Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Best healthcare system in the world?

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Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports in the NY Times:

Accretive Health, one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debt, has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the Minnesota state attorney general’s office to settle accusations that it violated a federal law requiring hospitals to provide emergency care, even if patients cannot afford to pay.

The company has not admitted wrongdoing. [Of course not: they never do. IMO the attorney general should insist on that as a condition of settlement, since it will ease the lawsuits against the company. In additional, I would say the wrongdoing is evident if not flagrant. – LG]

As part of Monday’s settlement, Accretive Health is also barred from contracting with hospitals within the state for at least two years, effectively ending its business at three Minnesota hospitals. For four years after that, the company will have to obtain permission from the attorney general before resuming business in the state.

In April, Lori Swanson, the Minnesota attorney general, disclosed hundreds of Accretive’s internal documents that outlined aggressive collection tactics, including embedding debt collectors in emergency rooms and pressuring patients to pay before receiving treatment.

Carol Wall, a 53-year-old Minnesota resident, said “a woman with a computer cart” told her she owed $300 as she was “vaginally hemorrhaging large amounts of blood” at an Accretive-run emergency room in January, according to court records.

Another patient, Terry Mackel, 50, said he was asked to pay $363.55 at another Accretive-operated emergency room in Minnesota as he waited “alone, groggy and hooked up to an IV” waiting to see an emergency room doctor, according to court documents. Fearing that it was the only way to see a doctor, both patients paid.

Accretive Health declined to comment about Ms. Wall and Mr. Mackel. “The conduct described by these patients is directly contrary to Accretive Health’s policies, practices and training,” Accretive said in a statement.

In an interview Monday, Ms. Swanson said . . .

Continue reading. A lot of people say that hospitals should be run like a business. This is what you get when you do: a focus on profit above all.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 July 2012 at 6:12 pm

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