Financial solicitation by my doctor

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rjbraun
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Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by rjbraun » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:20 pm

I have been treated by a specialist for several years now. The doctor works at a major research medical school / university, and I see her for an annual check-up.

I received a letter from her a few weeks ago. In the cover letter she briefly discusses her unit's work, "exciting research projects" taking place, and, in essence, how all of this can benefit me and other patients like me. She included one double-sided color page that included additional research highlights and similar. The insert also had a couple of sections dedicated to her current and past research projects (in collaboration with other MDs), along with some of her biographical information. Edited to add (to clarify that an explicit financial donation was requested by the doctor): The cover letter closes with a request for money, "Financial support is crucial to our efforts and I would be delighted if you would consider making a contribution to this research." Also, the color page insert has a highlighted section entitled "The Future and How You Can Help" ... "Your support ensures our continued success. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. [blank]'s clinical or research activities, ..." and then in the next paragraph "Checks, payable to [blah blah] University' may be sent to:" so-and-so in the Office of Development."

I actually received similar correspondence from her a couple of years ago. I was a little surprised to receive the material at that time, but kind of forgot about it until I received something again now.

Personally, I find it kind of odd and am a bit put off, especially given that it seems to come directly from my doctor (yes, still on university letterhead but not the university's development office or another more abstract entity). While I like my doctor fine, I don't want to feel pressured to support her research. Even if I did, it's hard to think my modest contribution could really make a difference in the big scheme of things. At the same time, if I don't give I kind of wonder if I may feel awkward in the event I were to ever need to ask her a question, say, between my annual visits. Even worse, I suppose this sort of thing could lead to prioritization of patients (which I would hope doesn't happen).

Granted, I always marvel when I see on the insurance "Explanation of Benefits" how little she and my other doctors actually receive from the insurer for each visit, but the role of patients is not to provide financial support to their doctors' research. :confused

Have others ever received anything like this from their doctors? Is this common? I don't believe I've ever received anything like this before. If I did, it was at a very high level and did not highlight one specific individual (fwiw, she's mid-career, an associate professor, and presumably not world-renowned in the field, etc.)

Note: I guess maybe people receive requests for donations from hospitals they have been treated at. While I might not appreciate getting those solicitations, either, this one seems so personal as it comes directly from the person who treats me.
Last edited by rjbraun on Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jebmke
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by jebmke » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:24 pm

I don't think it is unusual to get a solicitation from an institution (this has happened to me). I have never heard of getting one from the person who treated you. That does seem odd.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:25 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:20 pm
Have others ever received anything like this from their doctors? Is this common? I don't believe I've ever received anything like this before.
I've never heard of such a thing.

If it happened to me, I'd find a new doctor. I want my physicians to focus on treating me, not hitting me up for funding.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:31 pm

Never received anything like that. If I didn't want to donate, I would ignore it.

As with any other health care provider, if I felt the care was up to my expectations, I would continue to see her. If I felt that my care was compromised in any way by the solicitation, my response to it, or anything else, I would go elsewhere.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:33 pm

We've never (yet?) gotten a solicitation to help with research directly from any of our physicians.

But we do get such email and snail mail from the teaching hospital/medical center.
What it a bit more similar is when it comes from a group that does involve research that pertains to our own medical situations.
That seems inappropriate. Sometimes it is phrased almost in a way that seems to try to get someone to feel guilty if they do NOT support it...after all the recipient is benefiting from the treatments from that unit, etc.

I do not support them, for this reason.
We have other non-profits that we prefer to support, including smaller ones that probably benefit more from "our" particular contributions.

RM
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HIinvestor
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by HIinvestor » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:36 pm

I get some solicitation materials from various med centers where I’ve gotten treatment but none personalized to zero in on my provider. I would be a bit uncomfortable too. It’s orobabky the center’s way of hoping to increase donations via “personalization” and nothing your md has control over.

mags
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by mags » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm

Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.

Topic Author
rjbraun
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by rjbraun » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:46 pm

HIinvestor wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:36 pm
I get some solicitation materials from various med centers where I’ve gotten treatment but none personalized to zero in on my provider. I would be a bit uncomfortable too. It’s orobabky the center’s way of hoping to increase donations via “personalization” and nothing your md has control over.
Yeah, that thought also crossed my mind. The insert provides a contact for the school's director of development ("if you would like further information"). I am almost inclined to contact that person to check if the solicitation is really driven by higher forces than my doctor. Of course, I would also probably use the contact to share that I am put off by the request.

On reflection, I have other doctors tied to this same university, and I've never received such personalized solicitations from them. The school is probably a bit of a bureaucracy, though, so it's entirely possible that each division may have its own quirks and practices.

