Hospital found to have violated federal law

Published 10:51 am Thursday, September 13, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Federal regulators say aggressive efforts to collect debt from patients at the University of Minnesota Medical Center violated patient protection laws.

Federal documents obtained by the Star Tribune show that the Fairview-owned hospital repeatedly subjected patients and their relatives to “abuse and harassment” during bill-collecting attempts in the emergency room and other wards.

Fairview says it has made several changes and expects “to be found in full compliance” once follow-up site visits are completed.

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Minnesota Department of Health complaints director Stella French says Fairview has enough time to correct the problems and avoid sanctions.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sued Fairview’s bill collecting company, Accretive Health Inc., earlier this year. An out-of-court agreement bans the Chicago company from doing business in Minnesota for at least two years, although Accretive denied any wrongdoing.