Frequently Asked Questions

 

Consulting


What are the guidelines for obtaining legal/business reviews and approval for consulting agreements under the new policy?

Before submitting a consulting or speaking agreement for review, a faculty member or UPMC physician should first verify that the proposed agreement meets Guidelines for Contracting with Outside Industry (which can be shared with the outside company requesting consulting services). The Guidelines include specific requirements for a detailed description of services to be provided, along with details of the proposed compensation and expected maximum time commitment. Some proposed services are never appropriate for consulting arrangements, such as changes in the physician’s prescribing practices, engaging in research as a consultant, and promotional and marketing activities. The proposed agreement should be submitted to the department chair (in the case of faculty), as well as the department administrator or to the Compliance Analyst/COI of the UPMC Office of Ethics and Compliance. After confirmation by the immediate supervisor that the proposed time commitment is acceptable, the contract will be reviewed by PSD legal area to determine compliance with the contracting guidelines and UPMC policies.

In case of a SOHS faculty member, the proposed agreement should be submitted to the department chair, dean, or administrator for approval. In addition, prior review and written approval from the faculty member’s dean and the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dr. Arthur Levine, are required if consulting relationships with any one company (including the parent and subsidiary companies) will pay the faculty member 1) more than $10,000 in one year from a consulting relationship; or 2) stock/stock options in a publicly traded company greater than 5% or valued in excess of $10,000; or 3) any amount of stock/stock options in a non-publicly traded company. The same Guidelines for Contracting with Outside Industry should be used to evaluate these proposed consulting relationships, and any questions regarding specific issues may be referred to the COI Office at the University.

For PhD researchers consulting with Industry, will the consulting approval processes apply, or is this applicable only to physicians making clinical decisions?

The consulting approval process applies to all faculty members in the Schools of the Health Sciences. In case of SOHS faculty members who are not also UPMC employees the proposed agreement should be submitted to their department chairs, deans, or administrators for approval. In addition, prior review and written approval from the faculty member’s dean and the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dr. Arthur Levine, are required if consulting relationships with any one company (including the parent and subsidiary companies) will pay the faculty member 1) more than $10,000 in one year from a consulting relationship; or 2) stock/stock options in a publicly traded company greater than 5% or valued in excess of $10,000; or 3) any amount of stock/stock options in a non-publicly traded company. The same Guidelines for Contracting with Outside Industry should be used to evaluate these proposed consulting relationships, and any questions regarding specific issues may be referred to the COI Office at the University.

I have been asked to host visiting physicians in the UPMC operating room who are interested in learning how to use a particular vendor’s equipment in patient care. Does this policy permit me to receive a consulting fee for such an event?

No. Consistent with UPMC Conflict of Interest Policy No. HS-LE0002 and University Policy 02-06-01, Outside Employment, employees cannot use UPMC or University resources to generate personal income/revenue. Moreover, UPMC tax-exempt facilities cannot be used by for-profit entities for marketing activities. For acceptable models for CME sponsorship, see UPMC Section IV, 5 or SOHS Section C, 5 of the Policy.

What are the procedures for review of proposed faculty or UPMC employee consulting agreements?

University Policy 02-06-01Outside Employment allows faculty members up to one day per week on the average for all outside professional activities. Employees cannot use University or UPMC facilities, funds, or resources in performing consulting work. In addition to this long-standing policy, the Industry Relationship Policy provides additional guidance and restrictions for UPMC employees and those in the University Schools of the Health Sciences. In order to ensure that consulting agreements are not gifts in a different guise, they must be prospectively reviewed by the department to affirm that University and UPMC policies are satisfied.

The initial responsibility for the review of proposed consulting relationships lies with the department chair. Faculty should first procure “approval in principle” from their department chair for the activity, and then work with the department and the company to ensure that the contract complies with University/UPMC policies. The Guidelines for Contracting with Outside Industry sets forth the basic requirements for any proposed consulting arrangement. [Physicians: please click here; faculty: please click here] These Guidelines have been designed to be shared with the companies seeking the services of University and UPMC personnel, and can be provided to such companies to assist in crafting acceptable agreements. The Guidelines include proposed language to ensure that payment received is tied to clear deliverables, and to ensure that UPMC and/or University intellectual property rights are protected. Please note that, even if an agreement meets the requirements of the Guidelines, a department chair has the discretion not to approve the relationship.

Once initial approval of the activity has been secured from the department chair, individuals who have UPMC/UPP appointments should send their contracts for review by the COI Compliance Analyst in the UPMC Office of Ethics and Compliance. The University COI Office is available to assist departments/faculty with specific questions related to contracts for individuals with only University appointments.

If a University faculty member is to receive 1) more than $10,000 in one year from a consulting relationship; or 2) stock/stock options in a publicly traded company greater than 5% or valued in excess of $10,000; or 3) any amount of stock/stock options in a private company, additional approval must be sought in writing from the faculty member’s dean and the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dr. Arthur S. Levine.