Following Collection Scandal, Fairview CEO’s Contract Not Renewed

Fairview Health’s CEO announced his retirement yesterday following Fairview’s board of directors electing not to renew his contract at a meeting Wednesday.

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The action follows in the wake of the PR debacle that erupted from last month’s scathing report by the Minnesota Attorney General. In it, she criticized the Minnesota hospital chain’s fee and debt collection practices, and its relationship with its revenue cycle vendor, Accretive Health.

Fairview Health is one of the largest not-for-profit health care organizations in Minnesota. Last month Attorney General Lori Swanson released an extensive six-volume report detailing numerous alleged abuses regarding the collection of fees and debts by Fairview and its vendor Accretive. The report created a media furor, and on Wednesday Fairview’s board voted against renewing the contract of 5-year CEO Mark Eustis, prompting the announcement of his retirement.

The Minnesota Attorney General’s report aims most of the allegations at Accretive, and the company has denied any wrongdoing. In a response to the charges, Accretive claimed that several of the policies that drew criticism were in place at Fairview before they came aboard.

Fairview had come under the scrutiny by the attorney general’s office’s for its fee and debt collection practices back in 2005. The attorney general’s scrutiny, which occurred before Eustis joined the not-for-profit, resulted in credit and debt reforms that were later imposed on hospitals statewide. According the attorney general’s report, many of those reforms had been disregarded by Accretive.

In January the attorney general brought suit against Accretive for violating patient privacy as a result of having a company laptop stolen last summer that contained confidential patient information. After the filing of that suit, according to the attorney general’s report, Fairview began distancing itself from Accretive, and earlier this month the hospital chain announced it had severed ties with the company. Those steps apparently were not enough to save Eustis’s job.

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