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Frequently Asked Questions

Compliance

Ethics/Compliance Hotline:

The University maintains a toll-free ethics hotline at 888-206-6025 and allows individuals to submit ethics concerns through the Internet at www.ethicspoint.com. You can also report health care compliance concerns directly to the Billing Compliance Office at 801-213-3948. You should also report your concerns to your direct line supervisor unless you believe that person is part of the activity about which you are concerned. (Last reviewed on Dec. 1, 2011)

Conflicts of Interest:

Both Utah law and University policy are designed to:

  • Promote the public interest;
  • Strengthen the confidence of the people of Utah in the integrity of their government; and
  • Ensure that University employees’ obligation to further the University’s interests is not at odds with employees’ financial or personal interests.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

University faculty and staff are public employees, which means they are bound by the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”). In general, the Ethics Act prohibits University employees from:

  • Using their official position to secure special privileges or exemptions for themselves or others;
  • Improperly disclosing protected information obtained through their University position/duties to further substantially their personal economic interest or secure special privileges or exemptions for themselves or others;
  • Accepting other employment that impairs their independence of judgment in the performance of their University duties or otherwise interferes with the ethical performance of their University duties;
  • Participating in transactions involving businesses in which they have a substantial interest; and
  • Accepting improper gifts.

 An employee who knowingly and intentionally violates the Ethics Act is subject to dismissal from employment and potential criminal penalties.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

In general, the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”) prohibits a University employee from accepting a gift that (1) would tend to improperly influence the employee in his or her official duties; (2) is given to reward employee for "official action taken," or (3) is given in close proximity to a University transaction. Utah Code Ann. § 67-16-5. These prohibitions generally do not apply to occasional, non-pecuniary gifts having a value of less than $50. An employee may accept a gift exceeding the $50 limit if he or she satisfies the Ethic Act's fairly extensive disclosure requirements.

 However, University of Utah Health’s vendor gifts policy and the University’s Health Sciences Industry Relations Policy are more restrictive than state law or general University policy and prohibit vendors/industry representatives from providing gifts of any kind and regardless of value to University employees who work in the Health Sciences or for University of Utah Health.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

The University has several policies on conflicts of interest and consulting, including Policy 1-006: Individual Financial Conflict of Interest Policy; Supplemental Rule 1-006: Health Sciences Industry Relations Policy; Policy 5-204: Remunerative Consultation and Other Employment Activities; and Policy 8-001: Medical Practice Plan for the University of Utah School of Medicine Full-Time Faculty. University of Utah Health’s Conflict of Interest Policy is available online through Pulse, as is University of Utah Health’s Vendor Gifts Policy and Other Vendor Policies.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

All University employees holding full-time positions are expected to give full services to the work of the University during scheduled work periods. Any non-University employment must not interfere with the discharge of an employee’s full-time service obligations to the University. It is expected that all full-time University staff will treat the University as their prime employment activity.

 In general, full-time faculty and administrative officers are allowed four days a month for either consulting or outside employment, so long as they comply with applicable University regulations, including Policy 5-204: Remunerative Consultation and Other Employment Activities and Supplemental Rule 1-006: Health Sciences Industry Relations Policy.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

  • Investigators who are conducting research or scholarly activities in whole or in part under the auspices of the University (whether they are University employees or not) disclose their (and certain family member’s) financial interests through the University’s online Business Relationship Reporting System (“BRR”). Employees, even if they are not investigators, can also make a disclosure through BRR. Best practice is for employees to make a disclosure at least once a year. Employees/investigators access BRR through the Conflict of Interest Office’s website.

    (Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

In general, all employees/investigators must disclose all “Significant Financial Interests” or SFIs, including the SFIs of family members, that “reasonably appear to be related” to an investigator’s/employee’s responsibilities to the University.

