Disclosure of Unavoidable Conflict of Interest
The conflict-of-interest policy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (https://www.nationalacademies.org/about/institutional-policies-and-procedures/conflict-of-interest-policies-andprocedures) prohibits the appointment of an individual to a committee like the one that authored this Consensus Study Report if the individual has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the task to be performed. An exception to this prohibition is permitted only if the National Academies determine that the conflict is unavoidable and the conflict is promptly and publicly disclosed.
When the committee that authored this report was established a determination of whether there was a conflict of interest was made for each committee member given the individual’s circumstances and the task being undertaken by the committee. A determination that an individual has a conflict of interest is not an assessment of that individual’s actual behavior or character or ability to act objectively despite the conflicting interest.
RADM (ret.) Pamela Schweitzer was determined to have a conflict of interest because she is a member of the board of directors of Tabula Rasa. The National Academies has concluded that for this committee to accomplish the tasks for which it was established, its membership must include at least one person who has substantial relevant expertise in the operational aspects of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as relevant expertise and recent experience in clinical pharmacy and in health information technology systems. As her biography describes, RADM (ret) Schweitzer served at the Veterans Health Administration and was assigned to Indian Health Service
(IHS), during which she worked on partnership programs between IHS and VA. She also served as Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Pharmacist Officer of the United States Public Health Service. RADM (ret) Schweitzer has extensive current experience in clinical pharmacy and health information technology systems including as member of the board of directors of Tabula Rasa. In addition, she served at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as technical director in the Medicaid division that provides oversight, guidance, and funding for information technology systems.
The National Academies has determined that the experience and expertise of RADM (ret) Schweitzer is needed for the committee to accomplish the task for which it has been established. The National Academies could not find another available individual with the equivalent experience and expertise who does not have a conflict of interest. Therefore, the National Academies has concluded that the conflict is unavoidable.
The National Academies believes that RADM (ret) Schweitzer can serve effectively as a member of the committee, and the committee can produce an objective report, taking into account the composition of the committee, the work to be performed, and the procedures to be followed in completing the study.