Healthcare philanthropy should help everyone, not just VIPs

carson

At some hospitals, donors practically get their own butler. At VMC, the goal is to provide the same great care to all.

One major reason I joined the VMC Foundation 12 years ago is that Valley Medical Center cares for anyone, regardless of status. It remains the cornerstone of my commitment.

Furthermore, the quality of care doesn’t vary according to any sort of “wallet biopsy”. The woman living in a shelter gets the same world-class care as the woman living in a Monte Sereno mansion.

You might think this is a matter of basic human dignity, but in fact, this is not the way it goes everywhere. Some hospitals – more than you might suspect – do play favorites, and do so as a matter of policy and practice. “Concierge service” or other VIP treatment of wealthy patients is not uncommon…and I’ve lost count of the number of seminars/conference sessions/webinars I’ve attended that encourage we medical charities to push for this.

As last week’s NY Times’ op-ed points out, this makes obvious sense on one level: Treat your wealthy patients better, and philanthropy flows. But, as the article also reveals, this can also lead to worse care…not just for the non-wealthy patients, but for the wealthy ones too!

It’s also unfair.

And it’s the last thing you’ll find going on at Valley Medical Center.

Read the full article here, and ask yourself: What are the values you’d prefer your medical care team believe in?

VMC Provides Specialized Care for Complex Issues

McNamara familySiobhan and Ryan McNamara became concerned when, on a Saturday in late February, their energetic eight year-old son Henry, was coughing, lethargic, and his lips were swelling. Doctors at a local emergency department tested for strep throat and flu and sent Henry home with antibiotics and steroids, but Henry didn’t respond to the drugs.

The McNamaras came to Valley Medical Center, where doctors determined that Henry had Stevens Johnson Syndrome – or SJS – a rare and serious disorder that affects the mucous membranes. Henry spent nearly a month at VMC, where staff in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit have the skills and equipment to manage the unique needs of SJS patients.

“I’ve never felt so helpless in my entire life,” shared Siobhan, “but I knew that Henry was going to be okay at VMC. They were equipped.”

Henry is now back in school and has regained the eleven pounds he lost during his illness. The McNamaras credit VMC for a speedy diagnosis of this rare disorder, and their ability to provide the special care he needed.

You can read more about this story, and see updates about our other programs, in our Fall 2015 Impact Report.