A private firm hired by nonprofit hospitals across the country to collect unpaid bills will pay $2.5-million to the state of Minnesota to settle a lawsuit over its collection practices, reports The New York Times.
Accretive Health, one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debt, had come under fire from Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, for alleged aggressive tactics at medical centers in the state, including pressing emergency-room patients for payment. The Illinois-based company did not admit any wrongdoing.
The settlement also bars Accretive from contracting with Minnesota hospitals for two years, and it will have to secure the attorney general’s permission to do business in the state for four years after that.
In a statement, Accretive’s chief executive officer, Mary Tolan, said the suit’s charges “were either baseless or exaggerated” but that the firm has “used this opportunity to carefully examine our own practices in order to ensure we are setting the very highest standards for our own performance and achieving the best possible outcomes for hospitals, patients, and communities.”