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Council of States

Council of States members, Annual Meeting, July 2016, Washington, D.C. 

Trailblazer Award

The Trailblazer Award was created to recognize state organizations demonstrating high levels of excellence, innovation and leadership that expand access to hospice and palliative care, promote quality, and increase awareness.

New Jersey Hospice & Palliative Care Organization is the winner of the 2016 Trailblazer award.  Under the leadership of Don Pendley, President, they developed an innovative Ethics in Practice program to provide a resource that could be used by hospice teams and nursing facilities to make ethical decisions about patient/care, thus enhancing the quality of care.

Join CoS    Access the COS list serve at My.NHPCO

COS Mission

The Council of States (COS)is a forum of leaders that promotes and enhances quality end-of-life care through state and national activities as a council of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

Principal Activities/Focus

  1. Strengthen NHPCO and COS members and the relationships between them.
  2. Identify key issues that are of concern to NHPCO and/or COS members.
  3. Facilitate communication between NHPCO and member state organizations.
  4. Assist in the collection, exchange, and dissemination of information on end-of-life issues.
  5. Alert NHPCO and COS members to emerging critical issues and work together in crafting solutions.
  6. Provide a grass roots arm to extend the reach of NHPCO to the state level and to extend the reach of COS members to NHPCO.
  7. Establish vehicles for partnering/partnerships between the states and NHPCO on appropriate projects.
  8. Identify and fulfill educational needs of COS members.
  9. Participate in the development of NHPCO’s strategic direction, policies, and activities, through Board of Directors and Committee representation.

COS Criteria for Membership

NHPCO and the state organizations mutually recognize the value and role of each.

To be a member of the NHPCO COS, a state organization will meet the following criteria:

  • The organization will support hospice and end-of-life care as a primary mission and this focus will be evident in the organization’s mission statement, staffing, published materials, advocacy activities, communication, and educational offerings.  The organization will, with its annual membership application, provide an annual report and/or other documentation that demonstrates this primary mission and focus of the organization.
  • The organization will be a member in good standing of NHPCO and dues must be current.
  • The organization will subscribe to the operating procedures and policies of the COS, which govern its meetings and activities.
  • Each organization will furnish evidence of the following: Directors and Officers Insurance coverage, IRS 990 for the past fiscal year; and a copy of Bylaws.
  • Each COS member must subscribe to NHPCO Bylaws, the mission, vision and standards of NHPCO, represent a majority of the current NHPCO Provider Members of the state, and have at least three (3) NHPCO Provider Members as members of the organization.
  • The organization will provide NHPCO, within 30 days of the state organization’s election of officers and board, the full contact information of new officers and board members and NHPCO will provide the same information to COS members.
  • The organization will provide NHPCO with a list of provider members and their contact information and NHPCO will provide the state organization with NHPCO provider member data from that state.
  • The organization will be an NHPCO Quality Partner.
  • The organization will designate two representatives to the COS, a primary and a secondary representative, and these representatives will meet the criteria as outlined in the COS policies and procedures.  These two representatives will understand and agree to the responsibilities of service for the Council of States.

Note about organizations that represent more than one state:  Each state within a multi-state organization will pay dues to belong to the COS.  An organization that represents two states will pay two sets of dues and each state may have two representatives to the COS.


  1. Each State Organization Member of NHPCO’s Council of States may designate two individuals to serve as representatives to COS.  One individual should be named as the primary contact and the other as secondary contact.  It remains in the discretion of each state organization to determine who shall serve as the COS Representatives and the length of service of such representatives.  States are encouraged to name representatives for terms that overlap so that the state always has one representative who is familiar with the state organization and the COS.
  2. Each state organization shall identify its designated COS Representative(s) by sending written notice to NHPCO, and may change the designation at any time through such written notification.
  3. States are encouraged to carefully consider their choices for representation on the COS and consider multiple-year terms of service.  
  4. All mailings (including materials sent by facsimile or electronic means) pertaining to COS will be directed by NHPCO to COS Representatives within each state, except as otherwise provided below (see Voting Privileges).
  5. Responsibilities of COS Representatives include:
  • Each member of the Council of States must be a member of NHPCO and, if employed by a healthcare provider, the hospice or provider organization must be a provider member of NHPCO.
  • New COS Representatives are to attend at least one new member orientation.
  • Attend COS meetings as a representative of the State Organization and a member of NHPCO’s COS.  Participate in COS conference calls and policy briefings. 
  • Share information regarding current state issues with other COS members and share COS information with the state organization’s members.
  • Help identify and address key issues of NHPCO and COS members.
  • Serve as a liaison between the state organization and COS.
  • Participate in on-going evaluation of COS to enhance its effectiveness and to support its mission.
  • Keep NHPCO informed of any changes in state officers, addresses, and other pertinent information.

Note about organizations that represent more than one state: Each state within a multi-state organization may name two representatives who meet the responsibilities of the COS representatives to serve on the COS

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