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rjbraun
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by rjbraun » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm

mags wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm
Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.
Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.

awval999
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by awval999 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:20 pm

I think you're taking this too personally.

The physician is highly likely employed by the University and had no choice in the matter.

University wants research funds and this is how they elected to try to solicit them.

ICMoney
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ICMoney » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:30 pm

On the surface this could be a possible HIPAA violation? From the HIPAA website you have the right to (among other things):

"...Decide if you want to give your permission before your health information can be used or shared for certain purposes, such as for marketing

Get a report on when and why your health information was shared for certain purposes..."

The fact that you are even a patient at this facility and of this provider is, to me, protected health information.

Maybe start with these questions to your doctor's office, and depending on the results file a HIPAA complaint.

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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Spirit Rider » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:32 pm

HIPPA regulations do not even allow a medical provider to acknowledge that you have been treated by them. While this may or may not be illegal, I certainly consider it unethical that they used your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from being a patient to solicit you. That information was provided to them for the narrow purpose of providing care.

adam1712
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by adam1712 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:40 pm

Our University med center recently has been taking a more personalized approach in terms of individual researchers highlighting that donations help their research but I'm unaware of anything like this. I'd be shocked if this wasn't done with the development office and I highly doubt your physician would ever know if you donated. But I think it's perfectly reasonable to contact the development office and express your concerns. I can totally see being put off by it.

increment
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by increment » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:51 pm

Last month in the New York Times: "Hospitals Are Asking Their Own Patients to Donate Money". The article noted, 'These various tactics, part of a strategy known as “grateful patient programs,” make some people uncomfortable.'

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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Fallible » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:56 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm
mags wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm
Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.
Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.
How exactly is she soliciting for your money? Is she asking directly for money? I wasn't clear about that from your posts.
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sambb
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by sambb » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:07 pm

University research is a huge part of modern medical care and the world has benefited. I think it’s great that docs are doing research to cure future diseases. Philanthropy is a big part of healthcare research.

malabargold
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by malabargold » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:43 pm

Report to your state medical board

Nothing like that should come into play
in a doctor-patient relationship

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rjbraun
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by rjbraun » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:49 pm

Fallible wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:56 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm
mags wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm
Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.
Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.
How exactly is she soliciting for your money? Is she asking directly for money? I wasn't clear about that from your posts.
Yes, direct request for money. Sorry, I can see why it might have been unclear.

From the cover letter:

After the introductory paragraph outlining the need for research and how she and others are trying to change things, the last paragraph says "Financial support is crucial to our efforts and I would be delighted if you would consider making a contribution to this research. I've enclosed an attachment that describes my research activities. It is my sincere hope that the information gained from our research will improve and personalize the care of patients like you. Sincerely, [my doctor's signature]"

Also, in the double-side insert:

There's a framed box that takes up slightly less than one-quarter of the page, entitled "The Future and How You Can Help". "Your support ensures our continued success. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. X's clinical or research activities, or if you would like further information, please contact so-and-so, Director of Development.

Checks, payable to "blah blah University" may be sent to: so-and-so. Please indicate in the memo section: Dr. X #1234"

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ram
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ram » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:17 pm

Many large healthcare organizations believe that likelihood of getting donation is higher if it is more personalized and appears to come from the treating physician. They act on this belief.
Most likely it came from the philanthropic arm of the university and your doctor had no say in the matter. Dont give if you dont want to. I highly doubt if anything will change in relation to your treatment. ( I am an MD )
Ram

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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Fallible » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:32 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:49 pm
Fallible wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:56 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm
mags wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm
Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.
Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.
How exactly is she soliciting for your money? Is she asking directly for money? I wasn't clear about that from your posts.
Yes, direct request for money. Sorry, I can see why it might have been unclear.

From the cover letter:

After the introductory paragraph outlining the need for research and how she and others are trying to change things, the last paragraph says "Financial support is crucial to our efforts and I would be delighted if you would consider making a contribution to this research. I've enclosed an attachment that describes my research activities. It is my sincere hope that the information gained from our research will improve and personalize the care of patients like you. Sincerely, [my doctor's signature]"

Also, in the double-side insert:

There's a framed box that takes up slightly less than one-quarter of the page, entitled "The Future and How You Can Help". "Your support ensures our continued success. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. X's clinical or research activities, or if you would like further information, please contact so-and-so, Director of Development.

Checks, payable to "blah blah University" may be sent to: so-and-so. Please indicate in the memo section: Dr. X #1234"

Here are two articles on the subject from the New York Times and Reuters. Apparently, some doctors are concerned about this.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/heal ... s-say.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... J020151001
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J295
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by J295 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:54 pm

When I'm solicited for gifts I choose to receive the request with gratitude for the opportunity to choose (or decline ) to give rather than feel like I'm being put upon. I can easily reply with a yes or no.

