When Accretive Health accused Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson of fighting her lawsuit against the company in public, her office responded by releasing more documents to the public accusing the company of alleged healthcare debt collection abuses.
The attorney general is suing Accretive for failing to protect confidential patient data after an Accretive employee had a laptop stolen the previous July that contained unencrypted patient records from Fairview and North Memorial hospitals. The complaint also charges the company with violations of state debt collection laws. Accretive denies the allegations.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported yesterday that the attorney general’s office released another set of affidavits from former patients who complain of alleged improper and illegal collection activities at Fairview Health hospitals. Accretive Health managed Fairview’s revenue cycle, including its fee and debt collection duties.
The release of documents by the attorney general comes on the heels of Accretive filing an amended motion seeking to dismiss the case. The memo was in response to an amended complaint filed by the attorney general.
In its amended motion, Accretive accuses the attorney general’s office of launching “a press tour” against the company which has caused “great harm” and has “led directly to the loss of over ninety Minnesota jobs and have harmed countless Minnesota patients who deserve quality healthcare at an affordable price.”
The Minnesota attorney general answered the amended motion by releasing 10 additional affidavits from patients who claim they had been the victim of high-pressure collection practices, including attempts to collect bills in the emergency room.
While Accretive has yet to respond to the new allegations, it reported in its amended motion that none of the 27 patients in earlier affidavits submitted by the attorney general had ever been contacted by an Accretive employee regarding collections. Although not stated, the employees presumably were working for Fairview Health, which to date has had no legal action filed against it by the attorney general.
The attorney general’s public releases of information about Accretive Health’s alleged collection practices have brought attention on the case by Congress. In April the attorney general’s office released a 6-volume “compliance review” report that outlined alleged collections abuses, and this prompted Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to investigate. Last month he filed two bills seeking to bolster protection of patient data and curbing certain collection practices relating to healthcare debt.