UB Center for Clinical
Ethics and Humanities in Health Care

Ethics Committee Core Curriculum

Ethics Committees -- Functions And Models

There is currently no single formula for organizing and maintaining an ethics committee. Likewise, there is no universal standard for ethics consultation or credentialing of consultants. there is however, movement toward standardization in both arenas.

Although the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has not specifically mandated ethics committees, some of its current requirements are often satisfied by maintaining an ethics committee. These JCAHO rules are discussed in this section. Closer to home, the NYS Family Health Care Decisions Bill has been introduced in the past few legislative sessions. If and when this bill becomes law, it will explicitly define new roles for ethics committees and dictate certain membership requirements.

The issue of consultation expertise and credentialing has been a concern of many in regard to both committee and solo consultants. A joint task force of the Society for Health an Human Values, and the Society for Bioethics Consultation is currently attempting to deal with such questions. The minutes of this task force meetings are also included in this section.

  1. Function and Composition
  2. Models
  3. JCAHO
  4. Guidelines for Performing Ethics Consultations
  5. Joint SHHV-SBC Task Force on Standards for Bioethics Consultation

In addition to the material above, a number of helpful internet resources are available from other institutions.

The University of Kansas Medical Center has put their Hospital Ethics Handbook on line

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Last Revised 1/25/98