The emphasis UAB has placed on timely and accurate certified effort reports since 2004 has paid off.
Since the fourth quarter of 2005, the university reached a rate of 98.9 percent of reports submitted by 90 days after quarter-end, which is when they are considered delinquent, said Samuel Tilden, M.D., UAB research compliance officer.
“Richard Marchase, our vice president for research, Patricia Raczynski, the associate vice president for Financial Affairs, and Dr. Tilden are to be commended for the work they and their teams have put into working to ensure that all UAB’s project employees understand how important it is that we be in compliance with federal time and effort reporting of charges to grants,” said President Carol Garrison. “I also want to thank our research faculty and staff, in particular, for making timely and accurate effort reporting a continuing priority.”
Effort reporting is the documentation that demonstrates the proper charging of labor costs to federally and non-federally sponsored activities at UAB. University project employees must certify quarterly effort reports specifying the percent of total UAB effort expended on the employee’s various institutional activities, including sponsored research, sponsored instruction, other sponsored activities, instruction, training, administration, etc. Principal investigators and departmental management are responsible for ensuring that UAB project employees responsible for certifying their activities understand clearly which accounts represent those activities and how their effort actually relates to those accounts.
“In the OIG’s fiscal year 2007 work plan, that office has said that its investigators and auditors will continue to work closely with the Department of Justice to develop and pursue cases under the False Claims Act against institutions that receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies in the Public Health Service,” Tilden said.
“The OIG said it plans to determine whether salary charges to NIH grants accurately reflect the time that researchers spent on those grants,” he said. “The OIG also plans to determine whether colleges and universities have appropriately charged administrative and clerical salaries to federally sponsored grants and to determine whether cost transfers by NIH grantees were allowed.”
The agency’s work plan said there are a growing number of settlements under the False Claims Act indicating “that some major research universities continue to engage in practices that do not result in an equitable distribution of their employees’ activities, resulting in overcharges to NIH grants and a reduction in funds available for other research costs.”
Tilden said UAB will place emphasis on those same areas while at the same time continuing its efforts to ensure that certified reports are submitted by the 60-day due date and prior to the 90-day deadline when they are considered delinquent.
To find out more about effort reporting, go to www.uab.edu/effort .