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Policy on Disclosure of Financial Relationships and Conflict of Interest for Board of Directors, Committee Members, Officers, and Officer Candidates


In order for the Society to further the purposes for which it is organized and to maintain its reputation for excellence, it is important that Society decisions and actions not be unduly influenced by special interests or individual member considerations.  It is also crucial to avoid the appearance of such influence and maintain objectivity, whether it involves policy-making or consent of action items put forth for Board or committee decision.

It is not the purpose of this policy to discourage involvement by Society leaders and members with outside interests. The Society seeks to provide relevant information regarding financial relationships of all the Society’s Board of Directors, committee members, officers, and candidates for those positions and to publish this information within related agendas and online for public access.  Making this information available engenders confidence among members and others that the Society operates in an environment of openness and seeks to ensure that its activities conform to the highest ethical standards.

In addition, the Society is required to comply with the laws and regulations of the many states in which it is registered to solicit charitable contributions. Those states require that the Society’s Board of Directors, committee members officers, and candidates for those positions disclose all financial relationships with commercial interests and that the Society employ a mechanism to identify and resolve any relevant conflicts of interest or ethical concerns which may be presented by such disclosure.

Accordingly, the Society has adopted the following requirements for disclosure of financial relationships by those who serve as members of the Society’s Board of Directors, committee members, officers, and candidates for those positions:

Definitions

The following definitions relevant to this policy are based on definitions used by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

  • Commercial Interest: Any entity producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. Of note, the ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests – unless the provider of clinical service is owned, or controlled by, an ACCME-defined commercial interest. However, reporting of clinical entities and services may be required by States or may be required pursuant to other activities, operations and actions of the Board or committee.
  • Relevant Financial Relationships: Financial relationships in any amount, which occurred in the 12-month period preceding the time that an individual was asked to assume a role of voting on Society action items, controlling CME content, or contributing to decisions relating to operations of the Board or committee and which present a conflict of interest.
  • Conflict of Interest: Circumstances create a conflict of interest (COI) when an individual has an opportunity to affect leadership decisions, operations, CME content about products or services of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship, or other activities, or which may affect the decision, operations, or activity of the Board or committee and the matters before it.

Duty to Disclose Relationships with Commercial Interests

  • The Society’s Board, committee members, officers, and candidates for those positions must disclose all financial relationships established between themselves/spouse/partner and any commercial interest within the last 12 months, along with any information requested by States in which the Society is registered as a charitable organization, by completing and signing a Disclosure of Financial Relationships with Commercial Interests form on an annual basis and as disclosure information changes.

Pertinent Relationships for which Disclosure is Required

  • Financial Relationships: Those relationships in which the individual benefits by:
    • receiving grant funding, equipment, discounts, consulting fees, travel reimbursement, honoraria, salary, and/or royalties.
    • holding ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds) or intellectual property rights.
    • serving on an advisory board, as an officer or director, or on a promotional speakers' bureau.
    • receiving or developing any other financial relationship with commercial interests not listed above.
  • Other Conflicts of Interest (other than financial relationships): Other conflicts that may be due cause for a Board or committee member to recuse themselves from discussion and voting include but are not limited to:
    • established personal relationships
    • federal or state laws or restrictions
    • position as nominator of a candidate
    • representative, employee, officer or Board member of an organization or entity with specific interest in the matter(s) at hand

Mechanism to Identify and Resolve Conflict of Interest

  • For each Board or committee meeting, written Disclosure(s) of Financial Relationships with Commercial Interests must be published within the agenda.
  • All meeting attendees shall verbally disclose any additional relationships and potential conflict(s) of interest involving any pertinent item(s) on the agenda.
  • During the meeting, the Secretary of the Society, or a designee in the absence of the Secretary, is charged with the responsibility of monitoring potential COI and bringing it to attention.
  • Any meeting attendees who have a conflict of interest with regard to an item being considered at the meeting must recuse themselves from discussion and voting on the item.
  • The Secretary (or designee) shall record such disclosures, identified COI and recusals in the minutes.

Approved by Board of Directors on October 2, 2018

 

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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