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Old 04-25-2012, 09:40 AM   #1
SirFozzie
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New Debt Collector Hangout: The Emergency Room

Debt Collectors Take Places Alongside Hospital Staffs - NYTimes.com

Incredibly slimy. I'm all for people paying their bills (and this is coming from someone who's paying off two ER Visits so far this year), but A) Not identifying themselves as debt collectors (posing as hospital employees), and B) Apparently discouraging people from possible life-saving treatments....


Just wow.


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Old 04-25-2012, 09:53 AM   #2
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Awesome. I find it hard to believe that this will turn out well for the hospitals or the collection agencies. It could, in fact, turn into a PR nightmare.

Oh, and if the hospitals are losing so much money, perhaps they should stop serving illegals, no?

Just my $0.02.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:58 AM   #3
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Surely aspects of this violate HIPAA.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:04 AM   #4
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Surely aspects of this violate HIPAA.

Yup. Someone's getting sued, hopefully out of business.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:38 AM   #5
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I had to read the article just to figure out exactly how the collectors were posing as employees.

After reading I have to think somebody is going be paying a settlement to an A.G.'s office or two. Seems likely that there's not just one violation here, there's probably several.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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I had to read the article just to figure out exactly how the collectors were posing as employees.

After reading I have to think somebody is going be paying a settlement to an A.G.'s office or two. Seems likely that there's not just one violation here, there's probably several.

I agree and if there are HIPAA violations they carry some pretty stiff monetary penalties, including jail time depending on the extent of the violation. They are definitely treading on thin ice.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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I had to read the article just to figure out exactly how the collectors were posing as employees.

After reading I have to think somebody is going be paying a settlement to an A.G.'s office or two. Seems likely that there's not just one violation here, there's probably several.

I was thinking the same thing as I read through this. They have got to be breaking multiple laws here. Why isn't the Minnesota AG filing charges? I know she's looking at the feds for help, but if she could prove 10% of the allegations there, it would cost the hospital and debt collectors millions.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:28 AM   #8
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I was thinking the same thing as I read through this. They have got to be breaking multiple laws here. Why isn't the Minnesota AG filing charges? I know she's looking at the feds for help, but if she could prove 10% of the allegations there, it would cost the hospital and debt collectors millions.

I'm sure they'll be looking for big settlements. I know in Idaho, settlement money from medicaid fraud and other healthcare-related shenanigans basically pays for the entire AG's office.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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I agree and if there are HIPAA violations they carry some pretty stiff monetary penalties, including jail time depending on the extent of the violation. They are definitely treading on thin ice.

Something tells me none of the big guys will be seeing any harsh monetary penalties or jail time...

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Old 04-25-2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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Well, I wouldn't be too sure of that, at least their jobs are in jeopardy as the stock has dropped like a rock. They may not care about following the laws, but they don't like their stock dropping 25% in a day, as they are down more then 5 dollars a share so far:

Accretive Health, Inc. Common S Stock Chart | AH Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:49 AM   #11
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I find it amusing they stand to lose millions of dollars while trying to collect millions of dollars.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:54 AM   #12
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Worse then that, if the stock stays at the current level, they will have dropped about $300 million in market cap.. in ONE DAY.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:54 PM   #13
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Well, I wouldn't be too sure of that, at least their jobs are in jeopardy as the stock has dropped like a rock. They may not care about following the laws, but they don't like their stock dropping 25% in a day, as they are down more then 5 dollars a share so far:

Accretive Health, Inc. Common S Stock Chart | AH Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance

Ended up falling over 40% when the day was done, but rebounded today, going up 2%.

Response from the CEO: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...torney-general

And recent news: Accretive Health Investor Files Suit in Wake of Share Drop - Bloomberg
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:31 PM   #14
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Oh, and if the hospitals are losing so much money, perhaps they should stop serving illegals, no?

Just my $0.02.

yeah, definitely wouldn't be actual citizens stiffing them here. Solid plan.
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:59 PM   #15
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Something tells me none of the big guys will be seeing any harsh monetary penalties or jail time...

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You would be surprised, I get complaince bulletins monthly that lists punitive actions and there doesn't seem to be much favoritism given to the big guys, at least in terms of monetary penalties.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:34 PM   #16
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I was thinking the same thing as I read through this. They have got to be breaking multiple laws here. Why isn't the Minnesota AG filing charges? I know she's looking at the feds for help, but if she could prove 10% of the allegations there, it would cost the hospital and debt collectors millions.

