When the Minnesota attorney general’s office came after Accretive Health earlier this year for allegedly engaging in strong-arm collection tactics, the company maintained that no Accretive employee was directly involved, and by implication, it was Fairview staff who reportedly engaged in attempting to collect fees from patients who were receiving treatment in the emergency room and other perceived violations.
Even after settling with the attorney general in July for $2.5 million, Accretive repeated its claim that none of its employees were engaged in the actions for which it was accused. Now one of the hospitals in the Fairview system, the University of Minnesota Medical Center, has come under scrutiny by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for failing “to protect and promote each patient’s rights to be free from all forms of harassment when the hospital utilized aggressive payment collections tactics at the point of patient care,” the Star Tribune investigation found.
According to officials quoted in the news story, CMS will not impose sanctions provided the medical center agrees to take corrective measures, which hospital officials say it has already begun to do.
In addition to determining that staff at the medical center had engaged in aggressive collections, regulators also found that the hospital failed to respond promptly to patient grievances and violated EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act).
Fairview told the Star Tribune that it intends to be in “full compliance” with CMS’s corrective action plan.