Franken vows to investigate Accretive Health

WASHINGTON – A debt collection company accused of gathering too much sensitive patient information from Minnesota hospitals will be investigated by U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson released the results of a months-long investigation of Accretive Health on Tuesday, alleging that the company violated federal and state privacy, consumer debt and fraud laws through its business practices. Some of the practices described in her report included company representatives attempting to collect payment from patients before admitting them to hospital emergency rooms and improperly using patient medical records in the debt collection process.

“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,” said Franken in a news release today.

Franken, a Democrat, chairs a Senate subcommittee on privacy and also sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.