Charges have been filed a while back, but I think they only relate to the stolen laptop.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:46 PM   #17
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When I hear they list 39 billion as their loss, I really wonder how trumped up that number is. Reimbursement rates are like 60%? Having to serve anyone is just a cost of doing business in that industry. It doesn't cost them 2000 to administer stitches or something. It's not like that type of procedure costs more than the sunk cost of the staffing they were already paying for.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:08 AM   #18
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Looks like the stock was the proverbial "dead cat" bounce, as they actually finished the day for a loss, down to $10.50, with apparently multiple lawsuits being eyed/launched for Gross violations of management's fiduciary duties to shareholders, and one lawsuit alleges that:

he Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, defendants made materially false and misleading statements, and omitted materially adverse facts, about the Company’s business, operations and prospects. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Accretive Health failed to disclose that the Company was violating health privacy laws, state debt collections laws and state consumer protection laws. As a result of defendants’ false and misleading statements, the Company’s stock traded at artificially inflated prices

...

The Complaint also alleges that these true facts, which were known by the defendants but concealed from the investing public during the Class Period, were as follows: (a) the Company was violating privacy standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act by, among other things, (i) failing to provide appropriate safeguards to prevent the misuse or disclosure of protected health information; (ii) failing to keep all protected health information strictly confidential; and (iii) failing to develop, implement, maintain and use appropriate technical and physical safeguards to preserve the integrity, confidentiality and availability of protected health information and to prevent non-permitted use or disclosure of the information; (b) the Company failed to encrypt protected patient health information; (c) the Company was violating terms of its contract with Fairview by failing to limit access of protected health information to the persons or classes of persons in its workforce who needed access to it in order to carry out their duties; (d) the Company was violating Minnesota state debt collection laws by, among other things, failing to provide patients with required disclosures identifying itself as a debt collection agency; (e) the Company was violating Minnesota consumer protection laws by, among other things, failing to disclose to patients the extent of the Company’s access to data and the manner in which it utilizes such data; and (f) the effect the Company’s violations of health privacy laws, state debt collection laws and state consumer protections law would have on its future earnings and on its relationship with Fairview.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #19
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When I hear they list 39 billion as their loss, I really wonder how trumped up that number is. Reimbursement rates are like 60%? Having to serve anyone is just a cost of doing business in that industry. It doesn't cost them 2000 to administer stitches or something. It's not like that type of procedure costs more than the sunk cost of the staffing they were already paying for.

I don't think I saw that 39 billion figure, where did you see that? My guess is that "loss" could mean "claims" in that case.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:58 AM   #20
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Looks like the stock was the proverbial "dead cat" bounce, as they actually finished the day for a loss, down to $10.50, with apparently multiple lawsuits being eyed/launched for Gross violations of management's fiduciary duties to shareholders, and one lawsuit alleges that:

Weird, I thought I looked after close yesterday and it had gone up slightly, but now it looks like it went down overall yesterday. I think the news I posted of one of the investors suing the company came after the market closed, and today so far it's another 7% decrease.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:45 AM   #21
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I don't think I saw that 39 billion figure, where did you see that? My guess is that "loss" could mean "claims" in that case.

Still, hospitals are in a bind. The more than 5,000 community hospitals in the United States provided $39.3 billion in uncompensated care — predominately unpaid patient debts or charity care — in 2010, up 16 percent from 2007, the hospital association estimated.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:47 AM   #22
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Wait, so they lost about half of their stock value because of this article?
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:02 AM   #23
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Still, hospitals are in a bind. The more than 5,000 community hospitals in the United States provided $39.3 billion in uncompensated care — predominately unpaid patient debts or charity care — in 2010, up 16 percent from 2007, the hospital association estimated.

Considering the health care industry is a $3T industry, boo-effing-hoo.

"I have to give away one penny on the dollar so that explains why we charge $500 for a procedure that costs $5 in supplies and is done in 10 minutes by someone we pay $15 an hour". If costs weren't so grossly exaggerated, that number would be much, much lower.

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Old 04-27-2012, 11:02 AM   #24
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Wait, so they lost about half of their stock value because of this article?

Yes. And that's after a 17% decrease that already came at the beginning of the month, when the announcement was made that the revenue cycle agreement between Fairview and Accretive was canceled.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #25
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Still, hospitals are in a bind. The more than 5,000 community hospitals in the United States provided $39.3 billion in uncompensated care — predominately unpaid patient debts or charity care — in 2010, up 16 percent from 2007, the hospital association estimated.