I know that Mayo Clinic has solicited funds from me because I was treated there.

I have no idea on the rules of medical ethics. However, for a large portion of requests I have had some personal relationship with the requesting group and that seem entirely reasonable to me that they might give the opportunity to participate in their mission financially.

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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by southerndoc » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:03 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:32 pm
HIPPA regulations do not even allow a medical provider to acknowledge that you have been treated by them. While this may or may not be illegal, I certainly consider it unethical that they used your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from being a patient to solicit you. That information was provided to them for the narrow purpose of providing care.
I'm not sure HIPAA applies here. The physician may not be able to discuss your medical care, but as a patient you are in the billing system of the health system and can be contacted from that regard. If the health system was referring people to an outside organization, then that would be different. If the physician told someone in the philanthropy office that patient x was here with z condition, then that would be a HIPAA violation.

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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by southerndoc » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:06 pm

malabargold wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:43 pm
Report to your state medical board

Nothing like that should come into play
in a doctor-patient relationship
This is overkill and will lead to unnecessary stress to the physician. The physician probably doesn't endorse this, but is likely required to do it as part of his/her employment.

Are you the type of person that calls the police on the Girl Scout selling cookies without a permit?

Seriously, contacting the state medical board over this is way overkill and undeserved for the physician to be put through that. This likely wasn't targeted to the patient by a specific physician. This was probably mailed out to numerous patients of the health system with multiple brochures/advertisements that were randomized.

Katietsu
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Katietsu » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:17 pm

It is interesting to see the perspectives here. My husband’s institution does this. The personalized packages go out to those who some third party service have identified using public data as more likely to have a higher than average net worth. They are prepared by the Development officer. They are brought to the physician to sign.

Most doctors there are a bit annoyed at having to deal with this but it is considered part of the job of being employed there. Unless a significant donation comes from this, it is unlikely the physician will ever even know whether a particular patient donates. Since this is a major institution with a large Foundation office, including a staff lawyer, I am sure they are not violating any laws.

Most large donations within his department do come from grateful patients or those with a personal association with a given type of work.
Last edited by Katietsu on Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

sambb
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by sambb » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:18 pm

It is unfortunate that a request for philanthropic funds to advance healthcare for research purposes (and hence enhance the health of our population), (something done in most healthcare institutions including mayo and cleveland clinic), is somehow equated with a medical board issue (?). Im sure if one inquires, one will probably discover that the funds are used by a nonprofit for research purposes. I hope whatever research is being done, that it will help my family in the future to be healthy.

Im sure that girl scouts are also guilty of solicitation of funds.

pennylane
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by pennylane » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:19 pm

Stop being so sensitive. Don’t want to participate? Disregard it then.

Teague
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Teague » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:26 pm

I get one of those things annually from the department of an academic surgeon that treated me several years ago. Dr. Amazing is still advancing the frontiers of medicine, needs more money for research, blah blah, etc. I simply toss them.
Semper Augustus

prairieman
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by prairieman » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:40 pm

I also received similar documents from one of my specialty doctors. It didn’t bother me in the least. He is doing top quality research on my rare condition and I thought of it more as an ad to keep me coming back rather than a solicitation for money. But, who knows? Maybe a recipient or two have $100 million dollars and would like to donate millions to search for a cure. And if so, all the better for me.

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rjbraun
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by rjbraun » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:24 pm

southerndoc wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:03 pm
Spirit Rider wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:32 pm
HIPPA regulations do not even allow a medical provider to acknowledge that you have been treated by them. While this may or may not be illegal, I certainly consider it unethical that they used your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from being a patient to solicit you. That information was provided to them for the narrow purpose of providing care.
I'm not sure HIPAA applies here. The physician may not be able to discuss your medical care, but as a patient you are in the billing system of the health system and can be contacted from that regard. If the health system was referring people to an outside organization, then that would be different. If the physician told someone in the philanthropy office that patient x was here with z condition, then that would be a HIPAA violation.
The link provided above by increment to a recent New York Times article includes a link to The Giving Institute and "The HIPAA Rule: What Fundraisers Need to Know". I've excerpted a portion below, but basically it seems that since 2013 health care providers have greater ability to tap protected health information for fundraising.

Overview

HIPAA aims to protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information. The Privacy Rule component of the law establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization, including uses for fundraising. Updated HIPAA regulations released in 2013 clarify the rules fundraisers must follow to comply with the statute, and it is important for fundraisers to revisit these modifications to ensure proper adherence.

What Information is Available to Fundraisers?

