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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.
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A six-month legal feud between Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and Accretive Health Services has come to an end with a settlement. The medical bill collection consultant will do no business in the state for at least two years and will pay $2.5 million to Minnesota patients.

While agreeing to the conditions and payment contained in the settlement, Accretive emphasized that it is admitting no wrongdoing and insisted Swanson failed to identify any problems.

Swanson first sued Accretive over the loss of a laptop computer that contained patient information. But she upped the ante in April when she blasted the company for debt collection practices that she said included emergency room shakedowns of patients before they were treated. The firestorm soon prompted Fairview Health Services to cancel its contract with Accretive, although some employees had apparently had misgivings about the consultant for two years.

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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.

Swanson beefs up Minnesota suit against Accretive

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.

Accretive files motion to dismiss lawsuit, says allegations are 'simply wrong'

The Chicago-based consulting firm wants a federal judge to throw out a second amended complaint filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson after more patients came forward accusing the company of overly aggressive billing and collection tactics, the Pioneer Press reports. Accretive Health is accused of violating state and federal privacy laws, state debt collection laws and state consumer protection laws through its work with Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services.

Accretive says it's addressing concerns raised in Swanson's report

Accretive Health says it's working with advisers on addressing the concerns about high-pressure tactics that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson raised in her report last week. But the medical debt collection agency calls it a "flagrant distortion" to say the company solicited payments from patients in their hospital beds.

Accretive Health CEO pokes back at Swanson, media

Without getting into specifics, Accretive Health's CEO suggested to an interviewer: "Do your own research on this attorney general and her approaches." The AG in question is Minnesota's Lori Swanson, who issued a report this week slamming Accretive's high-pressure tactics in collecting payments from hospital patients. The CEO says Accretive will weather the "current media blitz."

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Rahm Emanuel, who was also chief of staff in the Obama Administration, has asked Minnesota's Attorney General Lori Swanson to "cease efforts to publicly prosecute this matter and rather try to resolve the matter privately." Swanson has accused the Chicago-based collection company of overly-aggressive practices to retrieve payments from patients. Emanuel also defended and praised Accretive Health.

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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.