Accretive Health, one of the nations largest medical debt collectors has come under fire for sending debt collectors into emergency rooms in an attempt to collect money owed by patents for past medical treatment.
The company’s practice has come under fire by Minnesota’s attorney general after it was discovered that the company confronted patients, using a script to demand payment and going so far as to discourage those patients from getting treatment until they take care of their past bills.
The report published by the New York Times also finds that Accretive Health’s workers were sent into the labor and delivery departments of various hospitals and approached patients right after they came out of surgery.
While the report focuses on Minnesota’s hospital system the Times fears that other cash-strapped hospitals in locations outside of Minnesota may be using the same methodology to collect much needed money for operational expenses.
Among other locations Accretive has large contracts with hospitals in Michigan and Utah. Accretive holds contracts with 60 hospitals in 20 states.
Making matters worse, Minnesota’s attorney general says Accretive Health has been given access to patients personal health information by desperate hospitals hoping to collect money.
In what can only be described as a non-answer, Rhonda Barnat, a spokeswoman for Accretive says the company has “a great track record of helping hospitals enhance their quality of care.”
The last time I checked “improving quality of care” doesn’t include approaching patients before and after surgery to demand payment while discouraging future health care admittance.
In the meantime the tactic is working for Accretive Health which witnessed profits increased from $12.6 million in 2010 to $29.2 million in 2011.