Hospitals Give the Rich Special Treatment

Hospitals are catering to wealthy patients with luxurious rooms and high-end amenities in exchange for some steep prices.

New York Times

The great divide in health care between the haves and have nots may be reaching its all-time distance as hospitals vie for the affluent. It’s no secret that the more money you have the more likely you’ll get special treatment (read Jeff Brown’s column “The VIP Syndrome and Medicine”), and some hospitals are taking it to extremes, according to an article in the .

The rich (famous or not) who are willing to spend some serious cash are getting just the treatment they want at a hospital. And when hospitals and physicians are struggling, who can blame them?

By hitting on the right demographic that makes independent concierge medicine practices profitable, hospitals are supplying the types of amenities that could put hotels to shame and put patients back a few thousand dollars a day.


According to the ’ article, in NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital’s elite wing, Greenburg 14 South, patients get a butler, elaborate menus, bed sheets worthy of popes and princes and marble bathrooms.

“…the phenomenon is escalating here and around the country, health care design specialists say, part of an international competition for wealthy patients willing to pay extra, even as the federal government cuts back hospital reimbursement in pursuit of a more universal and affordable American medical system,” according to the article.


These luxury rooms are making the U.S. a destination for medical tourism for foreigners. The reports that at Mount Sinai Medical Center, 30% of the clientele who use the pricey Eleven West wing are from abroad.