Researchers at Cornell University in New York are under investigation for allegedly enrolling inappropriate participants in research studies and filing false information on protocols with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to maintain government funding for a university research center.
Former researcher at the pediatric center accused the center's director of using the clinic to treat her adult patient's and alleged that clinic staff double billed the NIH and Medicaid for some patients. US Department of Justice and the NIH both launched investigations into research activities at the University's children's clinical research center. After a two year inquiry, Cornell's Weill Medical College in July agreed to pay the federal government $4.4 million to settle the charges levied by the US Attorney.
Kyriakie Sarafoglou, researcher at the center, first notified the NIH about problems at the center in 2003. She complained against Weill dean Antonio Gotto, and three administrators and seven physicians at the center, including former director Maria New. US Attorney reviewed Weill's database on actual use, it found, for instance, that in 2003 the program director used 80% of inpatient resources and 67% of outpatient resources. "The case is being reviewed by the appropriate authorities and appropriate action will be taken," says, NIH.