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Indigent Burials

Pennsylvania, United States
Government : Military
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1.    Description of Services.
Mortuary services are being acquired for VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System to support handling the remains of deceased Veterans. It is the policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs to award contracts to fully qualified professional funeral directors. The contractor shall provide facilities, equipment, licensed personnel, motor vehicles, and furnish professional services including cremation, supplies, caskets, urns, outer shipping containers, transportation, and perform hygienic practices as specified in this Performance Statement of Work. The contractor shall comply with the Department of Veterans Affairs requirements and specifications and all federal, state, and local health laws, statutes and regulations in performing the following.
All Contractors who submit a quotation in accordance with this solicitation must be located within a 25 mile radius of the Medical Center in order to qualify for the award.
Funeral services will be provided no later than 96 hours from the time the funeral home has been contacted by the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
The appropriate religious member (clergy, rabbi, etc.) shall be consulted to provide religious guidance for the appropriate procedures as applicable for the deceased's religious preference as provided by the VA on VA form 10- l OEZ Feb 2011 (See attachment).
1.1.    Mortuary Services. The contractor shall be responsible for providing professional services of the highest quality to assure viewing of the remains under optimal conditions.
1.1.1.    The contractor shall practice hygienic measures that will assure complete and satisfactory disinfection and sanitation of the funeral establishment.
1.1.2.    The contractor shall provide high quality service and a sufficient number of licensed embalmers to process (embalm) or reprocess any remains under this contract on a timely basis. Interns (apprentices) may be used to assist the licensed embalmer in accordance with applicable state regulations.
1.1.3.    All supplies and technical procedures shall conform to standards and professional techniques acceptable to the Funeral Service Industry.
1.1.4.    Embalmers shall utilize any and all optimal techniques available to assure complete and adequate treatment of remains.
1.2.    Treatment of Remains. At all times, the remains must be free of putrefaction and infectious agents. This requires the thorough disinfection and uniform preservation of all body tissues. Employment of continuous injection and intermittent drainage will enhance chemical distribution and penetration. Use of humectant (moisture retention chemicals) in the arterial infection solution will help to achieve greater tissue penetration, and to restore normal body moisture content.
1.2.1.    Pre-embalming procedures. The following basic steps shall be accomplished in the course of processing or reprocessing all viewable remains and to the extent possible, non-viewable remains.    When possible, remains shall be bathed. Male facial and scalp hair shall be washed and groomed (suitable hair preparation shall be accomplished on females). Fingernails shall be cleaned and trimmed. The mouth shall be securely closed to form a natural expression and proper attention given to the eyes to prevent wrinkling of the eyelids and a sunken appearance of the eyes. Cosmetics shall be applied only in the amount necessary to produce natural color and texture.    All lacerations, abrasions, incisions, excisions and burn wounds shall be sutured and/or sealed to prevent leakage. Swollen or distorted features shall be reduced to the normal contours enjoyed during life. Postmortem stains shall be chemically bleached by applying packs and/or needle injection. On viewable areas, further treatment shall consist of the use of masking cosmetics to render stains non-detectable.    All body orifices shall be treated with a disinfectant, non-astringent chemical (generic categories such as Phenyl phenols and Idophors) and then packed with cotton. Bedsores, ulcerated, burned and necrotic tissue shall be treated either by hypodermic injection, or pack application of deodorizing/preserving chemical.    Maggots and other insect larvae shall be destroyed and their breeding sites in or on the remains thoroughly treated with an insecticide chemical.    The contractor's performance shall be such that all remains are effectively disinfected, uniformly preserved, and all offensive odors eliminated before the remains are casketed.
1.3.    Preparation of Remains. Each remains, viewable and non-viewable, requires variation in the embalming treatment to accomplish the optimum results. A recommended procedure to achieve these goals is the injection of the solution at a moderate rate. The addition of a humectant to the solutions is also helpful in reducing overB- dehydration effects.
1.3.1.    Processing Non-viewable Remains. In all instances multisite injection and drainage technique shall be attempted.    In the case of autopsied and CORE donations cases, all incisions shall be tightly sutured and treated to prevent leakage.    Derma surgery; and such restorative work may be necessary to present a normal lifelike appearance.    All body areas shall be further treated by means of a trocar, using undiluted cavity chemicals having a 30 index (%) or greater. In addition, packs, special gels and/or dry sanitizers shall be used, as required, to assure preservation, prevent leakage, and eliminate all offensive odors.    Cranial, thoracic, and abdominal cavities, when present, shall be relieved of gasses and distention. The cavities shall then be treated by injecting a minimum of 32 ounces of a concentrated cavity chemical, having a 30-index (%) or greater.    When arterial infection and/or cavity treatment is impossible, all articulated and disarticulated anatomical portions shall be thoroughly disinfected and preserved via accessory chemical embalming techniques.    Non-injectable intact remains and/or disarticulated anatomical portions shall be immersed or hypo injected with trocar and/or syringe and needle, using full strength cavity chemicals 30-index (%) or greater. Surface application of liquid, gel, or dry sanitizers and preservatives is also required to supplement primary needle and/or hypo injection techniques.
1.3.2.    Processing Viewable Remains. A thorough pre-embalming case analysis shall be made in order to determine the best embalming techniques to be used to obtain optimum results.    The technique of arterial injection and venous drainage is of utmost importance as well as the need for adding humectant (moisture retention chemicals) to the arterial solution injected.    The arterial chemical injection solution shall contain a 2% to 3% concentration, by volume, of aldehyde or aldehyde derivative preservative agent(s), with equal parts of a humectant chemical also being added to the injection solution.    The thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic cavities shall be thoroughly aspirated and injected with full strength cavity chemicals having a 30 index (%) or greater, using a minimum of 16 ounces for each cavity.    Needle injections, packs, or other special treatments shall be accomplished, as required, to assure the preservation and disinfection of all body tissues, including those associated with body cavities (organs).    A lanolin-based (or comparable) massage cream shall be applied on the face and hands.
1.3.3.    Autopsied Remains. If a partial or completed autopsy is performed, a 6-point injection with multisite drainage shall be accomplished, using arterial chemical solutions as specified for processing viewable remains. All incisions shall be tightly sutured and treated to prevent leakage.
1.3.4.    Treatment of Scalp (Viewable Remains). If the scalp was shaved because of medical treatment or surgery, processing or reprocessing shall be accomplished as specified for viewable remains, after which the cranium shall be wrapped with gauze or equivalent in a neat and professional manner.
1.3.5.    Mutilated Hands on a Viewable Remains. When the hands are mutilated and restoration is not possible, the hands shall be treated in a manner, which shall render all tissue firm, dry, and thoroughly preserved. The hands will then be covered by either wrapping with gauze or equivalent in a neat and professional manner, or by placing surgical gloves on the hands.
1.3.6.    Dressing Remains. The deceased will be buried in personally-owned clothing, if available. If personal clothing is not available, the funeral home will provide appropriate underclothing, men's suits and women's dresses as needed to be paid for by the VA according to pricing on the SF 1449.
1.4.    Placement in Casket. Remains shall be placed in the casket in a manner that will create an appearance of rest and composure and ensure maintenance of position during transit.
1.4.1.    Material: The casket, at a minimum, should be constructed from thick, strong particle board and be sufficient strength to support the weight of an adult human body. Cardboard or pressed paper or similar materials are not acceptable. The casket must be appropriately assembled and the exterior must have handles to aid in movement.    
1.4.2.    The pillow shall be turned over and a clean piece of cloth placed over the face.
1.4.3.    The casket shall be of sufficient size to prevent the appearance of crowding and cramping the remains.
1.4.4.    A checklist that includes the embalming agents/amount/etc. will be completed and returned to VAPHS within 7 days from the date of death. The form must contain the full name of the embalmers.
1.5.    Loading Remains. The remains shall be carefully and professionally placed in the type of vehicle authorized by the VA.
1.6.    Transportation of Remains. Transportation of body in a hearse or service car from the place ordered to the place where embalming is to be performed, and subsequent transportation to the location where services are to be held, will be furnished by the funeral director. In the even that interment or cremation is to be other than at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, additional expenses may be allowed for transportation.
