HHS Office of Inspector General Report Finds Problems With Outside Work Requests by NIH Scientists
As expected, the HHS Office of Inspector General on Friday released a report that found problems with how NIH monitors outside work by agency scientists, AP/Long Island Newsday reports. "We found that employees submitted limited information regarding their outside activities," the report said, adding, "We also found several problems in the review process itself."
The report said that NIH scientists who seek to participate in outside work must submit a request form and documents that detail the nature of the proposed work. According to the report, about 40% of the 174 senior-level scientists at NIH received approval for requests for outside work between 2001 and 2003 and many of those employees submitted multiple requests.
In a review of the requests for outside work, the report found that:
- 22% of the outside work was not disclosed as required;
- 28% of the requests were approved after scheduled start dates;
- Six of 27 institutes at NIH did not monitor ongoing outside work to determine whether the nature and time commitment of the work had changed; and
- Position descriptions that scientists submitted with the requests often did not indicate whether outside work would conflict with their duties at NIH.