CEO 85-8 -- January 24, 1985
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
D.H.R.S. PSYCHIATRIST CONSULTING WITH PRIVATE PHYSICIANS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a psychiatrist employed at a Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Alcoholism Treatment Center to consult with private physicians who have no connection with the Center during her off-duty time.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a psychiatrist employed at a Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Alcoholism Treatment Center to consult with private physicians during her off-duty time?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you have advised that .... is a Senior Physician with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Florida Alcoholism Treatment Center. In that capacity she serves as the only psychiatrist on the staff of the Center, which provides intensive, residential treatment for alcoholism. You question whether she may engage in a private psychiatry practice consulting with private physicians in the local area.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. -- No public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, an agency of which he is an officer or employee . . . ; nor shall an officer or employee of an agency have or hold any employment or contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the performance of his public duties or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. [Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes (1983).]
You have advised that the private physicians with whom the subject employee would be consulting have no connection with the Treatment Center. Therefore, we find that the employee would not have any contractual relationship with a business entity which is doing business with or is subject to the regulation of her agency. You also have advised that patients at the Center must be screened and referred to the Center by community mental health centers from around the state. As the subject employee cannot refer patients to the Center, we find that her private psychiatry practice would not present a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest or impede the full and faithful discharge of her public responsibilities for the welfare of patients at the Center.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the subject employee to engage in a private psychiatry practice consulting with local physicians.