Rules and Procedures


For all questions of rules and procedures, the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall prevail. These Rules and Procedures will be reviewed on a regular basis and may be amended at any time subject to the approval of the Council.


The rules allow for up to 38 members of the Council.

Founding Members

There are 13 founding organizations and agencies that maintain a permanent seat on the Council until such time as the organization may resign that seat by means of written communication from the Chief Elected Officer or Staff Executive to the Council Chairperson or Secretary.

The following national organizations and agencies shall be the Founding Members:

  • AARP
  • American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA)
  • The Joint Commission (TJC)
  • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
  • United States Pharmacopeia (USP) (Member and Secretariat)

Federal Liaison Members

The Council may invite one or more Federal Agencies/Departments to serve a two-year term as a Federal Liaison. Each Federal Liaison Member shall be entitled to the rights and privileges of other Members except that the Member may not vote. Each Federal Liaison Member may appoint one Delegate and one Alternate Delegate.

NOTE: This does not preclude Federal Agencies/Departments from membership as full-voting members.

Patient Representative Member

The Council may invite a patient representative to serve a two-year term on the Council. The Patient Representative Member shall be entitled to the rights and privileges of other members.

Individual Members

By unanimous vote, the Council may invite an individual with significant expertise in medication error reporting and prevention to become an Individual Member to serve a two-year term; the member may be reappointed by the Council. Each Individual Member shall be entitled to the rights and privileges of other Members except that the Individual Member may not hold the position of Vice Chairperson.

Membership Characteristics

Members are expected to:

  • Share the vision of the Council
  • Be national or international in scope and influence
  • Demonstrate ability to affect healthcare standards or practices
  • Represent a membership base of either individuals or organizations that is involved with or contribute to the medication use process

Delegates and Alternate Delegates

Each member organization or individual holds one full-voting seat at the Council table (virtually or physically). Each organizational member may appoint one Delegate and one Alternate Delegate. Individual and Patient Representative members are Delegates and may not appoint an Alternate Delegate.


The Council will make decisions regarding management and rules governing operation of the Council, as well as membership and policy related to the reporting, understanding, and prevention of medication errors.


Any member that is not present by means of a Delegate or Alternate Delegate for more than two successive meetings shall be notified in writing and the Council will reassess their continued participation on the Council.


An attendee/guest who is not a Delegate or Alternate Delegate may observe the Council meetings. The Council may invite an organization to become an observer to allow limited participation by organizations that collaborate, assist, and share in the Council's error prevention and reporting mission. Observers may also be guests of Delegates and/or attending from member organizations. Observers will not receive member communications. Observers may not vote.

Election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson

Call for Nominations
A call will be issued by mail every two years for nomination of candidates for the offices of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. Candidates should be nominated in writing to the Secretary.

Candidates for Chairperson may be nominated from the pool of voting Delegates or Alternate Delegates to the Council. Only one representative (Delegate or Alternate Delegate) from a member organization may be nominated. The Chair will be elected to serve a two-year term.

Vice Chairperson
The Vice Chairperson will be elected to serve a two-year term concurrent with the term of the Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson may not be an individual member, so as to preclude an automatic ascension (see below) in the event of a vacancy of the Chairperson. The position shall provide support to the Chairperson The Vice Chairperson and the Chairperson must be from different member organizations/agencies. The Chairperson may also direct the Vice Chairperson to perform certain functions if the Chairperson is unable to carry out such functions such as preparation of the meeting agenda, running regular meetings of the NCC MERP, providing interviews to the media on behalf of the Council, and making formal presentations on the Council and its work. In the event of a vacancy of the Chairperson's seat, the Vice Chairperson shall become the Chairperson; a new Vice-Chairperson will be elected and both will serve for the remainder of the term.

Nominating Ballots

A blank ballot will be distributed by mail, e-mail, or fax to the delegate of each member organization/agency and to Individual Members. The name of the nominee will be submitted on the ballot and the ballot returned by mail, e-mail, or fax to the Secretary by the required date.

A slate of candidates listed alphabetically will be prepared and then distributed to the official delegates for voting. The winner will be determined by majority vote based on the official membership of the Council at the time of election. If there are more than two candidates for the office, a plurality of votes will determine the winner.

Elections will be held by mail, e-mail, or fax ballot. Each organization/agency has a single vote. Ballots will be counted by the Secretary and validated independently by the USP Legal Department. If the alternate delegate of an organization/agency should win the election, he/she becomes the delegate for that organization/agency. The Chairperson cannot vote twice, once as a delegate, then again in the capacity of a presiding officer.

In the event of a tie, the candidates will participate in a run-off election by written ballot. The candidates will present a statement of their vision for helping the Council reach its goals. The winner will then be determined by a majority vote.

Term of Office

The term of office for both the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson is two years beginning immediately following the election.

Subcommittees and Expert Advisory Panels

An Executive Committee of the Council composed of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson, the Secretary, and the Chairs of the Subcommittees will provide strategic direction for the Council. To carry out the work of the Council, subcommittees and/or advisory panels may be established for specific charges. Such subcommittees and advisory panels shall be appointed by the Council, and their membership shall be determined by the Council. Each subcommittee shall be chaired by a delegate or alternate delegate to the Council subject to the approval of the Council. An advisory panel may be established for a specific continuing purpose or with a view to being discharged when the work has been completed and reported. An advisory panel shall serve in a fact finding, advisory capacity and shall report its recommendations to the Council or Subcommittee. A delegate or alternate delegate to the Council shall be appointed as a liaison to each Expert Advisory Panel.