Thanks. Yeah, that's got to be tough to measure, especially if we're talking across hospitals, and considering that the hospital receives varying levels of compensation depending on who's paying, whether it's a commercial insurer, government insurer, or the patient. I guess since no compensation is received this could all be considered patient, so yeah, that makes it trumped up in a way, since commercial and government insurers generally pay providers less than uninsured patients.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:59 AM   #26
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Trola

Fairview hospitals executive admits 'mistakes were made' | StarTribune.com

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Fairview CEO Mark Eustis says they are considering cutting all ties to Accretive Health, an Illinois consulting firm at the heart of the allegations.

Fairview officials now admit that "mistakes were made" by debt collectors who allegedly hounded patients at its hospitals, and say they are considering cutting all ties to Accretive Health, an Illinois consulting firm at the heart of the allegations.

"We're not here to hide anything," Mark Eustis, president and CEO of Fairview, said in an interview Friday. "We want to acknowledge that mistakes were made, and we feel badly about them and we need to repair that damage."

The comments came three days after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson released a scathing report about abusive debt collection practices that thrust Fairview into the national spotlight.

Swanson accused Accretive, which was hired by Fairview, of creating an elaborate system to harass patients for money before, during and after their hospital visits. She said the practices were "rife with violations of Minnesota and federal laws."

Eustis denied that Fairview broke any laws, but acknowledged that the whole affair has damaged its reputation. "This isn't what we're about," he said. "We're here to provide great service and treat people with dignity and respect every day, and 99 percent of the time we think we do that."

Fairview already has ended its contract with Accretive to run what it calls its "revenue cycle" operations, but they still have an ongoing contract for other services, including quality and cost analysis.

But Eustis says Fairview is now considering cutting its ties with Accretive completely. "Knowing today what we know about Accretive and the implications that has for our own reputation in the community, we're going to take a very serious look at that," he said. Accretive has declined to comment on the allegations since Tuesday's report.

On Thursday, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced he planned to conduct a Senate investigation of the reported abuses. "If these allegations are true --and I do want to hear all sides of this story --they would be an affront to the health, privacy, and dignity of Minnesotans," he said.

Eustis vowed to cooperate with the Senate investigation, saying "we welcome his concern."
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:31 PM   #27
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"If these allegations are true --and I do want to hear all sides of this story --they would be an affront to the health, privacy, and dignity of Minnesotans," he said.

Thankfully for Fairview, these were already in short supply
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:34 PM   #28
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Here's some stuff from a HIPAA blog:

HIPAA Blog

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Accretive Health: I posted on the Accretive Health data breach back in January. Accretive is a big "revenue management" company for hospitals; obviously, a big part of that business is actually turning accounts receivable into collections, which means they are, in fact, in the "debt collection" business.

Surprise, surprise, debt collectors try to collect debts, and get customers to pay for services they receive. Apparently, that's a crime in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, the NY Times published either a news article or a press release from the Minnesota AG (it's really hard to tell which it is) on how Accretive works by subcontracting with hospitals, putting Accretive employees into the hospital workforce (probably like AdminiStaff does), and training hospital employees to "manage revenue" by asking for payment up front and/or after services are provided.

Of course, this has triggered the righteous outrage of all the right people. The Michigan AG has apparently jumped on board, investigating Accretive since it works for several hosptial systems in Michigan. And none other than Pete Stark has asked CMS to investigate as well.

The horror! The gall! Expecting people to pay for the services they receive!

In all fairness, Accretive's actions may (MAY) violate the Federal Fair Debt Collection Act (doubtful; it would've been explicitly stated in the press release/"news" story) or some state debt collection laws. Minnesota did cancel Acretive's debt collector license, after all. And if the employees hindered any ER patient from getting emergency care (not primary care that they don't need to be in the ER for in the first place), then there might be a violation of EMTALA. I doubt it -- again, the Minnesota AG has been chewing on Accretive's hide for as long as a year now, and they'd have reported that part if it were the case.

Is there a HIPAA breach here? Covered entities (hospitals) and their business associates (debt collectors) have a right under HIPAA to use and disclose PHI for treatment, PAYMENT, and healthcare operations. The covered entity disclosing the data to a debt collector (either an employee [a workforce member] or a contractor [a business associate]), and the debt collector using the data to discuss the debt with and try to get payment from the patient or a responsible party, is dead center of the definition of "payment."

