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OMB Issues Guidance on Federal Employee Travel and Conferences

June 7, 2013—The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) May 31 issued a Controller Alert to federal agencies regarding travel and conference activity “in light of the FY 2013 sequestration of non-exempt budgetary resources.” The OMB alert acknowledges the need for federal employees to attend mission-related conferences and provides additional guidance on approving travel and meeting expenses. Additionally, the alert stresses that federal agencies should not interpret any previous OMB guidance as a moratorium on travel or conference attendance, but notes that a continued reduction in such activities should be anticipated due to sequestration.

Of particular importance to medical schools and teaching hospitals, the OMB alert notes, “Given the unique travel and conference needs of each agency, there are circumstances in which physical collocation is necessary to complete the mission. These circumstances may include, but are not limited to, collaborations in the scientific community...” The alert continues, “Several agencies rely on meetings with industry and academic colleagues to drive innovation and ensure continued advancement in related fields.” 

OMB also instructs each federal agency to provide its employees with specific policies on acceptable conference and travel expenses and offers a suggested list of “minimum” best practices to consider when creating the guidelines.

The list of best practices notes that acceptable professional training conference events “may include Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Professional Development Units (PDUs) for areas that are relevant and valuable to the job function of the individual employee and that contribute to maintaining professional accreditation or certification.”


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806