CEO 85-72 -- October 24, 1985
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
D.H.R.S. COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSE EMPLOYED BY HOSPITAL CONTRACTING WITH DEPARTMENT
To: Ms. Glenda Thomas, RN, Senior Community Health Nurse, District I, Children's Medical Services, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Pensacola
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a Senior Community Health Nurse with a D.H.R.S. District Children's Medical Services Program to be employed part-time by a children's hospital which has contracted with the Department. As the nurse played no role in the contracting process between the Department and the hospital, her public duties are unrelated to the hospital and its contract with D.H.R.S., and the nurse is not in a position to make referrals to the hospital, the rationale of CEO's 83-85, 84-20, and 84-24 would be applicable.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a Senior Community Health Nurse with a Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services District Children's Medical Services Program, to be employed part- time by a children's hospital which has contracted with the Department?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as a Senior Community Health Nurse with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services District I Children's Medical Services Program. In that position you are responsible for comprehensive case management and coordination of care for an assigned case load of patients with chronic handicapping conditions. You wish to be employed as a staff nurse on weekends and holidays by a children's hospital.
You also advise that the hospital has contracted with the children's medical services program to provide medical care to all neonates in the intensive care nursery who qualify for care under the contract. The contract covers ground and air transportation, surgery, and complete care by the neonatologists on staff with the hospital. You advise that as a Senior Community Health Nurse you have absolutely no responsibilities for awarding, monitoring, or auditing the contract or for the request for proposal process. Finally, you advise that although the Department refers patients to the hospital, the referral is made independently by the Children's Medical Services consultant physician and cannot be made by you.
In similar situations, we have found that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would not prohibit Department employees from outside employment where they play no role in the contracting process between the Department and their private employers, where their public duties are unrelated to the employer and its contract with the Department, and where they are not in a position to make referrals to their private employer. See, for examples, CEO 83-85, CEO 84-20, and CEO 84-24.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to be employed part-time by the children's hospital as a staff nurse.