The ONLY QUESTION, as I see it, is whether the amount/type of PHI used or disclosed exceeded the minimum necessary for the purposes of the use/disclosure (i.e., getting payment). Minimum necessary doesn't apply to uses/disclosures for treatment, but does apply to all other uses/disclosures, including those for payment. Theoretically, using PHI from a previous, paid-up and unrelated treatment incident might be outside the "minimum necessary" limits, but even then, in some of those cases, you can see how it might still be OK. There aren't bright-line borders on what PHI is and isn't within the minimum necessary. But none of the news stories have any information clearly indicating that more PHI was used than needed.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:45 PM   #29
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Wouldn't HIPAA have been violated in the alleged instances of collectors showing up at bed sides or confronting people awaiting care? They wouldn't have known to go after these people without being alerted by hospital staff or some system that dings whenever someone checked into the facility. But you can't release information about people currently in the hospital/receiving healthcare without their written consent. Even if it's presumed the person wouldn't pay their bill, it doesn't mean you can violate their right of privacy to get them to pay a past due bill. I would gather you would need to wait until after that bill is past due before alerting the agency.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:19 PM   #30
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Wouldn't HIPAA have been violated in the alleged instances of collectors showing up at bed sides or confronting people awaiting care? They wouldn't have known to go after these people without being alerted by hospital staff or some system that dings whenever someone checked into the facility. But you can't release information about people currently in the hospital/receiving healthcare without their written consent. Even if it's presumed the person wouldn't pay their bill, it doesn't mean you can violate their right of privacy to get them to pay a past due bill. I would gather you would need to wait until after that bill is past due before alerting the agency.

The volume of the compliance review that deals with privacy violations doesn't mention that specifically. My guess is that the reason that's the case is because of this:

Quote:
Fairview is a “health care provider.” It is comprised of hospitals and clinics that furnish
health care services in the normal course of business. Accretive is also a “health care provider”
with respect to Fairview patients. Accretive employs nurses and social workers through its
QTCC contract who provide counseling services to Fairview patients.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #31
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When I hear they list 39 billion as their loss, I really wonder how trumped up that number is. Reimbursement rates are like 60%? Having to serve anyone is just a cost of doing business in that industry. It doesn't cost them 2000 to administer stitches or something. It's not like that type of procedure costs more than the sunk cost of the staffing they were already paying for.

Here's a little more info on how that figure was determined, if you're curious:

http://www.aha.org/content/12/11-unc...fact-sheet.pdf
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:27 PM   #32
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Thanks-

I like page 4, where it shows that this cost has remained right around 6% for the past 25 or so years.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:34 PM   #33
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Thanks-

I like page 4, where it shows that this cost has remained right around 6% for the past 25 or so years.

Not to mention that the passage you quoted notes that it's up 16% from 2007 -- when the percentage was exactly the same.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #34
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Fairview already has ended its contract with Accretive to run what it calls its "revenue cycle" operations, but they still have an ongoing contract for other services, including quality and cost analysis.

But Eustis says Fairview is now considering cutting its ties with Accretive completely. "Knowing today what we know about Accretive and the implications that has for our own reputation in the community, we're going to take a very serious look at that," he said. Accretive has declined to comment on the allegations since Tuesday's report.

So, that happened.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:44 PM   #35
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Accretive Health Announces Termination of its Quality and Total Cost of Care Services Contract by Fairview Health Services - MarketWatch

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CHICAGO, Apr 27, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Accretive Health, Inc. AH -11.14% said today that it has received notice of termination from Fairview Health Services of its Quality and Total Cost of Care ("QTCC") services contract. The terms of the transition have yet to be determined. The Company will update its business outlook on its quarterly earnings call on May 9, 2012.

Accretive Health said that it regrets that the recent activities of the Minnesota Attorney General have created a situation where Fairview felt it necessary to cancel its work with the Company in QTCC. The Company intends to work with Fairview to preserve the good results that have been achieved and will continue to invest in this important area.

Accretive Health also said it has received reiterations of support from other clients who recognize the value of Accretive Health's ability to help hospitals and other healthcare providers enhance their quality of care. This show of support is consistent with the Company's mission of being a constructive and positive contributor to the American healthcare system.

About Accretive Health

Accretive Health partners with healthcare providers to help them more effectively manage their revenue cycles, strengthen their financial stability, and improve the quality of care they provide while reducing overall healthcare costs. Our people, processes and sophisticated integrated technology complement our clients' existing resources to enhance results for patients, physicians and staff. For more information, please visit www.accretivehealth.com .

