A medical billing company that was barred from doing business in Minnesota has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that it failed to protect patient data.

Accretive Health Inc., based in Chicago, was charged with failing to adequately safeguard information such as medical information and Social Security numbers.

The FTC said in July 2011 that a company laptop that contained 20 million pieces of information on 23,000 patients was stolen from an employee’s car in Minnesota.

Attorney General Lori Swanson banned Accretive from collection activity in 2012 for at least two years and charged the firm $2.5 million for allegedly deceiving patients, harassing them for money in emergency rooms and mishandling patient data.

Alejandra Matos

More at startribune.com/whistleblower.