Fairview patients receive payouts from Accretive settlement

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Ninety people who claimed they were subject to aggressive collection tactics at Fairview Health Services will receive $364,000 as part of a settlement with Chicago-based Accretive Heath, the Pioneer Press says.

Patients and their relatives claimed they were abused and harrassed by debt collectors from Accretive while waiting for treatment.

Although Accretive denied any wrongdoing, the firm agreed not to conduct business in Minnesota for at least two years and to pay $2.5 million to patients.

The St. Paul newspaper says patients will receive an average of $4,000 individually, but anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000. The remaining $2.1 million will go to the state's general fund, according to Attorney General Lori Swanson's Office.

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Settlement bans Accretive from Minnesota for at least two years

A settlement agreement in Minnesota's lawsuit against Accretive Health Services will keep the consulting firm from doing business in the state for at least two years. Accretive also agreed to pay $2.5 million in restitution to patients, although the company says it is admitting no wrongdoing. Attorney General Lori Swanson sued Accretive over aggressive payment collection, alleging the company invaded patients' privacy and subjected some to emergency room shakedowns before they'd been treated.

Fairview Health Services terminates contract with Accretive Health

The health care system felt it was necessary to cut its ties with the debt collector. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson accused Chicago-based Accretive of using high-pressure strategies to get Minnesota hospital patients to pay for their treatments. The Business Journal reports Fairview began reducing its contract with the collection firm after a laptop with unencrypted patient information was stolen. Meanwhile, a Democratic Congressman from California is now calling for a federal investigation.

Regulators: Billing practices at Fairview violated federal patient-protection laws

The aggressive practices used by the Chicago-based Accrective Health to collect debt from patients could put Fairview's University of Minnesota Medical Center at risk of being terminated from Medicare and Medicaid, according to the Star Tribune. Federal documents obtained by the newspaper show patients and their relatives were subjected to "abuse and harassment'' from debt collectors while waiting for treatment.

Accretive seeks dismissal of Minnesota lawsuit

Accretive Health asked a federal judge to toss out a breach of privacy lawsuit filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. The suit involves the company's loss of a laptop computer containing data on more than 23,000 patients. It was filed before Swanson's report slamming Accretive for high-pressure debt collection tactics.

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Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has filed more court papers expanding on the state's lawsuit against Accretive Health Services. Two dozen affidavits from hospital patients say the collection agency pressured them for payment while they were awaiting treatments. The suit claims Accretive violated collection laws and patient privacy rights. The company says the lawsuit contains mischaracterizations and distortions.

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Executives from the medical debt collector will be in Washington, D.C. on Friday to address concerns about the companies practices. Last week, Minnesota Attorney General accused the Chicago-based firm of using aggressive collection tactics at Fairview Health Services. Accretive Health has denied any wrong doing.