Safe Harbor Statement

This document contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding outstanding issues with the Minnesota Attorney General and the Company's efforts to facilitate an orderly transition of its QTCC services at Fairview Health Services, which involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 29, 2012, under the heading "Risk Factors". The words "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may," "plans," "projects," "would," "will," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events. Although we believe that the expectations underlying any of our forward-looking statements are reasonable, these expectations may prove to be incorrect and all of these statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions, projections, or expectations prove incorrect, actual results, performance, financial condition, or events may vary materially and adversely from those anticipated, estimated, or expected.

All forward-looking statements included in this report are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. We wish to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement that speaks only as of the date made and to recognize that forward-looking statements are predictions of future results, which may not occur as anticipated. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements and from historical results, due to the uncertainties and factors described above, as well as others that we may consider immaterial or do not anticipate at this time. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, we do not know whether our expectations will prove correct. Our expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements can be affected by inaccurate assumptions we might make or by known or unknown uncertainties and factors, including those described above. The risks and uncertainties described above are not exclusive, and further information concerning us and our business, including factors that potentially could materially affect our financial results or condition or relationships with customers and potential customers, may emerge from time to time. We assume no, and we specifically disclaim any, obligation to update, amend, or clarify forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in factors or assumptions affecting such forward-looking statements. We advise you, however, to consult any further disclosures we make on related subjects in our periodic reports that we file with or furnish to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:16 PM   #36
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Wow. Gutsy move. Trying to brazen it out (I guess if they mea culpa'd the lawsuits would eat them alive).

Stock fell further today, to $9.33 a share, down another dollar plus.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:58 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by SirFozzie View Post
Wow. Gutsy move. Trying to brazen it out (I guess if they mea culpa'd the lawsuits would eat them alive).

Stock fell further today, to $9.33 a share, down another dollar plus.

I'm not sure what you mean with the first paragraph?

But yes, an 11% drop today, so it's been about what stevew said -- lost nearly half its value in 3 days, 18.54 end of Tuesday, 9.33 end of day today. This latest news came after the market closed, but I don't really see it as being significant.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:07 AM   #38
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Statement from Accretive Health - Yahoo! Finance

Seems like this reply took longer than it should have, and releasing it on a Saturday doesn't seem wise.

Quote:
The following statement was issued today by Accretive Health, Inc.:
Accretive Health strives every day to be a constructive and positive contributor to the American healthcare system, and we want to tell our story.

WHO WE ARE

Our mission is to help our healthcare clients strengthen their financial stability and deliver better care to their local communities, thereby working to increase healthcare access for all.
We strive to help our clients navigate the healthcare industry’s most pressing challenges – the explosion in the technological sophistication and attendant cost of medical care; the explosion in complexity of the revenue streams used to pay for medical care; and the growing need to mesh today’s high-tech medicine with the deeply embedded and fondly cherished values of care that every not-for-profit hospital can trace back to roots in charitable or religious organizations.

WHAT WE DO

What we do is critical to our clients. We help our clients operate in today’s environment by bringing to the table world-class innovation, technology, and dedicated people.

In the overall revenue process for hospitals, over 90% of revenue is received from insurance companies and government payors, which requires accuracy, diligence and significant processes and technology to fully achieve. The remainder comes from patients – typically insured and employed with an ability to pay the necessary co-pays. In addition, every hospital we work with has a large charity program for patients who have no way to pay for their care, and we help hospitals get that program to those in need.
We focus on ensuring that the financial portion of the patient experience is compassionate, efficient, clear, and achieved without errors or confusion for the patient. Our objective is that this happens 100% of the time when a patient comes into one of our client hospitals. Some patients do not have the ability to pay. Frequently, however, such patients are eligible for a funding source or government programs. Many of these patients who qualify for a funding source are unaware that they do, and we go to great effort to help them obtain that coverage. Patients that are uninsured and qualify for assistance deserve to get that assistance without any loss of dignity. We do this with great pride and recently achieved a milestone of having helped over 250,000 patients find a state or federal program, or private insurance, that they are eligible for, reducing the ranks of the uninsured. It is very important to our clients and to us that we do everything we can to support the uninsured to obtain the best funding solution. If there are no programs available, we accurately and compassionately follow the hospital’s charity policy.
Along with pride in our people and the results we help our mission-based clients achieve, must also come a clear ability to try and do better every day. If even a single patient ever believes that they have not received the assistance they deserve, in a way that is useful to them and to their healthcare providers, we must do better. We are always striving for continuous learning in collaboration with our clients, patients, and industry association groups to take our processes and procedures to the best possible level.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