Since 2013, health care providers, including certain kinds of retirement communities, have had a greater ability to use protected health information (“PHI”) for fundraising purposes. Health care organizations now have opportunities to target their fundraising based on the nature of the services a patient received or the identity of his or her physician. They may also further engage physicians in the process of making personal appeals to patients.


https://www.givinginstitute.org/news/25 ... o-Know.htm

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ResearchMed
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:39 pm

Thanks, rjbraun.

That answers that...

Thank you.

RM
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Rwsawbones
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Rwsawbones » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:22 pm

Such a request if really made by a treating physician is unethical. It is likely the physician is employed. Employers of physicians are not bound by medical ethics. You can ask the physician if your status as a contributor or non contributor will affect your care. This question should elicit a sense of shame in the physician and if anything will enhance your status with the physician.

malabargold
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by malabargold » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:58 pm

southerndoc wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:06 pm
malabargold wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:43 pm
Report to your state medical board

Nothing like that should come into play
in a doctor-patient relationship
This is overkill and will lead to unnecessary stress to the physician. The physician probably doesn't endorse this, but is likely required to do it as part of his/her employment.

Are you the type of person that calls the police on the Girl Scout selling cookies without a permit?

Seriously, contacting the state medical board over this is way overkill and undeserved for the physician to be put through that. This likely wasn't targeted to the patient by a specific physician. This was probably mailed out to numerous patients of the health system with multiple brochures/advertisements that were randomized.

No - I’m an M.D. and I’d do it in a heartbeat

No one ever need be made to feel indebted or grateful to a doctor or medical institution.

We’re all doing the job we elected to do and we’re
all more than handsomely compensated.

There’s already far to much financial intrusion in medicine
without this garbage.

4nwestsaylng
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:24 pm

malabargold wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:43 pm
Report to your state medical board

Nothing like that should come into play
in a doctor-patient relationship
I think that is going overboard.Discuss with the development office or administration to get the policy and request no more solicitation.I gather you like going to a doctor affiliated with a research institution;sometimes this occurs but I agree it should not be a letter directly from your doctor,I see a doctor at a major university and receive an annual letter from its foundation.I donate with no feeling of pressure.They send a thank you note.

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FlyAF
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by FlyAF » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 am

pennylane wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:19 pm
Stop being so sensitive. Don’t want to participate? Disregard it then.
Yeah, people here get so wound up about everything. I cannot go a single day w/o somebody hitting me up for money. Be it the homeless guy on the corner, the guy at the gas station that doesn't have enough gas to get home, my Alma Mater, the airline charging for a barf bag, etc.........How hard is it to just ignore all the noise?

I mean, a response was to actually contact the state medical board. LOL, what a bunch of nonsense. I sometimes feel like I'm from another planet when I login to this site.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:02 am

FlyAF wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 am
pennylane wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:19 pm
Stop being so sensitive. Don’t want to participate? Disregard it then.
Yeah, people here get so wound up about everything. I cannot go a single day w/o somebody hitting me up for money. Be it the homeless guy on the corner, the guy at the gas station that doesn't have enough gas to get home, my Alma Mater, the airline charging for a barf bag, etc.........How hard is it to just ignore all the noise?

I mean, a response was to actually contact the state medical board. LOL, what a bunch of nonsense. I sometimes feel like I'm from another planet when I login to this site.
This is different.

For some people, not necessarily those here (but some of us might be attuned to these larger issues, personally or professionally), there could be a minor (or larger) sense of coercion if one did not "contribute".

This is not very different from the similar concerns about perceptions of coercion when one is asked to participate in a research study (vs. calling to *ask* to participate).

To some people, medical professionals are close to gods, and they dare not question anything...
And to some others, they just might not want to tick off their medical team in any way at all...

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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FlyAF
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by FlyAF » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:11 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:02 am
FlyAF wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 am
pennylane wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:19 pm
Stop being so sensitive. Don’t want to participate? Disregard it then.
Yeah, people here get so wound up about everything. I cannot go a single day w/o somebody hitting me up for money. Be it the homeless guy on the corner, the guy at the gas station that doesn't have enough gas to get home, my Alma Mater, the airline charging for a barf bag, etc.........How hard is it to just ignore all the noise?

I mean, a response was to actually contact the state medical board. LOL, what a bunch of nonsense. I sometimes feel like I'm from another planet when I login to this site.
This is different.

For some people, not necessarily those here (but some of us might be attuned to these larger issues, personally or professionally), there could be a minor (or larger) sense of coercion if one did not "contribute".

This is not very different from the similar concerns about perceptions of coercion when one is asked to participate in a research study (vs. calling to *ask* to participate).

To some people, medical professionals are close to gods, and they dare not question anything...
And to some others, they just might not want to tick off their medical team in any way at all...

RM
Actually it's not. A simple "no thanks" or tossing this highly offensive letter in the trash will suffice.

