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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2008
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Kinda interesting article, you all see this?


Minnesota hospital let a debt collector company put employees in the ED, registering patients, and let 'em get aggressive on getting patients to pay. MN attorney general is busting them for HIPPA violations.

Here's some of the more interesting quotes:

"Accretive boasts that it trains its staff to focus on getting payment. Employees in the emergency room were told to ask incoming patients first for a credit-card payment. If that fails, employees are told to say, “If you have your checkbook in your car I will be happy to wait for you,” internal documents show."

"Patients with outstanding balances are closely tracked by Accretive staff members, who list them on what employees refer to as “stop lists,” internal documents show. In March 2011, doctors at Fairview complained that such strong-arm tactics were discouraging patients from seeking life-saving treatments, but Accretive officials dismissed the complaints as “country club talk,” the documents show.

It is not clear how many times the “stop lists” induced patients seeking emergency care to leave the hospital."


Junior Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2003
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Wow - totally inappropriate setting for a debt collector

Why? As long as EMTALA isn't being violated, is there something inherently wrong with people being asked to pay their debts?
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Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 1, 2005
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I couldn't log into the article, but i would imagine something like this would be more of an EMTALA violation via intimidation tactics than an issue with HIPAA. i'm not sure where the HIPAA violation is so long as they are HIPAA trained like any other non-medical hospital staff member.

i think as a penalty they should be required to pay people for visiting the ER; a sign of appreciation for using their services, of course.


Chronically painful
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Nov 27, 2002
Las Vegas, NV
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It's important to remember that EMTALA guarantees an MSE and any necessary stabilizing treatment "without regard to ability to pay," not for free and not without any collection actions later. If patients have received an MSE and been determined to not have an emergent problem or if stabilizing treatment has already been delivered then I'm pretty sure they can try to collect any way they want.

I suspect that the AG in MN would have gone with EMTALA if they were running afoul of it. HIPAA is probably the secondary option.
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