7 annual meeting:

Pat Cooper (for a 3 year term, ending 2014)
Susan Randall (3 year term, ending 2014)
Stephen Weiser (1 year term, ending 2012)

Please show your support and thank these individuals for volunteering their time to serve on your Board. Without them there would be no organization!

Cover of 'Final Rights'


The Funeral Consumers Alliance is now shipping advance copies of the new book written by FCA executive director Josh Slocum and Funeral Ethics Organization leader Lisa Carlson, Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death. This is the definitive book on the modern funeral industry, combining journalistic investigation with practical consumer advice. The only book of its kind, Final Rights unveils the tricks of the funeral trade (and how to avoid them) while calling out government regulators who dance to the $15-billion death industry's tune when they're supposed to be protecting you, the funeral consumer.

Final Rights has a chapter on the laws in each state, written in plain English. Find out how well (or how poorly) you're protected from funeral fraud, and learn where your state needs to reform. You can read the first chapter, "Circling the Hearses" (featuring the work of long-time activists and FCAI members Dave Robles and Marcia Racehorse-Robles) for free, and order the book from FCA's bookstore. It’s due in other bookstores in June.


In March, your Board renegotiated our contract with Accent Funeral Home, for another 2 years. After conducting our annual price survey, including other funeral homes in the Treasure Valley, the Board agreed to owner Randy Arnzen's request for a price increase of $50 and an increase in the transportation charge outside the local area. ("Local" is within 50 miles of Accent, in Meridian. If the place of death, crematory, cemetery, or interment is more distant, transportation is charged at $2 per highway mile beyond local, one-way.)

The member prices for minimal services remain the least expensive services available in Idaho. The price includes transportation of the body, obtaining necessary papers, certificates and permits, one copy of the death certificate, a minimal casket, a newspaper death notice, a $25 records fee remitted to the Alliance, and the crematory fee for direct cremation. It does not include embalming, viewing, use of the chapel for memorial services or any cemetery charges or services, or an obituary.

Through March, 2013, the member price is $730 for direct cremation and $755 for immediate burial. Our contract also provides for inexpensive or discounted additional services from Accent.

They say the number one reason people do not volunteer is because no one asks them ...

Please, consider yourself asked!

WANTED poster

Your Board meets once a month, 10 months of the year; the work is not strenuous, and it’s interesting and rewarding. Call Loyal at 336-8414 to "turn yourself in."

Comparative Cost of Funeral Services

Our updated, interactive price survey of the cost of funeral services in Idaho is here on our website.

Keeping an Eye On Prices

Funeral service providers are required to provide printed price information at the beginning of any discussion about funeral arrangements. The pamphlet "How to Read a Mortuary's General Price List" (PDF) describes what you need to know about a GPL.

If you visit a funeral home that’s not listed in our survey (there are about FIFTY more in Idaho), you can lend a helping hand to your Alliance: send us a copy (or an email, or give us a call) and we’ll add it to the list, for everyone’s benefit.

Matters of Conscience at End of Life

Idaho Legislature 2011

Last year’s Legislature passed the “Freedom of Conscience for Health Care Professionals,” providing that “no health care professional shall be required to provide any health care service that violates his or her conscience,” with “health care service” defined to include “end of life treatment and care.”

Gov. Otter allowed the bill to become law without signing it, explaining that "Greater care must be taken to ensure decisions within living wills and powers of attorney concerning end-of-life treatment are honored without additional burdens on the patient or family."

This year’s Legislature passed an amendment (H.B. 187) to last year’s bill , and the Governor did sign this time. The amendment provides that:

“In cases where a living will or physician's orders for scope of treatment (POST) is operative, as defined by [Idaho's] medical consent and natural death act, and a physician has a conscience objection to the treatment desired by the patient, the physician shall comply with the provisions of section 39-4513(2), Idaho Code, before withdrawing care and treatment to the patient.”

The referenced law provides immunity from civil or criminal liability for health care providers for withholding their services, as long as they "make a good faith effort to assist the patient in obtaining the services of another physician or other health care provider who is willing to provide care for the patient in accordance with the patient’s expressed or documented wishes.”

The next time you see your doctor would be a good time to talk about your Living Will and whether s/he is prepared to honor your wishes.

Thanks to our Donors ...

for financial contributions from Wylla Barsness, Ben & Jewel Garcia, Lelace Gregory, Cheryl Kleinbart & Pauline Crooke, and Betty Woods.

The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Idaho is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, an affiliate of the national Funeral Consumers Alliance. Donations to the FCAI are not tax-deductible.