Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 26, 2012

Notorious Collection Agency Pursued by Congress and the Press



The company known for aggressively hounding patients over billing inquiries has found themselves on the reciprocating end of the hospital bed. So far, the press has vigilantly followed Accretive Health through a series of scandals involving lawsuits with Michigan’s Attorney General and the resignation of a medical enterprise’s CEO. But reports indicate that there is even more trouble in store for the notorious collection agency, and much like the company’s top agents, U.S. Congress will not ease up from their demands, regardless of Accretive Health’s current state of vulnerability.

It seems that U.S. lawmakers have joined forces with the press in their efforts to uncover the truth. Moreover, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives have announced to the press that Accretive Health has failed to produce documents relating to their collection practices as Congress requests. Reports also indicate that the agency has failed to respond to Congress’ requests to reschedule meetings after they were cancelled. The relentless pursuit of Congress is one more event that alludes to Accretive Health’s downward spiral.

Accretive Health was once a reputable collection agency that succeeded in reducing the outstanding debt consuming Michigan hospitals in 2010. But one stolen laptop unveiled one of the biggest scandals involving collection agencies to date. Michigan’s Attorney General, Lori Swanson, was aghast by the security breaches brought to her attention upon the recovery of the stolen data and immediately pursued litigation against the agency. But as the investigation of the company continued, it became apparent that compromised data was merely the tip of the iceberg. Soon after, it was revealed that the company’s success in turning around the deficit was the result of egregious and unlawful collection practices.

The company’s demise was first witnessed at the New York Stock Exchange, where Accretive Health’s shares dropped by half. As their shares continued to drop, litigations and terminated contracts emerged. The last highly publicized event before their contention with Congress as announced this week, was over the resignation of Fairview Health Services, CEO, Mark Eustis, who hired Accretive Health as a method of reducing the debt accumulated by the Minnesota hospital chain.




Edited by Brooke Neuman




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