  • For publicly traded entities, a SFI exists if the value of any remuneration received from the business entity in the last year and the value of any equity interest (e.g., stock, stock option, etc.) in the business entity, when aggregated, exceed $5,000.
  • For non-publicly traded business entities, a SFI exists if the value of any remuneration received from the business entity in the last year, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000, OR if the individual holds any equity interest in the business entity.
  • For IP rights and interests, a SFI exists when the patent application is filed or when the copyright is asserted, or upon receipt of income related to those rights and interests, including royalty income from IP owned by UURF.

 (Note: SFI does not include certain remuneration, such as income from seminars sponsored by an institution of higher education and income from investment vehicles, as long as the employee/investigator does not control the investment decisions made in those vehicles. See Policy 1-006 for the types of remuneration that are carved out of the definition of SFI.) 

 In addition, faculty members and employees at the manager level and above who work in the Health Sciences or for University of Utah Health must disclose their outside financial relationships/interests, including the financial relationships/interests of certain family members. These relationships/interests include:

  • Employment, consulting, and any other activity resulting in payment to an individual;
  • Any equity ownership interests in a business entity, excluding ownership in mutual or pension funds;
  • Any leadership position (e.g., officer, director, partner); and
  • Any IP.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

Employees/investigators must disclose before engaging in research and scholarly activity, negotiating licensing agreements, or representing the University in certain business transactions, and they must update their disclosures within 30 days of any changes. Faculty members and employees at the manager level and above who work in the Health Sciences or for University of Utah Health must disclose, or certify that they have nothing to disclose, on an annual basis, and they must update their disclosures within 30 days of any changes.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

The University’s Conflict of Interest Committee, which is comprised of faculty and staff from across campus, reviews conflict of interest disclosures. Health Sciences department chairs and deans also review disclosures submitted by their faculty and staff who are manager level and above, and Hospital leaders review disclosures submitted by Hospitals and Clinics’ employees who exercise purchasing authority.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

In general, the University’s Conflict of Interest Committee and/or leadership will try to work with the employee/investigator to design a way to manage, reduce, or eliminate the conflict through an appropriate management plan. Management plans allow employees/investigators to continue their University work, while ensuring that their personal financial interests do not negatively affect that work. In some circumstances, a conflict cannot be managed, and the employee/investigator is required to eliminate the conflict by divesting his or her financial interest/relationship.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

Yes; however, faculty cannot accept any personal compensation or material benefit from the sale or furnishing of such materials to students in their own classes or in any classes in their department or college for which they have authority to assign or recommend course materials. Policy 6-316 explains how faculty can comply with this requirement.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

Ensure that faculty and staff complete the Business Relationship Reporting training and submit their conflict of interest disclosures. You can also contact the University’s Conflict of Office to schedule additional trainings/presentations at department forums.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

University Policy 1-006 provides that potential violations of University COI policies and/or management plans must be reported to the University’s COI Officer.

(Last reviewed on August 15, 2017)

Discounted or Free Medical Services:

Free and discounted services can raise concerns under the anti-kickback statute, which prohibits payments (in cash or in-kind) to another to induce the referral of items or services reimbursable by a Federal payor. Issues to consider are whether referrals to the University may arise from the arrangement and whether participants will receive any direct/indirect benefits from the services.

In terms of approving the arrangement, first contact the department chair for approval. Then contact the Office of General Counsel to discuss the regulatory issues and properly document the arrangement. (Last reviewed on Dec. 1, 2011)

Stark/Anti-kickback:

The Stark and Anti-kickback laws are federal laws intended to prohibit the payment of any remuneration in exchange for referrals of items or services paid for under a federal health care program. These are two separate but related laws, with relatively complex regulatory schemes and compliance requirements. In summary, all "financial" arrangements with any non-University healthcare entity should be based on a written contract. A financial arrangement may include the payment of money or other remuneration, including providing of goods or services. All payments should be based on the fair market value of goods or services provided. Under no circumstances should any portion of the payment be based on the volume or value of referrals between the parties. When entering into business transactions which may implicate these laws, please consult with the Office of General Counsel. (Last reviewed on Dec. 1, 2011)

Last Updated: 8/16/17