Financial Conflict of Interest

 PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to document the requirements and responsibilities associated with identifying and managing financial conflicts of interest to safeguard the integrity of care.coach (Institution) research and to comply with federal regulations.

This policy has been developed to address and comply with the specific federal agency requirements as defined in the 2011 Revised Financial Conflict of Interest Regulation, Promoting Objectivity in Research (42 CFR part 50 subpart F).  This regulation was developed to promote objectivity in research by establishing standards that provide a reasonable expectation ensuring the design, conduct and reporting of research funded under National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants or cooperative agreements will be free from bias resulting from Investigator financial conflicts of interest.
An electronic version of the regulation is found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-08-25/pdf/2011-21633.pdf 

DEFINITIONS

The following definitions are provided as a reference and are considered key definitions in understanding the federal regulations of FCOI.   A complete list of official definitions can be found at 42 CFR 50.603.  

Institution – means any domestic or foreign, public or private, entity or organization (excluding a federal agency) applying for, or receiving NIH research funding.  

Investigator – means the project director or principal investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is or will be responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research funded by the NIH, which may include, for example, collaborators or consultants.  

Institutional responsibilities – means an Investigator's professional responsibilities on behalf of the Institution, and as defined by the Institution, including but not limited to, activities such as research, research consultation, teaching, professional practice, institutional committee memberships, and service on panels such as Institutional Review Boards or Data and Safety Monitoring Boards.  

Financial interest – means anything of monetary value, whether or not the value is readily ascertainable.  

Financial conflict of interest (FCOI) – means a significant financial interest that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of NIH-funded research.  

Manage – means taking action to address a financial conflict of interest, which can include reducing or eliminating the financial conflict of interest, to ensure, to the extent possible, that the design, conduct, and reporting of research will be free from bias.  

Senior/Key Personnel – means the PD/PI and any other person identified as senior/key personnel by the Institution in the grant application, progress report, or any other report submitted to the NIH by the Institution under the regulation.  

 

Significant Financial Interest (SFI) –   

(1) A financial interest consisting of one or more of the following interests of the Investigator (and those of the Investigator’s spouse and dependent children) that reasonably appears to be related to the Investigator’s institutional responsibilities:  

(i) With regard to any publicly traded entity, a significant financial interest exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of the date of disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000

(ii) With regard to any non-publicly traded entity, a significant financial interest exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000, or when the Investigator (or the Investigator’s spouse or dependent children) holds any equity interest (e.g. stock, stock option, or other ownership interest); or

(iii) Upon receipt of income related to intellectual property rights and interests (e.g. patents, copyrights)  

 

(2) Investigators also must disclose the occurrence of any reimbursed or sponsored travel (i.e., that which is paid on behalf of the Investigator and not reimbursed to the Investigator so that the exact monetary value may not be readily available), related to their institutional responsibilities, provided, however, that this disclosure requirement does not apply to travel that is reimbursed or sponsored by excluded sources provided in regulation.    For example, if the PI travels to a scientific seminar but does not pay or receive reimbursement by the Institution directly (i.e. the travel was paid for by a third party/sponsor), the PI is required to disclose basic information to the Institution relating to the trip, such as purpose of the trip, identify of the payer/sponsor, destination and duration.  The Institution is required to determine if additional information is required (e.g. monetary value) and whether the travel constitutes a FCI with NIH-funded research.  

 

(3) The term significant financial interest does not include the following types of financial interests:   

(i) salary, royalties, or other remuneration paid by the Institution to the Investigator if the Investigator is currently employed or otherwise appointed by the Institution;

(ii) intellectual property rights assigned to the Institution and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights;

(iii) any ownership interest in the Institution held by the Investigator, if the Institution is a commercial or for-profit organization;

(iv) income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles;

(v) income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an Institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education; or

(vi) income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state or local government agency, Institution of higher education as defied at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education.  

PROCEDURES

A. Identification of Persons Required to Disclose a Significant Financial Interest - It shall be the responsibility of the Principal Investigator of a Research project to identify all Investigators who have a SFI requiring disclosure under this policy and to ensure that a SFI Disclosure Form is prepared and submitted.  In addition, the Principal Investigator shall be responsible for ensuring that annual updates and disclosures of new or increased financial interests are disclosed.   

