Accretive Health, former bill collector for Fairview Health Services in Minnesota, has agreed settle a lawsuit filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson over allegations that company repeatedly breached privacy laws and utilized abusive tactics against patients, including attempting to get payments from emergency room patients.
Terms of the settlement include paying a $2.5 million fine, of which the bulk will be used for a patient restitution fund, turning over all Minnesota patient information, and closing down Minnesota operations and not returning to the state for at least six years.
Swanson said that “A hospital emergency room is a high-stress place of trauma, of suffering. It should be solemn place, not a place to shakedown patients for money. It’s good to close the door for Minnesota on this really disturbing chapter in our health care history.” She said that with the settlement, justice had been served.
Accretive Health has struck out at Swanson saying they were bushwhacked, and questioning who would want to do business in Minnesota. The settlement comes as the Obama Administration continues to tighten medical privacy laws.