Physicians uneasy when patient is hospital philanthropist

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 24, 2012

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Some people who form close bonds to the medical center where they or family members received care express their gratitude through large charity contributions. This kind of philanthropy, while often essential to hospital bottom lines, can pose tricky problems in the doctor-patient relationship, said a study published online Dec. 6 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (link).

Structured interviews with 20 physicians at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore who had several patients who were large donors to the medical center revealed that 90% said the gift changes the nature of the patient-physician relationship. “I feel very uncomfortable because I’m a physician, and I’m not a solicitor or something. … I’m becoming aware of their history, that they donated, or other financial means. I feel actually it is not ethical of me to try to solicit them,” one physician said.

Sixty percent of doctors worried that donors might get preferential services or that physicians might feel pressure to give such care. A quarter of physicians worried about accepting money on behalf of the hospital from patients, due to vulnerability caused by illness.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn