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National Center for Ethics in Health Care


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Policy and Guidance Documents

The National Center for Ethics in Health Care is responsible for developing policies on topics in health care ethics, including advance care planning, informed consent, and life-sustaining treatment. We develop educational resources and other supplementary materials to assist the field with implementation of these policies. NCEHC also assists other VHA Program Offices in the development of national policies that have ethical implications.


NCEHC PolicyDocument

Advance Care Planning and Management of Advance Directives

Issue Date: December 24, 2013

Relevant Materials:

See also NCEHC resources on Shared Decision Making with Patients Ethical Practices in End-of-life Care

VHA Handbook 1004.02 

Disclosure of Adverse Events to Patients

Issue Date: October 2, 2012 

Relevant Materials: 

See also NCEHC resources on Professionalism in Patient Care and National Ethics Committee Report Disclosing Adverse Events to Patients

VHA Handbook 1004.08 

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Protocols within the Department of Veterans Affairs

Issue Date: October 24, 2002

See also NCEHC resources on Do Not Resuscitate Orders 

VHA Handbook 1004.3 

Financial Relationships Between VHA Health Care Professionals and Industry

Issue Date: November 24, 2014

Relevant Materials:

VHA Handbook 1004.07 


Issue Date: December 10, 2014

Relevant Materials:

See also iMed Consent Web page and NCEHC resources on Informed Consent 

VHA Handbook 1004.05 


Informed Consent for Clinical Treatments and Procedures

Issue Date: August 14, 2009

Relevant Materials:

 See also iMed Consent Web page and NCEHC resources on Informed Consent 

VHA Handbook 1004.01 

Informed Consent for Long-Term Opioid Therapy for Pain 

Issue Date: May 6, 2014

Relevant Materials:

VHA Directive 1005



Issue Date: August 29, 2013

Please visit the IntegratedEthics home page for relevant materials

VHA Handbook 1004.06 

National Center for Ethics in Health Care

Issue Date: September 6, 2013

VHA Directive 1004 

State-Authorized Portable Orders

Issue Date: October 25, 2012

See also NCEHC resources on Shared Decision Making with Patients and Ethical Practices in End-of-life Care

VHA Handbook 1004.04 
Other NCEHC Guidance DocumentsDocument

National Ethics Committee (NEC) Reports


Report of a Work Group on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Vulnerable Populations in Research


Ethical Issues in Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response


IL 10-2010-02 January 13, 2010, Intimidating and Disruptive Behaviors That Undermine a Culture of Patient Safety *SUPERSEDED OR OUTDATED

Information Letter 
Other Program Office GuidanceDocument

Assurance of Protection for Human Subjects in Research

Issue Date: May 10, 2007

VHA Handbook 1058.03 

Decedent Affairs

Issue Date: February 8, 2013

VHA Handbook 1601B.04 

Health Information Management and Health Records

Issue Date: September 19, 2012

VHA Handbook 1907.01 

Minimum Necessary Standard for Protected Health Information

Issue Date: January 23, 2013

VHA Handbook 1605.02 

Organ, Tissue, and Eye Donation Process

Issue Date: April 30, 2009

VHA Handbook 1101.03 

Patient Record Flags

Issue Date: December 3, 2010

VHA Directive 2010-053 

VHA Privacy Program

Issue Date: April 11, 2012

VHA Directive 1605 

Providing Health Care for Transgender and Intersex Veterans

Issue Date: February 8, 2013

VHA Directive 2012-003 

Use of Patient Record Flags to Identify Patients at High Risk for Suicide

Issue Date: July 18, 2008

VHA Directive 2010-053 

Other Guidance

Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations)

As of February 3, 2014