Frequently-asked questions about the Palliative Care and Hospice Certification Requirements
How do I begin the ACHPC Certification process?
First review the ACHPC qualifications and standards. Then contact the NACC office Administrative Specialist Certification, Ramona Zeb, firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be put in contact with one of NACC’s ACHPC chaplains who will review your background and readiness for the process with you, and provide you guidance on your next steps.
What does the specialty certification by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains mean?
Specialty certification by the NACC means that you have documented and demonstrated your qualification for and competencies in the Specialty Standards for Palliative Care and Hospice.
What are the NACC Specialty Standards based on?
These palliative care and hospice standards are presented in the context of the National Consensus Project Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care (3rd Edition) which includes a definition that characterizes palliative care in the United States, also used by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Quality Forum (NQF):
Palliative Care means patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information and choice.
NACC Standards for specialty certification in palliative care and hospice also draw from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Competency Grid and both draw from and parallel the Standards set forth by the Association of Professional Chaplains Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc. Palliative Care Specialty Certification for Board Certified Chaplains. These Standards use Palliative Care and Hospice as the title of specialty certification, as hospice care is viewed as a specialized palliative care for terminally ill patients.
What are the credentials used by a chaplain who has certification in this specialty area?
The credentials are BCC-ACHPC for Advanced Certified Hospice Palliative Chaplain. This credentialing aligns with the Center to Advance Palliative Care (www.capc.org) and the credentialing of other clinicians.
What is meant by “extensive” in the Certification Procedure CP 824 “Completion of extensive education in the field of palliative care, hospice philosophy and/or thanatology.”
Extensive education includes sufficient formal instruction and participation in inter-professional debriefing/learning to prepare the applicant to function as an integral member of the interdisciplinary palliative care or hospice team and clearly articulate the goals of palliative care to patients, families and other health care providers.
When are applications accepted?
Deadlines for specialty certification applications are the same deadlines as for initial certification applications: February 15 and September 15 of each year.
If my materials are acceptable, when and where will the face-to-face interviews be?
These interviews, depending on the number of applicants, are currently scheduled twice per year: 1) the day before the National Conference at the conference site, and 2) the second week of July in Milwaukee. These times and locations are subject to change.
If I am not Board Certified with NACC, can I still apply for this specialty certification?
This specialty certification requires current NACC Board Certified Chaplain status, as these standards assume competence in the particular NACC Certification Standards that we added to the Common Standards.
Does the NACC require that I be currently employed to apply for this specialty certification?
Yes, considering required documentation includes contributions from your current clinical colleagues, as well as other items that expect current employment.
If I receive certification in a specialty area how does this affect my renewal as a Board Certified Chaplain?
Chaplains receiving specialty certification remain on their current renewal cycle beginning with the year in which the specialty certification was granted. You will need to follow additional requirements related to your education hours and peer review.
I have been certified in a specialty area, does this change the types of educational activities I need to report for my renewal of certification?
Beginning with the year in which the specialty certification was granted, you must complete a minimum of fifteen (15) hours of educational activities per year (of the fifty (50) hours total required per year) related to education in the specialty area. These education hours will need to be reported on your education report form.
I have been certified in a specialty area, does this change the requirements for my peer reviewer?
The peer reviewer must meet the regular peer reviewer guidelines: a certified Chaplain or CPE Supervisor, active or retired, who is a current member of the NACC with whom you do not share a reporting relationship (either report to or they report to you) and who is not an Inactive or Emeritus member of the NACC. In addition, the peer reviewer should hold current certification in the same specialty certification or demonstrate experience in the specialty area.