A recent investigation has resulted in evidence that appears to support allegations a group of hospital executives were more concerned about profits then patient care. The study is an extension of a previous report finding top executives and board members of a local, nonprofit cancer center had benefited due to relationships with drug companies and research projects outside of their normal work duties.
What was the evidence? The report led to additional investigations. These investigations lead to the finding of questionable ties between hospital executives and companies in which the executives had a financial interest.
What is the facility doing to solve this problem? The facility admitted its policy of oversight was flawed. As such, it has agreed to review and make changes to the policy as needed.
Changes will also include the creation of a board to review potential conflicts and disclosure of the financial interests of the facility’s faculty members and researchers.
What can other healthcare facilities learn? The healthcare environment is changing. Venture capitalists and other investors are entering the healthcare market with hopes of financial gain. They are investing in research facilities, private practices and hospitals. In many cases these investments can aid the practice of medicine. In others, they can focus too heavily on financial gain.
It is important to note that the conflicts reviewed in this investigation were not the result of intentional misconduct. Instead, the investigators found most of the players were unaware of the fact the arrangement was illegal.
Whether impacted by this new wave of investors or not, healthcare facilities are wise to review their conflict of interest policies to reduce the risk of legal issues in the future.