I think most people already assume that major donors and hospital Board members get extensive personal attention or a streamlined process for contacting doctors.
However, it's always juicy when a reporter gets their hands on proof that a state funded hospital operates a dedicated concierge program for VIPs or prospective donors.
The Dallas Morning News obtained a detailed list compiled by UT Southwestern staff members of about 6,400 people, many of them influential, wealthy or politically connected. The medical center used the list to flag powerful people or potential donors to offer them special treatment at the hospital.Dr. John McConnell, executive vice president for health system affairs at the medical center, tries to explain the program with this innocent explanation:
The Special Assistance Office was supposed to "centralize what was already happening," he said. He could not provide figures on how many patients are enrolled in the program. Four full-time employees and one part-time employee work in the office. Its current operating budget is $300,000, which comes from clinical revenue, but not state funds, he said.No wonder UT Southwestern has been able to increase the institution's endowment from $40 million in 1986 to $1.3 billion today.
To see who's on the list of hospital VIPs, go here.