But hey, that's just me. The great thing about this country is that you're free to contact your state medical board or your congressman if you feel so inclined.

grok87
Posts: 8862
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by grok87 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:15 am

malabargold wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:43 pm
Report to your state medical board

Nothing like that should come into play
in a doctor-patient relationship
+1
RIP Mr. Bogle.

User avatar
ResearchMed
Posts: 9372
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:35 am

FlyAF wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:11 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:02 am
FlyAF wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 am
pennylane wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:19 pm
Stop being so sensitive. Don’t want to participate? Disregard it then.
Yeah, people here get so wound up about everything. I cannot go a single day w/o somebody hitting me up for money. Be it the homeless guy on the corner, the guy at the gas station that doesn't have enough gas to get home, my Alma Mater, the airline charging for a barf bag, etc.........How hard is it to just ignore all the noise?

I mean, a response was to actually contact the state medical board. LOL, what a bunch of nonsense. I sometimes feel like I'm from another planet when I login to this site.
This is different.

For some people, not necessarily those here (but some of us might be attuned to these larger issues, personally or professionally), there could be a minor (or larger) sense of coercion if one did not "contribute".

This is not very different from the similar concerns about perceptions of coercion when one is asked to participate in a research study (vs. calling to *ask* to participate).

To some people, medical professionals are close to gods, and they dare not question anything...
And to some others, they just might not want to tick off their medical team in any way at all...

RM
Actually it's not. A simple "no thanks" or tossing this highly offensive letter in the trash will suffice.

But hey, that's just me. The great thing about this country is that you're free to contact your state medical board or your congressman if you feel so inclined.
Yes, that is "you" - and many of "us". But it is not "everyone".

Having worked in the field, I can assure you that there are many people who "dare not say no to any medical person".

There are a variety of fears about "how" they might offend said staff, and thus either be denied care, or get less care, or even be harmed somehow*. They can be astonishingly compliant and even intimidated.
That is why there are such stringent human subjects' regulations, with HIPAA being one of the more recent iterations.

Some people may tend to react in a similar fashion to a request for money especially from their "very own physician", just as they might if their own physician tried to recruit them for a research study.

* Sadly, there were indeed times that some medical staff did take advantage of this, with some unfortunate outcomes. But that is a separate topic.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

hifive
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by hifive » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:33 am

I ran this by a friend at my university who previously spent 6+ years in hospital fundraising and here's what she thought (paraphrased):

"This is definitely a solicitation from the fundraising department, not the doctor. The main objective with these mailings is getting recipients to open the letter in the first place and think about healthcare philanthropy. So we'd try to make the letters feel more personal by thinking of a doctor who had name recognition in the area we were trying to raise money for, and asked permission to use their name and picture. The letters were almost always authored by professional writers as the doctors didn't care to provide that level of input."

What's in it for the doctor?

"Sometimes a portion or all of the gifts received would go toward their department or specific research. It should say in the letter or on an enclosed gift remittance card if this is the case. But most of the doctors were fine doing this even without that guarantee."

I assume this goes without saying but whether or not someone gives has no impact on care, right?

"Absolutely not! The doctors never even knew who gave. Fundraising was the only department who got to see the donor names and amounts."

How did you decide who got sent the letter? What about HIPAA concerns?

"We had a set group of people to mail for the year. The process for deciding who to mail to was very involved, and took weeks with multiple departments weighing in including legal. We never used, and I certainly never saw, any PHI [protected health information] when creating the lists or segmenting letter recipients. Everyone who received a letter in a specific month received basically the same message, though we'd customize it with their name and sometimes a suggested donation amount. We would use one doctor per mailing, so some people who received a letter might have a relationship with that doctor while others wouldn't by chance. It's not that we tried to match letter recipients with their physicians."

Does this fundraising approach work?

"Yes, we'd raise multiples of the cost of each mailing in new donations, and occasionally a donor would be interested in making a much larger contribution to a specific cause. The mailings were a way for people to demonstrate interest in healthcare philanthropy."

Hopefully that gives some insight into the fundraising world.

As a point of interest I saw a recent appeal from my institution and the signature does look really good - the ink has different reflectivity and everything - but I'm assured no human hand produced it. The technology is pretty impressive. There's certainly no comparison to the pixelated smudge I end up with when signing forms in Adobe Acrobat :D

Hikes_With_Dogs
Posts: 286
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:36 pm

Just piping in another voice for "this is normal"....

Our hospital has a "grateful patient" policy where we solicit from patients who think would be interested in contributing to our institution.

Whether or not you contribute or not, this should not effect your relationship with your physician. In fact, they will probably not even be aware if you contributed.

