fourwheelcycle wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:36 am
When I was a child I had polio (Can you guess my age? Since no one gets polio anymore.) Fortunately, I had no lasting effects. However, for ten or more years afterward, my father received an annual letter from the large medical center that cared for me saying they were happy they were able to help me when I was ill, describing the many specialized services and research activities at the center, and asking if there was any further help they could provide to my father and his family. That's it - no request for a donation. Nonetheless, my father recognized it as a request for a donation and either donated or did not donate, as he wished.
Second, about the letter coming from your physician, not from the medical center.
Physicians at research medical centers may be employed by the hospital, by a partnered single-specialty or multi-specialty group practice, by the medical school, or by independent private practices.
At the medical center where I used to work all physicians are employed on a salary basis either by the medical school or by a not-for-profit partnered multi-specialty group practice. Generally, fund raising occurs through formal efforts initiated by our development office. Occasionally, a grateful patient, on their own initiative, asks if they can give money directly to the cardiologists, or the cancer surgeons, or the cancer center, etc., that cared for them. Under our once informal, but now formal, rules the involved physician or specialty center is supposed to put the patient in touch with our development office, which will then work with the patient to set up their gift so that it will benefit the area of the medical center the patient or their family wishes to assist.
However, there were also some instances when individual physicians "primed the pump" by suggesting to a well-off patient that they could make a donation directly to the physician's specialty department or center if they appreciated the care they had received (All of our physicians are on salary only, and they cannot receive funds personally from grateful patients or families).
As a result of instances in which physicians made personal requests to patients or their families, our medical center established a formal rule that no physician may approach a patient directly, in person or by mail, to solicit donations for their specialty department or center. All personal and mailed solicitations must be authorized by our development office. Most are clearly sent by the development office, although we allow a very few centers, such as our cancer center and our children's hospital, to send requests directly to the public, including past and present patients and their families. However, even these direct mailings are planned with and authorized by our development office. No patient should ever receive a mailing directly from one of our physicians.
Of course, the above description is just how our medical center has addressed this issue. Some medical centers may allow their own employed physicians, or private practice physicians who have medical staff privileges at the medical center, to send out letters of the type you received.
In any event, it is not at all unusual for a letter you recognize as a request for a donation to not come right out and ask for one.