National Center for Ethics in Health Care
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ethics?
NCEHC defines ethics as the discipline that considers what is right or what should be done in the face of uncertainty or conflict about values. Ethics involves making reflective judgments about the optimal decision or action among ethically justifiable options.
Where is NCEHC located?
NCEHC’s main office is located at VA Central Office in Washington, DC, with satellite offices in Seattle, WA, and New York, NY.
What services does NCEHC offer?
- provides ethics consultation to VHA leaders and local ethics programs;
- develops measurement tools to evaluate ethical aspects of health care quality;
- establishes and interprets policy and other guidance on issues relating to health care ethics;
- produces and distributes publications and other resources on ethics topics;
- conducts national ethics quality improvement projects;
- develops ethics education programs and materials for health care providers, leaders, and other staff; and
- supports IntegratedEthics® programs across VHA through education, tools and materials, and technical assistance.
Does NCEHC handle allegations of unethical practice?
No. NCEHC does not deal with matters of fraud, abuse, negligence, medical malpractice, or other questions about compliance with specific regulations. Such matters are handled by:
- Office of Compliance and Business Integrity (allegations of business misconduct)
- Office of Research Oversight (allegations of research misconduct)
- Office of the General Counsel (government ethics)
- Office of the Medical Inspector (allegations about quality of medical care)
- Office of Inspector General (waste, fraud, and abuse)
Can I request an ethics consultation from NCEHC?
NCEHC provides consultation on questions of health care ethics to VHA leaders and facility-based ethics program staff. Veterans, families, VA staff, and involved parties at field facilities should seek consultation from their local VA medical center. Every VA medical center has an ethics consultation service. Your facility’s administration can tell you how to contact your local program.