New Franken legislation aimed at aggressive patient debt collection tactics

Responding to complaints about Fairview Southdale Hospital's former debt collector Accretive Health, U.S. Sen. Al Franken Wednesday introduced legislation Wednesday designed to stop debt collectors from approaching patients in emergency rooms, delivery wards and intensive care units. The legislation also take steps to protect patient medical information.
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Responding to complaints about Fairview Southdale Hospital's former debt collector Accretive Health, U.S. Sen. Al Franken Wednesday introduced legislation Wednesday designed to stop debt collectors from approaching patients in emergency rooms, delivery wards and intensive care units. The legislation also take steps to protect patient medical information.

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Accretive's 'money-hungry' tactics raised alarms

Records show that just months after consulting firm Accretive swept into the Fairview health care system with a new approach to collecting money from patients, hospital employees were expressing alarm and frustration, the Star Tribune reports. "We are giving the image that we are money-hungry," one employee said. Said another: "The patients are being bombarded by phone calls."

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.

Lori Swanson: Medical bill collector overly aggressive

Minnesota's Attorney General released an investigative report Tuesday into Accretive Health Inc. It accuses the Chicago-based consultant, who was hired by Fairview Health System, of imposing collection quotas and pressuring hospital employees to collect money from patients before treatment.

Debt collector sees shares drop 40 percent after Minnesota A.G.'s report

Shares in Accretive Health plummeted after the company was accused of routinely pressuring patients to pre-pay for services. The debt collection agency is defending its work with hospitals in the wake of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson's investigation.

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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.

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