JPM
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:29 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by JPM » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:44 am

Our institution and most others raise money for research with solicitations. Most of the money comes from a small number of people. We don't ask the doctors to solicit their patients personally. If they did some would say no. Others may sincerely believe in the value of their research and feel that personal fund raising is an expression of that belief. Having your doctor sign it, unless she is doing so as a department or section head, is not usual in my experience.

Institutions generally have an angel group they rely on to support high priority projects. They are always looking to expand that group.That group gets special treatment when they need service.

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SevenBridgesRoad
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:03 am

ram wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:17 pm

...Most likely it came from the philanthropic arm of the university and your doctor had no say in the matter. ...
There are a number of similar posts stating or suggesting the physician has no say in the matter. I don't believe this for a second. No department of a health system would ever send out a letter from a doctor without getting her/his input. If a physician truly objected, the organization would not want to alienate the physician (and colleagues who would hear about it) and perhaps bring lawyers into the matter. This doctor is quite unlikely to be an innocent, frightened bunny unable to resist the evil development department. Don't believe it.
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

SoAnyway
Posts: 417
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by SoAnyway » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:11 am

rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:49 pm
Fallible wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:56 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm
mags wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm
Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.
Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.
How exactly is she soliciting for your money? Is she asking directly for money? I wasn't clear about that from your posts.
Yes, direct request for money. Sorry, I can see why it might have been unclear.

From the cover letter:

After the introductory paragraph outlining the need for research and how she and others are trying to change things, the last paragraph says "Financial support is crucial to our efforts and I would be delighted if you would consider making a contribution to this research. I've enclosed an attachment that describes my research activities. It is my sincere hope that the information gained from our research will improve and personalize the care of patients like you. Sincerely, [my doctor's signature]"

Also, in the double-side insert:

There's a framed box that takes up slightly less than one-quarter of the page, entitled "The Future and How You Can Help". "Your support ensures our continued success. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. X's clinical or research activities, or if you would like further information, please contact so-and-so, Director of Development.

Checks, payable to "blah blah University" may be sent to: so-and-so. Please indicate in the memo section: Dr. X #1234"
OP, not to ask a stupid question but have you actually had a 1-on-1 with your doctor, shown her the documents you received, and expressed your concerns? All of us strangers on the internet can only speculate. Maybe she knew about it, maybe she didn't. As others have indicated, maybe she's under pressures from her employer that you know nothing about. Who knows. SoAnyway....

If you're concerned enough to post here, you're concerned enough to take it to the person and organization who's in a position to do something about your (legitimate, in my view) concerns. Good luck.
Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice. | Consult your attorney or physician to verify if/how anything stated might or might not be applicable to your specific situation.

SoAnyway
Posts: 417
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Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by SoAnyway » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:40 am

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:03 am
No department of a health system would ever send out a letter from a doctor without getting her/his input. If a physician TRULY objected, the organization would not want to alienate the physician (and colleagues who would hear about it) and perhaps bring lawyers into the matter.
Yes and no. I agree there are a minority of "physician-driven" health systems where this would never happen, SBR. That said, I also know that due to financial pressures, increasingly the "grey coats" are running roughshod over the "white coats" in many health systems, particularly those that are publicly-traded. And as many posts on this forum and WCI illustrate, many doctors have boatloads of student loans to pay and are vulnerable to stupid "lifestyle creep" decisions, such that even if asked to approve a communication going out (I'd guess a minority of systems), the doctors are either (1) understandably focused on getting their patients the care they need to keep them alive, and so they blindly hit "I accept" on whatever the marketing/devt. dept. sent them (just like we all do w/r/t privacy policies and terms of use that we don't read, and that send all our private data out into the ether), or (2) they actually read the communication, and have the EQ to think and worry about how a patient might perceive it, and then are forced into an ethical conundrum of whether to just hit "I accept", or fight a fight they might not win that might jeopardize their ability to pay off their loans, support their families, etc.

Have some empathy, SBR. "Context" is everything. Everybody answers to somebody. (The red/bolded/italicized/all caps parts that I added to your post above summarize neatly.) In my view, putting the physician in the position of having to decide whether to (to use your words) "truly" object (wink, wink), under most circumstances is what causes the conundrum. And btw, I've been on both the medical and legal sides of these situations from just about every angle you can imagine; it ain't pretty.
Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice. | Consult your attorney or physician to verify if/how anything stated might or might not be applicable to your specific situation.

grok87
Posts: 8862
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by grok87 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:37 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:35 am
FlyAF wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:11 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:02 am
FlyAF wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 am
pennylane wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:19 pm
Stop being so sensitive. Don’t want to participate? Disregard it then.
Yeah, people here get so wound up about everything. I cannot go a single day w/o somebody hitting me up for money. Be it the homeless guy on the corner, the guy at the gas station that doesn't have enough gas to get home, my Alma Mater, the airline charging for a barf bag, etc.........How hard is it to just ignore all the noise?

