Someone tell me this was appropriate and I'll stop being annoyed

A few years back, my husband was referred to the Cleveland Clinic for his heart. The CC wouldn’t agree to set up an appointment for him with a cardiologist without him scheduling to have open heart surgery, which is a surgery he has said he will never have again. They went so far as to schedule him for surgery then kept calling to say that he was scheduled.

In any case, they were obnoxious and we never ended up going up there.

Now, we’re on their mailing list looking for donations.

So, I’ll admit that my annoyance with them may be coloring my attitude toward their junk mail, but the only way they have our names and address is that he was a referred patient. That’s it.

Isn’t it really inappropriate to use a patient list to get names to advertise to? Or am I just being petty?

Oh, and the ad was looking for donations for their heart center.

Can you tell us why he wouldn’t have the surgery?

Who better to solicit donations from? Someone who had a good experience at the Cleveland Clinic would be a lot more willing to donate, though. I work for another famous nonprofit healthcare organization, and they get a lot of donations from patients. I don’t think they solicit them with junk mail, though…I’ve never gotten one, at least, and I’m a patient as well as an employee, but it wouldn’t bother me if I did.

Seems kind of tacky, but maybe a former patient list is the best group for them to solicit. Well, the ones that were helped at least, can’t imagine the families of folks who succumbed while at the clinic would be likely to donate.

I’m not sure why that’s relevant.
While you’re perfectly within your rights to be annoyed, think of it from their point of view. They, undoubtedly, think they’re doing a good thing and helping people, and they need to get more money in order to keep on doing that. Who better to ask for that money than happy former patients who are (presumably) grateful to them for saving their lives and want to keep them around to provide the same service to others?

Their faux pas, I think, stems more from not removing those who were unhappy or canceled appointments or never had their services delivered from their main databank of contact information. Just call them up and tell them to take your name and address off their mailing list. If they send you more stuff after THAT, then you might want to expend the energy being annoyed.
ETA: By the way, if someone telling you this was appropriate is all it takes to make you stop being annoyed, I take my hat off to you. My emotions are not nearly so easily managed. :wink:

Why on Earth would they schedule surgery before he even saw the doctor???

That’s what’s jumping out at me. I’ve never heard of such a practice.

Ma still receives mailings for a certain hospital’s former angioplasty patients. They are very annoying as dad has been dead for 10 years come December. (No sorries please.) He ended up on a lot of lists after angioplasty, and I think it was the hospital selling the list to related fields, for seeking donations.

Scheduling for surgery before seeing the doctor seems like a 60’s 70’s practice. Many persons died after the heart attacks and there was no angioplasty. They scheduled you for surgery right away before you saw a doctor.

I’m not sure why that’s relevant.

With all due respect, jsgoddess said her husband didn’t want to have the surgery again, so I assume he had it once before. That is why I ask why he does not want to have it again.

It still doesn’t make sense. How do they know what surgery to schedule without the surgeon’s say-so? What if it turns out somebody doesn’t need surgery, or at least that there are other less-invasive options? There’s no law saying you have to have surgery if you don’t want to, either, no matter what shape you’re in.

Your name ending up on a fundraising list is unfortunate, but it makes sense to me that they’d draw names from a list of former patients (probably anybody who’d ever tried making an appointment). I agree it sucks. But their scheduling procedures are what make no sense to me at all.

Were they just scheduling him to make sure there’s a slot open for him? Like, maybe, they don’t know for sure that he’s going to need whatever surgery, but they suspect it’s possible, and so they schedule a surgical slot ahead of time so that he’d actually be able to have the surgery if it’s needed, but if he doesn’t need it, they can just cancel it?

I can see where that would be helpful, if you have to travel, to have all that stuff scheduled ahead of time.

No experience with the Cleveland Clinic, I take it?

Regarding the OP: they are assuming (with or without basis) that the majority of their patients are thankful for the help they received and that they are a good customer base from whom to solicit donations. I don’t see a problem with that practice. If you buy furniture or a car or landscaping, you are almost certainly going to wind up on that company’s solicitation list. To them, it is a name entered into a computer and popped out on periodic mailing (or phone) lists.

From that perspective, I do not think it was inappropriate.

That said, I see no reason why you should have to put up with it. I would definitely make it a point to write them a note insisting that you be removed from all solicitation lists they might own or might have sold. (The other point of the solicitation nonsense is that they probably farm out their solicitations to a third party who maintains their own list based on a CC patient list.) If you’ve got a lawyer, have him or her send the letter. You’ll probably stay on their lists, but you’ll have one more thing for which to be mad at them. :stuck_out_tongue:

Regarding the OP , I swear to Og I can not remember. Carry on.

Shit, this is not right. I had a whole diatribe laid out. Fuck. This fucking sucks.

I believe that under HIPAA fundraising provisions, they have to tell you how to you can “unsubscribe” to such mailings and have to make sure they keep you off once you’ve requested to be taken off the list.


The only way they have his name is that he was a referred patient. And apparently they know not just that but that he was a heart patient.

It feels like a huge invasion of privacy to have those patient names farmed out like that.

It isn’t, to me, like getting a flyer from a furniture store. Anyone can buy furniture. The way to get on their list is to buy something from them.

The way to get on the Cleveland Clinic’s list is to be sick.

It seems hugely presumptuous to me. But I figured I was taking it the wrong way based on my ire with them in general.

His experience with bypass surgery was pretty horrific. He says he’d rather die than do it over, and since his ass of a cardiologist was saying that he was going to die if he didn’t do it over, I guess I believe he’s serious and not just talking out his hate. Ha! I meant “hat” but the typo was too funny. :slight_smile:

Oh, and to explain the whys and such of the original issue:

Steve had an angiogram (heart catheterization) done after an abnormal stress test. The cardiologist is a complete ass and says that if he doesn’t have surgery immediately he (Steve) will drop dead.

Steve says no, won’t do it. Cardiologist ignores him. A surgical appointment is made at the Cleveland Clinic. They call to confirm. We say no, he’s not coming. They say he has to. We say no.

Steve relents slightly and says that he’d like to confer with a CC cardiologist. They say he can see one if he comes up for the surgery. He says he’d like to see one without having surgery. They say he can come up on Wednesday, go through all of the orientation, etc. for the surgery, and then if he still wants to see a cardiologist he can see one Thursday afternoon and then have surgery on Friday. Because the cardiologist “will recommend surgery.”

We ask to speak to the surgeon. That’s not possible. We ask who the cardiologist is. Oh, he hasn’t been assigned one yet but the surgeon says that he can definitely do the surgery on Friday because the cardiologist “will recommend surgery.”

And on and on and on. They simply would not let us talk to or make an appointment for a cardiologist without agreeing to surgery, going to Cleveland on Wednesday, waiting around until Thursday afternoon, then canceling the surgery that they were insisting the cardiologist was going to recommend anyway.

So, we told 'em to jump in a lake.

Then they started sending bills for missed appointments and, well, there’s an employee of CC somewhere who probably still has the blisters on her ears.
So, I hate them pretty passionately, but I think that even if I liked them I would still not like showing up on a list for their advertising after being a patient.

I thought medical records were supposed to be PRIVATE. If a third party is soliciting money or has your name, you certainly have good cause to wonder why.