United States: HHS OIG Issues Self-Disclosure Program Guidance For Research Grants And Contracts

Last Updated: July 30 2019
Article by Mark Barnes and Valerie H. Bonham

Universities, academic medical centers, companies and other recipients and sub-recipients of federal biomedical and basic research funds are under increased scrutiny and facing stiffer penalties for fraud and other improper conduct in connection with grants, contracts and other agreements. Recently, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) of the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance on mandatory and voluntary self-disclosure actions, the HHS OIG Grantee Self-Disclosure Program, which gives specific expectations and processes for reporting. This is important for awardees to consider carefully as they assess and remediate grant compliance problems.

Under the 21st Century Cures Act, OIG gained new authorities under the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (“CMP”), at 42 U.S.C. §§ 1320a‐7a(o)(1)‐(5), including for false or fraudulent claims, as well as for making or causing to be made false statements, omissions, or misrepresentations of material facts in connection with applications and funded awards. OIG sanctions include civil monetary penalties, assessments, and exclusion from receipt of federal funds or participation in federal health care programs. Fines under the law can include penalties in the amount of $0 to $10,000 or $50,000 per individual offense or $10,000 for each day certain offenses are concealed, depending on the circumstances, and additional damages of up to three times the government’s actual losses for some claims. OIG may also exercise its administrative federal health care program exclusion authority, which is often the more significant threat to awardees’ operations.

Applicants, awardees and sub-awardees are obligated to self-disclose to OIG, and separately to the HHS funding component, certain conduct involving criminal offenses. Reporting is required for violations or potential violations of criminal laws relating to fraud, bribery or gratuity violations involving a research award. HHS grant regulations at 45 CFR 75.113 identify the offenses for which mandatory disclosure is required.

Voluntary disclosure to OIG is available for other activities and offers the prospect of direct benefit to the discloser. Reporting to OIG is voluntary for violations or potential violations of the CMP law and any other conduct that may violate civil or administrative law that is not included within the scope of offenses listed at 45 CFR 75.113.

Several benefits may attach to voluntary disclosure, which is common in other areas over which OIG has authority, such as Medicare or Medicaid fraud. These benefits include lower penalties, often half or two-thirds of the treble damages OIG is authorized to seek. They also include a presumption against an integrity agreement (and its increased compliance, auditing and disclosure duties) in exchange for OIG’s releasing its exclusion authority, and the prospect of a coordination to assist in a global settlement of any related claims with the Department of Justice and the HHS funder, e.g., for potential False Claims Act and criminal claims.

Before making a disclosure and after a reportable event is identified, OIG expects the discloser to investigate and assess potential government losses, undertake corrective action, and prepare a written report in accord with the requirements set forth in the Grantee Self-Disclosure guidance, and the checklist OIG provides with it. Disclosures should include:

  • Descriptions of the recipient and the disclosing party, the award or awards at issue, the funding agency or agencies, including whether disclosure has been or will be made to them and the names of grant officers, and the funds involved, including costs to the government and methodology for determining them.
  • A description of the conduct at issue and corrective actions taken, with specifics relating to who, what, when and where, as well as the criminal, civil or administrative laws potentially violated. This should include any known investigations or inquiries into the matter from other federal, state or local government agencies, with contact information for those agencies where applicable.
  • A list of all federal agencies providing any support to the discloser.
  • The name of an individual authorized to enter into a settlement agreement on behalf of the discloser and a certification by the discloser, or his or her authorized representative, that the disclosure “contains truthful information and is based on a good faith effort to bring the matter” to the OIG.

After disclosure, OIG seeks to resolve most cases through a negotiated settlement with the discloser. All self-disclosures of course should be complete and thorough, which, in some cases, may require independent assessment or verification of findings.

The decision to make a voluntary self-disclosure involves legal and business risks requiring careful fact-finding and analysis. At present, OIG’s grantee self-disclosure website lists three grantee self-disclosure settlements, beginning in December 2018 and most recently in June 2019. See Grantee Self-Disclosure Settlements, https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/enforcement/cmp/grantee.asp. Risk-benefit evaluation for voluntary disclosure will be informed by more settlements as they become public over time.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions