Consortium Ethics Program


CEP Membership

CEP Educational Model: Creating Self-Sufficiency

The chart below describes the educational opportunities available to members. There are three educational tracks: Basic, Advanced, and Associate. Each track is a three-year program that grows in educational intensity. For 2014-2015, we will be enrolling members for Year 2: Law and Health Care Ethics, with the intent to continue enrollment for Year 3: Health Care Ethics and the Humanities in 2015-2016. For new enrolling members, we will offer a one-day conference to review topics covered in Year 1: Foundations of Health Care Ethics. The chart below describes each educational track and how it “grows” in intensity


Basic Track

Advanced Track

Associate Track

Year 1:

Foundations of Health Care Ethics
Explore methods of moral reasoning in health care ethics: theories, principles and case-based reasoning are examined in the context of end-of-life decision making, informed consent, confidentiality, and decision-making capacity. Methods of moral reasoning are applied to complex issues of topics presented in the Basic Track. Case consultation review and advanced mediation skills are also covered.

Exclusively for representatives who have completed BOTH the Basic and Advanced Tracks.

Seminar topics vary depending on current issues and needs of the track.

Year 2:

Law and Health Care Ethics
Examine the relationship between law and heath care ethics with respect to treatment decisions, advance directives, informed consent, and confidentiality. . Apply concepts in law and health care ethics to difficult cases; explore issues of advance care planning, health care decision-making, and rationing. Through skill building, achieve an advanced knowledge of the “Core Competencies” in ethics consultation. 

Year 3:

Health Care Ethics and the Humanities
Explore the contributions of the Humanities (art, film, religion, culture) and social sciences to clinical ethics and health care. Utilize narrative approaches and role plays to improve effectiveness as ethics educators and consultants. Opportunity for skill building to teach within one’s own institution.  Contribute to the evolving literature published in health care ethics.

The Basic Track is designed for new CEP representatives. Enrolling in this track is an excellent way to educate members of your ethics committee or your ethics consultants. Typically, an institution initially enrolls a minimum of two Basic representatives. After these representatives complete the three-year Basic track, the option of enrolling for another three years into the Advanced track is available. Two new members can then enroll in the Basic track. Institutions tend to thrive with two Basic and at least two Advanced representatives, ensuring a continuum of institution-wide ethics education. The Associate track is available for members wishing to continue their education after completing the Basic and Advanced tracks.  


Membership Benefits

Ethics Retreat: Representatives meet for an intensive, yet informal, conference in health care ethics. Faculty from the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, local universities, and national scholars present state-of-the-art educational sessions—establishing the foundation for the upcoming year. A registration fee is collected for this conference.

 Seminar Series: Representatives attend at least four full-day seminar sessions that are comparable to training offered by graduate degree programs in health care ethics. These sessions range from didactic and case-based discussions to the execution of a mock trail and readers theatre. In the three-year model, seminars in the first year address foundations in health care ethics, such as end-of-life decision making, informed consent, health care reform, confidentiality, and case-based reasoning. The second year explores the legal aspects of these issues as they relate to health care ethics, and the third year delves into the Humanities, focusing on religion, culture, communication, and patient stories.  

On-site Programming:  Each member institution is entitled to a maximum of six on-site programs per year to help expand ethics awareness throughout the institution. Upon joining the CEP, one representative from each institution fills out an online ethics survey, which provides a baseline to track the accomplishments and needs of the institution. A faculty member will then meet with the representatives to discuss and establish a plan for meeting those needs. Visits by CEP faculty continue throughout the program, upon request, as strategies are developed and implemented.

Some components of an ethics strategy that an institution might seek to implement include:

  • Instituting ethics rounds
  • Revitalizing an existing group or committee
  • Continuing education programs within the institution for staff members
  • Reviewing or drafting policies
  • Public education programs
  • Organizing a case review ethics consultation service  

Most requested on-site programming topics include:

  • End-of-Life Issues: Advance Directives/DNR, devising ethics policies, medical futility, withholding/withdrawing treatments, physician-assisted suicide, POLST, and palliative care.
  • Basic Issues in Health Care:  Informed consent, ethics in clinical practice, confidentiality, decision-making capacity, and ethics theory.
  • Organizational Ethics: Bedside rationing, health care reform, staff and patient rights, pandemic ethics, and policy development.