The inaccuracies, innuendo and unfounded speculation that have been part of the Minnesota Attorney General’s recent allegations are extensive. We want you to know that we are working with our advisors to address the allegations.
By way of limited example:
The Attorney General’s press materials grossly distort and mischaracterize Accretive Health’s revenue cycle services. The overwhelming majority (more than 90%) of revenue collected by Accretive Health for its clients comes from third-party payors. The suggestion that our focus or practice is to put bedside pressure on patients to pay their medical bills out of pocket is a flagrant distortion of fact. Where the patient owes part of the bill, we examine each and every episode of care to ensure that patients are not improperly charged and that the insurance companies are held accountable for what they owe to providers. In addition, our patient financial advocacy counselors’ work with uninsured patients to explore all potential coverage, including Medicaid, disability, COBRA, auto insurance, and charity. As noted above, we have helped over 250,000 uninsured individuals get insurance coverage.
The very serious allegation of denying access to patient care is flatly untrue. We take seriously our obligations under EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) and work with our clients to structure their procedures in the emergency room setting to comply with EMTALA. The specific example used by the Attorney General to support these allegations – that a father was approached for payment prior to his child being provided care – was in fact, the opposite. Our review of the records of that instance show that a family member made a special request to consult about financial arrangements and the expected cost of care in advance of treatment. We accommodated his request, and the father expressed his appreciation for our assistance.

Nevertheless, we take any patient’s concerns seriously. One of our fundamental principles is that patients should never believe that the critical work we do has interfered with their access to care. We are committed to understanding and addressing any situation where a patient expresses concern.

POSITIVE CONTRIBUTOR

We are committed to helping our hospital clients fulfill their mission to provide better quality care and increase healthcare access to all; we are committed to best practices and to continuous learning; we are committed to all of our stakeholders; and we are committed to build a great company.
That is how we were founded. That is who we are today, and how we will carry forward in the future.
About Accretive Health
Accretive Health partners with healthcare providers to help them more effectively manage their revenue cycles, strengthen their financial stability, and improve the quality of care they provide while reducing overall healthcare costs. Our people, processes and sophisticated integrated technology complement our clients' existing resources to enhance results for patients, physicians and staff. For more information, please visit www.accretivehealth.com.

Last edited by Passacaglia : 04-29-2012 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #39
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Makes sense. At this point, a settlement to keep things out of the press is not really an option.

Accretive Health shares rise after company disputes allegations - chicagotribune.com

Quote:
By Peter Frost, Chicago Tribune reporter
8:51 p.m. CDT, April 30, 2012

Shares of Accretive Health Inc. bounced back nearly 8 percent Monday after the company asked a U.S. judge to throw out a lawsuit filed in January by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and defended itself against additional allegations she raised in a separate report last week.

The Chicago-based company, which handles billing and collections for hospitals and health systems, said the allegations in the suit are "factually baseless and legally indefensible." Further, the company accused Swanson of orchestrating a nationwide media campaign rather than litigate the case in court.

Swanson sued Accretive Health in January after a laptop computer containing confidential medical information on 23,500 patients was stolen from an employee's car. The suit alleges the company violated patient-privacy and debt-collection laws and committed fraud.

In its motion filed Monday to dismiss the case, Accretive Health asserted that it cannot be held liable for the "unforeseeable criminal act of a third party stealing a corporate laptop" and said there was no evidence that any patient data has been compromised.

The incident prompted Swanson's investigation into the company. Last week, she released a scathing, six-volume report that accused Accretive Health of employing overly aggressive tactics to squeeze payments from patients in emergency rooms and recovery rooms of hospitals operated by Fairview Health Services, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit.

The report, which isn't a criminal complaint and includes no formal charges, alleged that some patients before receiving care at Fairview hospitals were pressured for payment by Accretive Health employees who didn't properly identify themselves as debt collectors.

It unleashed a barrage of criticism that thrust the fast-growing, publicly traded debt collector into the national spotlight. As a result, Accretive Health's stock fell more than 50 percent last week. It also prompted Fairview, one of Accretive Health's major customers, to terminate the remainder of its contract with the company Friday.

Accretive Health, which had been silent on the allegations in the days following the report's release, responded Sunday by saying the attorney general's report included extensive "inaccuracies, innuendo and unfounded speculation."

In a statement, the company said the accusations included in Swanson's report "grossly distort and mischaracterize Accretive Health's" services.