1.6.1.    Removal/Delivery: Transport remains in a suitable funeral coach, ambulance, or service car to place where processing or reprocessing is performed. Transportation shall include calling the place where death occurs or remains are located when such place is on the installation, or any place designated by the contracting officer or designate.
1.7.    Cremation. Cremation will only take place if requested by the next of kin and if officially authorized in writing after the required 24-hour waiting period post death has occurred. In the event cremation services are ordered by the VA, this service will include making all necessary arrangements with the crematorium and furnishing a suitable container for the cremated remains.
1.8.    Inspection. Both the casket and remains shall be inspected by a representative of the VA prior to remains leaving the contract funeral home.
1.9.    Requirements: The foregoing requirements cover, in general, the type and character of service required. However, it is recognized that different conditions require different treatments and nothing in the above specifications shall be construed as restricting the funeral director in such a manner as to prevent the exercise by him or his best judgment as to the procedure in the particular case. The contractor is expected to perform the work in such a manner as to insure services of the highest type, and thus eliminate any possibility of warranted criticism of the VA. In agreeing to perform mortuary services as required by the VA, the funeral director agrees that there will be no discrimination in types of cases handled because of race, creed, or national origin of the deceased.
1.9.1.    Remains shall be prepared, dressed and cosmetized as prescribed in the specifications.
1.10.    Transport and Storage of Deceased Veteran: The contractor shall pick up, transport deceased Veteran within three (3) hours of notification by the VA.
1.11.    Place of Burial: Normally, mortuary services ordered by the VA will specify interment in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies. In these cases the burial plot, the marker and services for opening and closing the grave, and placing the marker, will be furnished by the VA. In the event the interment is to be made at other than the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, this fact will be discussed at the time mortuary services are ordered, and mutually satisfactory arrangements will be made in regard to the services requested. The VA will notify the cemetery office of beneficiary death and expected interment, and the contractor will follow up with the cemetery office at (724) 746-4363. The contractor will notify the Decedent Affairs Clerk of anticipated burial arrangement.
1.12.    Permits. Contractor will provide the necessary transit permit. Permits covering burial, cremation or removal of the body, if required, are to be secured and paid for by the funeral director performing the mortuary service. In accordance with the Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors, the contractor shall provide proof of license for the establishment and funeral home director (s), prior to commencing any work under this contract.
1.13.    Death Certificate/DD214 or Similar Forms Used By The Military Services: Death Certificate will be provided to deceased next of kin by the contractor. DD214 or similar qualifying forms will be presented to funeral home upon possession of the body.
1.14.    Pre-award Survey for Mortuary Services. The attached Funeral Home Facilities Inspection Checklist Format (Figure B.1) shall be completed before award of the contract.
Additional Requirements:
Funeral home shall follow all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations. Funeral home shall provide copies of licenses.
Funeral home must provide copies of all necessary permits to the COR.
Casket, at a minimum, must be constructed from thick, strong particle board and must be of sufficient strength to support the weight of an adult body. Cardboard or press paper or similar materials are not acceptable.
VAPHS shall inspect funeral home before award is made. VAPHS shall inspect burial services rendered and casket.
VAPHS MAS or designee shall submit VA form 10-2065 to the HCA for each burial. United States flag shall accompany the casket to the burial.

Contractors, contractor personnel, subcontractors, and subcontractor personnel shall be
subject to the same Federal laws, regulations, standards, and VA Directives and Handbooks
as VA and VA personnel regarding information and information system security.

a. Information made available to the contractor or subcontractor by VA for the performance or administration of this contract or information developed by the contractor/subcontractor in performance or administration of the contract shall be used only for those purposes and shall not be used in any other way without the prior written agreement of the VA. This clause expressly limits the contractor/subcontractor's rights to use data as described in Rights in Data - General, FAR 52.227-14(d) (1).

Nancy R Simkins
Contract Specialist
Theresa Murray

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