B. Submission and Review of Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form - Every individual having a SFI requiring disclosure under this policy shall prepare a fully completed SFI Disclosure Form that shall be submitted to a designated institutional executive.  The SFI Disclosure Form is located here: 

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=1tSetDDtQ0WAF6ndgI-gxoMOrJftL1ZPutcx9u03hNBUMjhGSjNOQkMyMFYzRFoyNzlVRFBKQVo2TS4u  

An initial review of the SFI Disclosure Form will be conducted by the institutional executive to determine whether a potential for conflict of interest exists.  If it is determined that there is a potential conflict of interest, then steps will be taken to determine what measures are needed to address the SFI identified in the SFI Disclosure Form.  A management plan may be required to outline the terms, conditions and restrictions, if any, to ensure compliance with this policy.   The management plan may require one or more of the following actions (but not limited to) to be taken in order to manage, reduce or eliminate any actual or potential conflict of interest:   

  • Public disclosure of significant financial interests;  

  • Review of research protocols by independent reviewers;  

  • Monitoring of research by independent reviewers;  

  • Modification of research plan;  

  • Disqualification from participation in all or a portion of the research funded;  

  • Divesture of significant financial interests;  

  • Severance of relationships that create actual or potential conflicts  

All management plans are required to be signed by the Investigator and the institutional executive.   Compliance of the management plan shall be monitored by the institutional executive.  

C. Annual Reporting and After-Acquired Significant Financial Interests – All Investigators shall provide annual SFI Disclosure reports or more frequently if required by the management plan.  Any Investigator who acquires a new or increased SFI shall promptly submit a new SFI Disclosure Form within 30 days of discovering or acquiring the new SFI.  It is the Principal Investigator’s responsibility to ensure that any newly acquired Investigator on a research project submits the required SFI report to the institutional executive.   

D. Violations of Conflict-of-Interest Policy – Investigators are expected to comply fully and promptly with this policy. Whenever a person has violated this policy, including failure to make a required disclosure of financial interests or failure to comply with a requirement of the management plan, the institutional executive shall decide the impositions of sanctions or disciplinary proceedings against the violating individual. In addition, the Institution shall follow federal regulations regarding the notification of the sponsoring agency in the event an Investigator has failed to comply with this policy.  The federal agency may take its own action as it deems appropriate, including the suspension of the funding for the Investigator until the matter is resolved.   

E. Record Keeping – Records of Investigator SFI Disclosure forms, and of actions taken to manage actual or potential conflicts of interest, shall be retained by the institutional executive for three (3) years from the date the final expenditure report is submitted to the NIH, or as required by 45 CFR 74.53(b) and 92.42(b) for different situations.   

F. Sub-recipient Requirements – Sub-award recipients must comply with this policy or provide certification that their organization is in compliance with the Federal policy, 2011 Revised Financial Conflict of Interest Regulation, Promoting Objectivity in Research (42 CFR part 50 subpart F) and that their portion of the research project, as detailed in their sub-award agreement, is in compliance with their institutional policies.  If a SFI is identified by the sub-award recipient, they are required to notify the institutional executive of the existence of the conflicting interest within 30 days of the identification of the interest.  In addition, the sub-award recipient must certify and assure that any reported conflicting interest has been managed, reduced or eliminated in accordance with federal regulations.   

G. Federal Reporting – The institutional executive is responsible for the reporting disposition of matters involving disclosures of SFI in accordance with applicable federal requirements.  The following reports are required by the NIH:  

i. Initial report – prior to the Institution’s expenditure of any funds under a NIH-funded research project, the Institution must provide to the NIH an FCOI report regarding any Investigator SFI found by the Institution to be a financial conflict of interest in accordance with the regulation.  

ii. During on-going NIH-funded research projects – the Institution shall submit an FCOI report within 60 days after its determination that a new FCOI exists.  If a FCOI was not disclosed in a timely manner, the Institution shall submit a FCOI report to the NIH within 60 days of the discovery, as well as complete a retrospective review within 120 days of discovery of noncompliance.  

iii. Annual FCOI report – For any FCOI previously reported to the NIH, the Institution shall provide an annual FCOI report addressing the status of the FCOI and any changes to its related management plan. 

H. Public Availability & Federal Actions. The Institution shall submit initial and annual FCOI reports to the NIH through eRA Commons, and this policy must be made publicly available on the Institution’s website as required by federal regulation. NIH can take certain actions under the FCOI regulation, such as to inquire, at any time before, during or after award into any investigator disclosure of financial interests and the institution's review of, and response to, such disclosure, regardless of whether the disclosure resulted in the institutions determination of an FCOI 

TRAINING REQUIREMENTS

Investigators must review these policies and then complete the quiz located here:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=1tSetDDtQ0WAF6ndgI gxoMOrJftL1ZPutcx9u03hNBUNFFOTFNOQUo0UjdHRTBFOVlJV1NDUjRTWi4u 

A minimum of 8 out of 9 points is required to certify understanding of this policy. Upon completion of the training, a record of completion is automatically retained within Microsoft 365.  This training is required prior to engaging in research relating to any NIH-funded grant or as deemed necessary by the Institution due to changes in the FCOI policy, non-compliance of the Investigator/Key Personnel or new to the Institution.  At a minimum, the FCOI training shall be taken every four (4) years. The training shall also be undertaking immediately when Institution revises its FCOI policy in a way that affects the requirements of Investigators, when an Investigator is new to Institution, and when an Investigator is not in compliance with the policy or management plan. 

 

 

This policy is approved as of December 1, 2020 by the institutional executive, Victor Wang.