I mean, a response was to actually contact the state medical board. LOL, what a bunch of nonsense. I sometimes feel like I'm from another planet when I login to this site.
This is different.

For some people, not necessarily those here (but some of us might be attuned to these larger issues, personally or professionally), there could be a minor (or larger) sense of coercion if one did not "contribute".

This is not very different from the similar concerns about perceptions of coercion when one is asked to participate in a research study (vs. calling to *ask* to participate).

To some people, medical professionals are close to gods, and they dare not question anything...
And to some others, they just might not want to tick off their medical team in any way at all...

RM
Actually it's not. A simple "no thanks" or tossing this highly offensive letter in the trash will suffice.

But hey, that's just me. The great thing about this country is that you're free to contact your state medical board or your congressman if you feel so inclined.
Yes, that is "you" - and many of "us". But it is not "everyone".

Having worked in the field, I can assure you that there are many people who "dare not say no to any medical person".

There are a variety of fears about "how" they might offend said staff, and thus either be denied care, or get less care, or even be harmed somehow*. They can be astonishingly compliant and even intimidated.
That is why there are such stringent human subjects' regulations, with HIPAA being one of the more recent iterations.

Some people may tend to react in a similar fashion to a request for money especially from their "very own physician", just as they might if their own physician tried to recruit them for a research study.

* Sadly, there were indeed times that some medical staff did take advantage of this, with some unfortunate outcomes. But that is a separate topic.

RM
yep.

all of this sounds like a clear vioation of the Hippocratic oath to me.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath
"And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets. "
RIP Mr. Bogle.

Topic Author
rjbraun
Posts: 1476
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by rjbraun » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:24 pm

SoAnyway wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:11 am
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:49 pm
Fallible wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:56 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm
mags wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:42 pm
Most hospitals send these out and the docs know nothing about it.
Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.
How exactly is she soliciting for your money? Is she asking directly for money? I wasn't clear about that from your posts.
Yes, direct request for money. Sorry, I can see why it might have been unclear.

From the cover letter:

After the introductory paragraph outlining the need for research and how she and others are trying to change things, the last paragraph says "Financial support is crucial to our efforts and I would be delighted if you would consider making a contribution to this research. I've enclosed an attachment that describes my research activities. It is my sincere hope that the information gained from our research will improve and personalize the care of patients like you. Sincerely, [my doctor's signature]"

Also, in the double-side insert:

There's a framed box that takes up slightly less than one-quarter of the page, entitled "The Future and How You Can Help". "Your support ensures our continued success. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. X's clinical or research activities, or if you would like further information, please contact so-and-so, Director of Development.

Checks, payable to "blah blah University" may be sent to: so-and-so. Please indicate in the memo section: Dr. X #1234"
OP, not to ask a stupid question but have you actually had a 1-on-1 with your doctor, shown her the documents you received, and expressed your concerns? All of us strangers on the internet can only speculate. Maybe she knew about it, maybe she didn't. As others have indicated, maybe she's under pressures from her employer that you know nothing about. Who knows. SoAnyway....

If you're concerned enough to post here, you're concerned enough to take it to the person and organization who's in a position to do something about your (legitimate, in my view) concerns. Good luck.
SoAnyway, no, to date I have not spoken with my doctor about the letter. It arrived after my last appointment. As I only see her annually, I guess I could save the question for my next appointment in the fall. While I suppose I had the opportunity after receiving the first letter several years ago, I don't recall that the letter and my annual visit occurred close in time. Also, with the first go around with the letter it gave me pause, and then I just let it go.

Fwiw, in that case, and this one, my reaction was to not only feel the urging by the institution to contribute but also, perhaps curiously, some "pity" for the doctor. While her background is plenty impressive, she's very good in person and she's affiliated with a premier institution, I kind of thought it was somewhat sad that she was put in the position of having to reach out to me, a patient, for funding. It's only with this second letter and my OP and the helpful feedback from a number of the replies that I can begin to put things in context and see that her letter is likely part of a larger institutional fundraising effort, one that she may or may not be actively eager to participate in.

As to her being unaware of the letter, if that were truly the case, that would be revealing as someone else would have attached her signature to a letter without her permission. Of course, it's possible, but at least to me that would be unacceptable and on its own would make me wary of dealing with the institution (assuming it was an authorized action and not just one "bad actor" who fell through (unintended) cracks in the system).

SoAnyway, I did contact the development office yesterday. The contact person listed on the letter was out and apparently is traveling for several days. Perhaps I will try to reach out again in the next week or two and try to understand better the situation. I will be sure to post in the event I learn anything helpful or worthwhile.

