I picked up a copy of Smart Money while we were at the hotel this past weekend. Apparently, the magazines of choice to put in the rooms at the Ritz are either Smart Money, Veranda (their company magazine showing all of their lovely, lovely locations), or wedding planner magazines. Imagine if that was all you ever read....
Anyway, the SM mag had an article about a hospital fundraising move thats simultaneously slick and slimy. When someone checks in for some sort of medical procedure, they make sure that the person has enough financial resources to pay for it. Makes sense. Usually, that means insurance coverage, but sometimes people have enough money to pay for it, personally. I, myself, might be able to afford a BandAid at hospital prices.
At the same time that they're doing that, the name of the person is passed to their fundraising department, which does an evaluation of the person's net worth. If it's sufficiently large -- I don't know what that level is -- the extra services start to flow. More comfortable pillows. Magazines, newspapers. An attentive person to deal with the hospital staff. The surgeon will wash his hands -- that sort of thing. If you don't meet that bar, its not as if they toss you into the mass ward full of groaning smelly people, but if you do -- well, life is just better. As is frequently the case with money.