Hospital Debt Collector Puts ‘The Squeeze’ On Patients
A report released Tuesday by the Minnesota Attorney General spotlights aggressive practices used by one of the nation's largest collectors of medical debts, including demanding payments from people seeking care in emergency rooms, cancer wards and delivery rooms.
The New York Times: Debt Collector Is Faulted For Tough Tactics In Hospitals
Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside. This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation's largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country (Silver-Greenberg, 4/24).
Bloomberg: Accretive Put Debt Collectors In Hospitals, State AG Says
Patients at a Minnesota hospital chain were pressured for payment in the emergency room and at their bedsides by debt collectors from a company that didn't disclose its role, the state's attorney general alleges. Employees of Fairview Health Services, a nonprofit chain of seven hospitals based in Minneapolis, were required to use a computer system derisively called "Blue Balls" to track whether patients paid their bills and push for payment before they received care, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said. The payment system began after Fairview hired the collection agency Accretive Health Inc. (AH) in May 2010, Swanson said in a report describing the companies’ relationship (Wayne, 4/25).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: ER Doctor, Nurse… And Debt Collector
A Chicago-based consultant hired by the Fairview health system pushed hospital workers to engage in overly aggressive bill collection tactics that included pressuring patients in the emergency room, according to an investigative report released Tuesday, April 24, by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. Accretive Health Inc. imposed quotas on hospital personnel to collect money before treatment was provided in some cases, according to Swanson's report, and ignored concerns from some Fairview workers that the tactics were going too far. The report described Accretive's methods as being akin to those "commonly utilized in high-pressure boiler-room-style sales atmospheres" (Snowbeck, 4/24).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Attorney General: Fairview Put Squeeze On Patients
Fairview hospital employees used high-pressure tactics in emergency rooms, cancer units and delivery wards to try to collect money from patients before they were treated, according to a blistering report issued Tuesday by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. The collections strategy, designed by an Illinois consulting firm called Accretive Health, was so heavy-handed that several doctors complained it might discourage patients from seeking medical care, the report found. Swanson said the practices, uncovered during a review of Fairview's management contracts with Accretive, appear to have violated federal and state laws, including those regulating debt collection and patient privacy (Kennedy and Lerner, 4/24).