Curbing the ask – Patient privacy at issue

Hospitals fear that their efforts to raise money could be hurt by regulations proposed by the Clinton administration that aim to protect the privacy of patients’ medical records, The New York Times reported Oct. 6.

The regulations, expected to take effect within a month, would keep hospitals from using patients’ names for fundraising and other non-medical reasons, the Times said.

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the Times they had not considered how their proposed rules would affect fundraising.

Hospital officials told the Times that fundraising letters to former patients rarely generate big contributions but are a key first step in reaching people who eventually will become big donors.

“Practically speaking, the best way for a hospital to acquire donors is by contracting former patients,” said Jannie Fernandez, chief executive of the Carondolet Foundation in Tucson, Ariz., which raises money for three hospitals.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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