Is Your Favorite Charity Spying on You?

Anne Kadet reports:

Whether a patient comes in for a gall-bladder operation or to have a baby, the routine remains the same for staff at Sharp HealthCare hospitals in San Diego. The front desk checks insurance records to make sure the bills get paid on time. Nurses take vitals and tag their charges with a bar-coded wristband. And behind the scenes, fund-raisers scan the assets of each patient — to find out whether they’re “megarich,” “wealthy” or merely “comfortable.”

While the folks checking in don’t know it, the nonprofit hospital chain is hunting for prospective donors. Armed with powerful data-mining software, staffers screen admissions records to find wealthy patients who’ve shown prior interest in the hospital. Those who make the cut may enjoy a bedside visit from a “patient-relations director” who offers perks like free parking passes for visitors.

Read more in the WSJ.

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