"The suggestion that our focus or practice is to put bedside pressure on patients to pay their medical bills out of pocket is a flagrant distortion of fact," the statement said. The company also disputed the allegation that it denied any patient access to medical care.

Company executives have declined requests to comment. Accretive Health is scheduled to hold its annual meeting of shareholders Wednesday.

Accretive Health's stock closed Monday at $10.06, up 7.8 percent.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #40
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Looks like the Illinois AG is asking the Minnesota AG "How can we help with your investigation?"
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:27 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by SirFozzie View Post
Looks like the Illinois AG is asking the Minnesota AG "How can we help with your investigation?"

Link?
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:31 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by RomaGoth View Post
perhaps they should stop serving illegals, no?

If they are in the E.R., then they can't.

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Originally Posted by sterlingice View Post
Considering the health care industry is a $3T industry, boo-effing-hoo.

"I have to give away one penny on the dollar so that explains why we charge $500 for a procedure that costs $5 in supplies and is done in 10 minutes by someone we pay $15 an hour". If costs weren't so grossly exaggerated, that number would be much, much lower.

SI

A narrow-minded view of how health care works--it's not that simple.

Last edited by Galaxy : 05-01-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:05 PM   #43
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Link?

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...ection-tactics

Accretive Health Asks Court to Toss State of Minnesota Suit - Businessweek

“We are reaching out to the Minnesota attorney general’s office, to get a sense of what they’re working on,” to see if Illinois authorities can be of assistance, said Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in a telephone interview today.

Because it is a collections agency, Accretive Health holds a license issued by Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. A spokeswoman for that agency, Sue Hofer, today said the department has authority to lift a license in the event a licensee is found to have committed wrongdoing in another state.

“We’ve been aware of the Minnesota attorney general’s investigation,” Hofer said, adding that state law bars her from confirming or denying whether Accretive is being probed by her agency.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:40 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by SirFozzie View Post
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...ection-tactics

Accretive Health Asks Court to Toss State of Minnesota Suit - Businessweek

“We are reaching out to the Minnesota attorney general’s office, to get a sense of what they’re working on,” to see if Illinois authorities can be of assistance, said Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in a telephone interview today.

Because it is a collections agency, Accretive Health holds a license issued by Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. A spokeswoman for that agency, Sue Hofer, today said the department has authority to lift a license in the event a licensee is found to have committed wrongdoing in another state.

“We’ve been aware of the Minnesota attorney general’s investigation,” Hofer said, adding that state law bars her from confirming or denying whether Accretive is being probed by her agency.

Thanks -- that's the story I saw last week, just wondering if there was anything new this week.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:56 AM   #45
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Seems like a good time to have your annual shareholders meeting:

Accretive Health's annual meeting closed to media - Chicago Tribune

Quote:
Accretive Health's annual meeting closed to media

Accretive Health founder and CEO Mary Tolan accompanies Mayor Rahm Emanuel… (Antonio Perez/Tribune )
May 01, 2012|By Peter Frost | Tribune reporter

Accretive Health Inc., the Chicago-based hospital billing and collections company under fire from Minnesota's attorney general, said its annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday will be closed to the press.

The company has held one other annual shareholders meeting since it went public in 2010, which also was closed, said a spokeswoman, Rhonda Barnat.



While publicly traded corporations are not required to open shareholders meetings to the press, barring access serves little purpose, said Charles Elson, chairman of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.

"It's a rather harsh action and a rather unproductive action," Elson said. "There's nothing to be gained by keeping (the press) out."

Publicly traded companies must disclose to all shareholders the results of any votes taken during the meeting, he noted.

Other publicly traded Chicagoland firms, including Abbot Laboratories, Sears Holdings Corp. and Walgreen Co., invite members of the media to their annual shareholder meetings.

But for firms under duress, closing the meetings "is not uncommon," said Nell Minow, a co-founder of GMI Ratings, which publishes reports on corporate governance issues.

"The whole point of an annual meeting is it's the one day of the year that shareholders get to ask questions of the management and the board of directors," Minow said. "I'm in favor of making them as open as possible."

Since Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson released a report last week that accused Accretive Health of using aggressive tactics to squeeze payments from patients of Fairview Health Services, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit hospital operator, shares of the fast-growing company have plummeted.

Accretive Health's stock closed Tuesday at $9.18, down 8.75 percent.

Swanson's report, which isn't a criminal complaint and includes no formal charges, alleged that some patients were pressured for payment by Accretive Health employees who didn't properly identify themselves as debt collectors.