A meeting agenda summarizing topics for discussion shall be prepared by the Secretary and shall be made available to the public. Topics for the agenda may be introduced through the Chairperson or the Secretary by any of the members of the Council prior to each meeting.

Meetings of the Council, its Subcommittees and Advisory Panels shall be open to the public except that a meeting or portion of a meeting may be held in closed session if the Chairperson determines that there is good and sufficient reason for closure. Reasons may include, among others: review or discussion of trade secret or confidential commercial information, review or discussion of matters that might constitute an invasion of privacy, or review or discussion of matters the premature disclosure of which could be detrimental to the Council.

The public summary of the meeting shall be made available in the form of the Communiqué. Detailed records of meetings shall be maintained and approved by the Council.

Meetings may be announced in publications and/or mailings of the member organizations, and the Secretary shall be informed of these announcements.

The Chairperson may elect to call a special meeting by means of a conference telephone call or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting shall hear one another in the same period of time, and participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at a meeting. Such meetings will be arranged with advanced notice of a minimum of five business day.

Meeting Cancellation Notification Policy and Procedures

The purpose of this policy is to assure that the Council has a structured and standardized process for notifying members of a meeting cancellation in the event of an unanticipated emergency situation (e.g., weather, national security).

Determination of Emergency Plan Activation
A determination of whether or not to cancel a meeting of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention for any reason will be handled as follows:

  • The Council Secretary will identify whether a situation or potential situation exists that threatens or compromises the ability of the Council to conduct a productive meeting and/or jeopardizes the safety and well-being of Council members.
  • The Secretary will notify the Council's Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the facts respecting the situation of concern and, together, they will make the decision whether to cancel the meeting.
  • A decision to cancel a Council meeting must be made at the earliest possible time to assure minimal inconvenience to members; however, notice must be made by 10:00pm (Eastern Time) of the day preceding the scheduled meeting at the latest.
  • A confirming message of cancellation will be placed on the Secretary's voice mail as soon as a decision is made.
  • An e-mail will be sent to, in addition to the calling tree being activated. The subject line will read: NCC MERP Meeting Cancelled.
  • The Secretary will e-mail a phone number for those wishing to join the meeting by phone.

Plan Activation
Once the decision to cancel the Council meeting has been made, the following procedure will be activated:

  • The Calling Tree for rapid member notification will be initiated.
  • The Secretary, Chairperson and Vice Chairperson will each initiate two branches of the Calling Tree by contacting the member appearing at the top of those branches below their name.
  • In turn, those individuals will call the member appearing directly below their name until the end of the branch is reached.
  • Names appear on the Calling Tree in order of distance from the meeting location (i.e., those farthest away are placed higher on the branch to assure the earliest possible notification).
  • The caller will attempt to call all numbers provided by the member and listed on the Calling Tree until the member is reached "live." If the member cannot be reached, messages will be left at all numbers attempted and the caller will move to the next member down the branch.
  • Callers will provide an ongoing status of which members could be reached "live" and whether messages were successfully left for those who could not be reached from that branch to the next member who is reached "live." The final member who is reached "live" will then close the loop for that branch by calling the Secretary to report the names of those that could not be reached and for whom a message could not be left. Once the report to the Secretary has been made, the members responsibility is completed.
  • If all available numbers for a member have been attempted and messages left where possible, a second attempt will not be made to reach that member. If, however, the member could not be reached and if it was not possible to leave a message at any of the available numbers, then the Council Secretary will assume responsibility for any follow-up efforts at his/her discretion (i.e., as time and ability permit). Thus, it is in the member's best interest to provide telephone numbers with message-taking capability so that extraordinary efforts do not have to be undertaken.
  • Alternate delegates will not be called as part of an emergency notification process. If an alternate delegate is scheduled to attend in place of a primary delegate and the emergency plan has been activated, it is the primary delegate's responsibility to notify the alternate delegate that the meeting has been cancelled.
  • Similarly, if members have invited guest observers to attend a meeting that has been cancelled, it is the responsibility of the member to notify the guest. If guests have been invited on behalf of the Council by the Secretary, it is the Secretary's responsibility to notify the guest.
  • United States Pharmacopeia (USP) staff who are directly involved in Council activities will be notified by the Secretary as needed (i.e., in a fashion consistent with USP notification policies and procedures).
  • The Council cannot be responsible for any "lost" travel expenses incurred as the result of a meeting cancellation.

Calling Tree Maintenance

  • It is the responsibility of each member to assure that the information on the Calling Tree is consistently current and accurate; updates can be provided to the Secretary at any time. To further support this effort, however, the Calling Tree will be re-distributed annually at the fall meeting of the Council for review and updating by members.
  • Subsequently, the Secretary will update the Calling Tree at least annually each calendar year and will reorder members' names as necessary (i.e., as members' location of origin changes so will the order on the Calling Tree and as Council leadership changes).
  • Updated Calling Trees will be distributed to Council members by the end of each calendar year.

Because the calling tree includes home and cell phone numbers, this list should be treated confidentially and used only for the purposes of implementing the calling tree.

Press Releases

Press releases will be drafted by the Secretary in conjunction with the Chairperson and faxed to each member, 48 hours prior to release, for comment and content changes. If no comments or changes are received, the press release will be issued on Council letterhead. All Council members may adapt the Council's Press Release for their own use. The Secretary should receive copies of any press releases issued by Council member organizations regarding the NCC MERP.