Targeted Programming

Ethics Committee Education:  CEP faculty will meet with an institution’s ethics committee to discuss a plan for ethics education.  Aspects of this plan include on-going education for the ethics committee, skill building for an ethics consultation service, staffing ethics walk rounds in the ICU or oncology units, and organizing an “ethics day” or “ethics week” to promote core issues.


Education for Ethics Consultants: This service is designed to provide the basic content areas and communication skills needed to be effective and competent ethics consultants. It is based on two ASBH publications: Improving Competencies in Clinical Ethics Consultation: An Education Guide and its companion publication, Core Competencies for Health Care Ethics Consultation. This education includes four skill-building sessions based on these competencies, which are either full- or half-day sessions.  

POLST: The CEP can provide targeted education regarding the implementation of POLST (Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment). This medical order allows patients to effectively communicate their wishes in end-of-life care as they move across the continuum of care settings.


End-of-Life Nursing Education Curriculum (ELNEC):  The program, created in 1999 by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses and the City of Hope National Medical Center, with funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, specifically instructs nurses on communicating bad news, addressing ethical dilemmas in end-of-life care, managing symptoms, recognizing cultural considerations, and providing quality care. This program is available to any CEP member institution in a variety of formats: one-hour seminars, four half-day sessions, or a two-day regional conference with neighboring institutions.

Long-term Care and Home Care Facilities:  The CEP has developed a successful model for educating administrators, nursing staff, and direct care workers in long-term care facilities and home health agencies. We use a “train-the-trainer” approach that is not only time and cost-efficient, but also facilitates interaction among committee members and various units of the health care network.


Additional Benefits

Regionalized Programming:  Member institutions in the same geographical area jointly plan a program that meets all of their needs.  Hosted locally, regionalized educational sessions enhance the networking aspect of the CEP, extending educational opportunities to a wide range of staff and count towards institutions’ on-site programming benefit.


“Bringing the Basics Back to Your Institution” Online Modules: A set of online teaching modules geared to help representatives teach the basic issues of health care ethics to staff at their institutions.  Each of these modules meets the criteria for continuing education and  can be coordinated through our office.


Participation in the Ethics Network:  The on-going connections made among representatives, health care facilities, and third-party insurers are a permanent asset to participating health care institutions. This ethics network facilitates the sharing of information to help individuals and institutions cope with perennial dilemmas in patient care, as well as legislation and developments in health care ethics.


Year-End Accreditation Report: Each year, member institutions receive a year-end accreditation report that details how each institution has met relevant Joint Commission standards.  If your institution does not use the Joint Commission, this report can easily be adapted to other federal and state accreditation requirements.


Continuing Education Certification:  All CEP educational seminars offer continuing education certification for physicians, nurses, and social workers.



Membership Criteria

Any acute-care hospital, rehabilitation facility, long-term care facility, or other health care institution may apply for membership in the CEP. The most important qualification for an institution is a willingness to make health care ethics a significant part of its mission.


In practical terms, this means an institution must:

  • Appoint a minimum of two representatives whose institutional position and stature will make them effective ethics facilitators. (Note: additional representatives may join for a nominal fee.)
  • Provide administrative support by authorizing designated representatives the required time off to attend retreats and seminar sessions.
  • Contribute an annual membership fee.
  • Commit time, effort, and the financial resources necessary for successful educational programs in the institution and community.


Annual Participation Fees Scale

Effective July 1, 2014

Membership Type
Fee Category
Membership Fee
Additional Representatives

0-99 Beds

100-199 Beds

200-399 Beds

400+ Beds





$500 per person

Long-term Care/ Home Care




$350 per person
Third-Party Payor  
$500 per person

*Long-Term Care/ Home Care:Limited Membership does not include on-site programming. This fee only covers the cost for two individuals to attend the seminar series.  On-site educational programming can be arranged on a fee-for-service basis.

**Individual Membership includes attendance at the annual ethics retreat and seminar sessions. Please note that on-site programming is not included in this membership but can be arranged on a fee-for-service basis.


How to Join the CEP

If you are interested in becoming a member of the CEP, please contact our office at: 412-315-7193 or at

© 2009 Consortium Ethics Program. No portion may be reproduced without permission.

© 2009 Consortium Ethics Program. No portion may be reproduced without permission.

Last updated: April 2, 2014

Last updated: April 2, 2014