If I were to try to speak directly with the doctor at my next appointment, it might turn out fine or it could be awkward, imo, and I just don't see the "risk:reward" payoff as worth it. Namely, maybe she explains the situation and it's no big deal, or maybe she makes a big push for me to give, I say I would like to think about it, and then I have my exam. I think I might feel uncomfortable, even if I shouldn't, and I would just prefer to avoid that. For now, a number of posters have helped me to put the situation in a plausible context, which, for now, makes me comfortable to continue having her treat me.

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ram
Posts: 1329
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Location: Midwest

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by ram » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:12 pm

The only time I knew that one of my patients donated was when the amount was >100,000 and I was "advised" to be present at the ceremony where the donor family cut some ribbon.
Ram

toofache32
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by toofache32 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:17 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:24 pm
SoAnyway wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:11 am
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:49 pm
Fallible wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:56 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:57 pm

Well, in my case the doctor signed the letter so I'm assuming she knew on some level.

So, the letter is personalized to me and, on closer inspection, my doctor's signature actually looks original. The ink is black, so it's a little hard to tell if it's a copy but I think it's actually a real signature done with a ballpoint pen. Ugh, that's what I mean. Too personal. I recognize that this letter presumably went out to many patients, and maybe technology is such that it's easy to replicate an ink signature, but it's all just too personalized for my taste, given the context.

Still, I'm conflicted. I like the doctor, think she has done a good job treating me, and would be reluctant to change at this point, though, as mentioned, I'm not thrilled with the solicitation. In that regard, I would feel better if the Development Office basically said or implied that the whole thing is their doing.
How exactly is she soliciting for your money? Is she asking directly for money? I wasn't clear about that from your posts.
Yes, direct request for money. Sorry, I can see why it might have been unclear.

From the cover letter:

After the introductory paragraph outlining the need for research and how she and others are trying to change things, the last paragraph says "Financial support is crucial to our efforts and I would be delighted if you would consider making a contribution to this research. I've enclosed an attachment that describes my research activities. It is my sincere hope that the information gained from our research will improve and personalize the care of patients like you. Sincerely, [my doctor's signature]"

Also, in the double-side insert:

There's a framed box that takes up slightly less than one-quarter of the page, entitled "The Future and How You Can Help". "Your support ensures our continued success. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. X's clinical or research activities, or if you would like further information, please contact so-and-so, Director of Development.

Checks, payable to "blah blah University" may be sent to: so-and-so. Please indicate in the memo section: Dr. X #1234"
OP, not to ask a stupid question but have you actually had a 1-on-1 with your doctor, shown her the documents you received, and expressed your concerns? All of us strangers on the internet can only speculate. Maybe she knew about it, maybe she didn't. As others have indicated, maybe she's under pressures from her employer that you know nothing about. Who knows. SoAnyway....

If you're concerned enough to post here, you're concerned enough to take it to the person and organization who's in a position to do something about your (legitimate, in my view) concerns. Good luck.
As to her being unaware of the letter, if that were truly the case, that would be revealing as someone else would have attached her signature to a letter without her permission. Of course, it's possible, but at least to me that would be unacceptable and on its own would make me wary of dealing with the institution (assuming it was an authorized action and not just one "bad actor" who fell through (unintended) cracks in the system).
This is an example of how our current system preys on how much of the public still believes that doctors are "in charge" of things. The fact is, the physician is an employee just like the lady at the front desk who checked you in. When I worked in an employed position as a physician previously, I had some patients complain to me about similar things as if I had some power over my employers. I told them "yes, I agree. I don't like it either." The public still believes doctors have control over the business side of things for some reason.

michaelingp
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by michaelingp » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:42 pm

I seem to be the outlier here. If this happened to me, and I genuinely thought highly of the doctor (which the OP seems to), I'd probably send a relatively small contribution and I wouldn't mention it to the doc. The amount I'm thinking of would be about 3% of my annual charitable giving so I wouldn't really even notice it financially. It's not that I think my doc would sabotage my treatment if I didn't give, it's just that I'd want to be on the list of folks who find the medical establishment valuable. Yes, the next year I'd probably get an obnoxious letter asking me to up my contribution, but I get these all the time and give what I think is appropriate given my own situation. The person who deposits the checks doesn't know my financial situation, and I really don't think they are petty enough to really even care.

increment
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 2:20 pm

Re: Financial solicitation by my doctor

Post by increment » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:48 pm

michaelingp wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:42 pm
The person who deposits the checks doesn't know my financial situation, and I really don't think they are petty enough to really even care.
In January the New York Times wrote, "Many hospitals conduct nightly wealth screenings — using software that culls public data such as property records, contributions to political campaigns and other charities — to gauge which patients are most likely to be the source of large donations."

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