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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Navigating the Ethical Boundaries of Grateful Patient Fundraising

Collins ME, Rum SA, Sugarman J.
JAMA. Published online August 27, 2018.

Here are two excerpts:

There is limited literature examining the ethical issues that grateful patient fundraising raises for physicians. The last American Medical Association report on this topic was issued in 2004.4 The report recognized the value of philanthropy and physicians’ role in it, but rightly emphasized the paramount importance of patients’ rights and welfare in efforts directed at grateful patient fundraising. As such, the report highlighted the need to ensure that gifts are voluntary, that patients should not perceive an obligation to give, and the need to protect privacy. In addition, the report cautioned against physicians initiating discussions about philanthropy during direct patient care. Furthermore, there is also limited literature about the ethical issues grateful patient fundraising poses for development professionals and the health care institutions they represent. Grappling with the ethical issues in grateful patient fundraising necessitates considering them from all of these perspectives.


Among the key issues were challenges related to clinicians having discussions about philanthropy with patients who might be especially vulnerable due to their diseases or conditions, the tensions related to conflicts in regard to clinicians’ primary obligations to patient care and a competing obligation to fundraising, the potential effects of fundraising on patient care, possible unintended consequences of concierge services provided to donors, and concerns about privacy.5 The recommendations for clinicians include those concerning when grateful patient fundraising is appropriate (eg, ideally separate from the clinical encounter, not in situations of heightened vulnerability), minimizing conflicts of obligation and commitment, and respecting the donor’s intent of a gift. The recommendations for fundraising professionals and institutions include the need for transparency in relationships, not interfering with clinical care, attending to confidentiality and privacy, appropriateness of concierge services, and institutional policies and training in grateful patient fundraising.

The info is here.