The National Health Council (NHC) has adopted a set of good operating practices to ensure that its patient advocacy group members (also known as voluntary health agencies) maintain the highest standards of organizational effectiveness and public stewardship. The standards cover the areas of governance, human resources, programs, fundraising, finance, accounting and reporting, and evaluation. These standards are completely aligned with, but more extensive than, the Standards for Charity Accountability adopted by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (WGA).The NHC Standards are also consistent with Independent Sector's Principles of Good Governance and Ethical Practice. By looking for the Standards of Excellence logo on an organization's website or materials, the public can identify patient organizations they can trust.
Compliance with the National Health Council Standards of Excellence Certification Program® is a requirement for membership in the National Health Council by patient advocacy groups. Compliance is determined through evaluation of responses to a survey conducted every three years and analysis of accompanying supporting documents, such as bylaws, audited financial statements, and annual reports. The CEO and a senior board officer are required to certify that the information contained in the survey and supporting documents is accurate.
Members found not to be in compliance with a given standard or standards are given a period of time (usually one year), as determined by the board of directors, to come into compliance. Similarly, a period of one year or more is allowed for members to come into compliance with newly adopted or revised standards. In these cases, patient advocacy groups are considered to be members in good standing as they work toward compliance with the standards. Those who cannot or will not achieve compliance are removed from membership in the National Health Council.
The National Health Council demands the highest standards of accountability and ethical practice from its patient advocacy group members to assure the public that these organizations are worthy of support.
Click here for a list of patient advocacy organizations that meet the NHC Standards of Excellence.
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