Accretive Health has dismissed the allegations, saying the report contained extensive "inaccuracies, innuendo and unfounded speculation."

Charles C. Cox, a former commissioner and acting chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the 1980s, said SEC regulations don't require publicly held companies to allow media into shareholders meetings.

"It is not a public meeting unless the corporation and the shareholders want to make it a public meeting," said Cox, a senior vice president at Compass Lexecon, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

Some companies may choose to keep meetings closed so as not to "inhibit free-flowing discussion or to debate various corporate issues," he said.

Accretive Health's decision to bar reporters from its annual meeting comes on the heels of a similar decision made by insurance giant Aon Corp. in February.

Aon, which was based in Chicago, told members of the media that it would bar them from a special shareholder meeting to vote on the company's plan to move its headquarters to London. But after the Tribune published a story detailing Aon's decision, the company relented.

Another Chicago-based firm, Hyatt Hotels Corp., barred the press from its first shareholder meeting in June 2010. As a result, more than 100 religious leaders tried to storm the entrance, forcing the company's chief human resources officer to address the crowd. Hyatt's annual meetings have been open to reporters since.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:33 AM   #46
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Fighting back, youtube style:

http://youtu.be/il1JcPsxWkM
http://youtu.be/7JQQthio_Us
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:59 AM   #47
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Judging by my several consecutive posts in this thread, you can probably tell that this story affects me pretty personally (no layoffs yet, but we're not sure what's going to happen after a 60-day transition period). Anyway, I've been reading articles about it so much that it's hard to tell how big of a story it is for everyone else. But I guess if it's on The Colbert Report, it's pretty big:

Accretive Health scandal prompts new word from Colbert: debt panels
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:54 PM   #48
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Sorry to hear that, Pass

I keep watching the stock, and kept thinking that it has to bottom out some time, and start to rise, but so far, nothing, although it's flat today.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:09 PM   #49
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Sorry to hear that, Pass

I keep watching the stock, and kept thinking that it has to bottom out some time, and start to rise, but so far, nothing, although it's flat today.

It's no big, I actually wasn't liking it much -- the work I do is pretty good (and has nothing to do with debt collecting), but the commute and hours are more than what I'd like. So I'd been looking for other things already. And we've been saying that we want one of us to stay home with the twins that are due in June, so if nothing else comes up, that'll be me.

I keep watching the stock too (even though I don't have any) -- it's 1/3 of what it was last week. Yeah, no movement today, and this may be the first day where nothing of interest has actually happened.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:26 AM   #50
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http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...face-of-crisis

Quote:
Thrown into the fire by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, Mary Tolan is presenting a textbook example of how not to handle a crisis.
As CEO of Accretive Health Inc., Ms. Tolan should respond thoroughly to the detailed, harsh allegations that her employees used high-pressure bill-collection tactics on patients of a Minneapolis hospital network. If her employees are blameless, then by all means carry the fight to Ms. Swanson, a consumer advocate elected in 2006.
Ms. Swanson, after all, may be only a headline-seeking public official trying her case in the media rather than the courtroom. She hardly would be the first prosecutor to use public shaming to cudgel a defendant into a settlement.
But if mistakes were made by overzealous employees, Ms. Tolan should admit it and move on. Instead, she seemingly is trying to shift the focus to Ms. Swanson by questioning her motives and, in a company statement, accusing her office of “inaccuracies, innuendo and unfounded speculation.”
Ms. Tolan built Accretive into one of the Chicago area's fastest-growing companies since 2003, with annual revenue of more than $800 million. Now she must act decisively and honestly to save the company she co-founded.
Her counter-assault has not helped investors. Accretive's stock has sunk more than 50 percent since April 24, when Ms. Swanson lambasted the company with allegations of compromising patient privacy and boiler-room collection practices. Nor has it benefited Chicago, which desperately wants a startup to do it proud.
Oddly, the tempest seems to have taken Ms. Tolan and her managers by surprise. Ms. Swanson filed suit against Accretive in late January. That same month, Accretive settled separately with the Minnesota Commerce Commissioner by agreeing to a cease and desist order that bars the company from collecting debts in that state.
Debt collection accounts for less than 10 percent of Accretive's business, and allegations of strong-arming patients obscure the valuable revenue management work the company provides its clients, most of whom are nonprofit hospitals. Ms. Tolan is free to shoot spitballs at a headline-grabbing prosecutor. And Accretive may be something of a victim here. But it's not the only one.
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