Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Leaders have a responsibility to set an example for others in their institution

I'm going to take advantage of the delay of the promised report containing "a methodical assessment of policies, guidelines, procedures and practices" concerning the University of Illinois ethics matters to send the University folks a helpful reference document.

Entitled "Conflict of Interest Policies for Academic Health System Leaders Who Work With Outside Corporations" this article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states:

New “Sunshine Act” requirements for disclosure by pharmaceutical and medical device companies of payments to faculty have led to increased conversation about conflict of interest (COI). Conflict of interest is defined as “circumstances that create a risk that professional judgments or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.” Conflict of interest is particularly relevant for those in the upper echelons of academic health system leadership—presidents, vice presidents, provosts, deans, chief executive officers, and the senior administrators who report to them.

A pertinent excerpt for the University to consider--as it thinks about a Dean of Medicine who serves on the board of a major pharmaceutical and medical device company--and as it thinks about the chief of a department and that Dean and a Vice President who recklessly used the name and reputation of the University in support of a private business--is the following:

Unlike most faculty and staff, senior institutional officials  are involved in financial and business decisions, including purchasing, resource allocation, and development of corporate partnerships, and have fiduciary responsibility to the entire institution.  In addition, it is critical that the public, students, employees, and faculty maintain confidence in the integrity of institutional leaders.  Leaders have a responsibility to set an example for others in their institution, especially for those training to be health care professionals. Independence and integrity of judgement are core precepts of professionalism.

Simultaneous service as an academic health system senior leader and as a board member for another organization with interests that overlap those of the academic health system creates a clear [conflict of interest.]

For these reasons, the fiduciary responsibilities of presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, chief executive officers, and those who report to them should preclude a paid relationship with an outside entity in related and relevant areas . . . .


Terri said...

We don't think this is going to be pretty do we? Whether a white wash or a report that documents scurrilous behavior, Leadership has some 'splainin' to do. Wonder how this pie is going to cut.

Peter said...

From Google+:

THAT'S easy! Amen, brother. But stay tuned. Didn't mean to do it: Mebbe the Devil made me do it.But I dooed it! Sorry in advance if it demands deflection.

Anonymous said...

It is a failure of national physician leadership that a policy like this has not been enunciated by leadership organizations long before this, with disciplinary teeth added in. Who will pay attention to a couple of researchers?

nonlocal MD

JD said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Yet, I would suggest that this is a very common practice and has contributed to the erosion of academic medicine.

Anonymous said...

Whooo hooo Paul! It showed that you did it!! Thanks for bringing awareness of this. I'm bringing awareness now, just starting my blog, on some items that I hope will shine a light on behaviors in the medical community locally and that it will educate people. Thanks for showing bloggers can make a difference!

Anonymous said...

We just saw the Tribune today....
It was whitewash #1.
However, they admitted that their policies were "unclear", so nobody could say that they are a "nullity" as you said, Paul.
Very clever... well... you predicted it. No surprise. However, although we all knew this would be the result, we feel we a wave of disgust.
This is it. People will go on with their careers, others will still complain in vain against the way of doing business and will then leave repulsed for better shores, and the cycle will repeat endlessly, like it has happened so far.