Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has filed a lawsuit against Accretive Health, a Chicago debt collection company, alleging the company violated federal and state health privacy laws as well as Minnesota consumer protection and debt collection laws.
According to the Minnesota lawsuit, Accretive employs are placed into the ranks of hospital staff which allows the company to direct employees, the Detroit Free Press reported. The state may coordinate its investigations with stated and federal regulators. Illinois is also investigating Accretive Health.
The state of Michigan filed a lawsuit against Accretive Health last year over annual report filings.
The company made a brief statement regarding the complaints, saying, “We have a great track record of helping hospitals enhance their quality of care. For example, we have helped over 250,000 patients get insurance coverage.”
Three Detroit hospitals which contract Accretive issued statements following the filing of the lawsuit. Henry Ford Healthy Systems said, “we are committed to ensuring we comply with all state and federal regulations and our System values when collecting payments for services. All of our emergency departments provide treatment without regard for ability to pay. Our practice is for Henry Ford employees to register patients in the ER and gather pertinent information including their insurance status. We also help patients who are eligible for state or federal health care insurance to apply to these programs.
“Last year, we provided $210 million in uninsured care. We will continue to monitor our procedures to ensure they are consistent with our policies.”
According to the American Hospital Associations, hospitals should have policies in place to monitor outside collection practices.