U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) over the weekend announced he will chair a U.S. Senate field hearing Wednesday at the Minnesota State Capitol to examine if current federal laws effectively protect patients’ access to care and privacy.

Sen. Franken, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, arranged for the hearing after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson issued a report about Chicago-based Accretive Health Inc.’s debt collection and patient privacy practices and whether the company violated federal health, debt collection, and privacy laws.

The hearing will be open to the public and will feature four panels for discussion.

Swanson will sit on the first panel, joined by Michael Rothman, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner. The second panel will feature representatives from Accretive Health and their client Fairview Health Services, the hospital system in Minnesota where Accretive was engaging in the practices that launched the story.

Two consumers will share their personal stories on another panel, while the last group of panelists includes representatives from patient advocacy and academic organizations.

The hearing, titled “Ensuring Patients’ Access to Care and Privacy: Are Federal Laws Protecting Patients?” is scheduled for 10am local time Wednesday May 30 and will be held in Room 15 at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul.