Maple Grove Hospital cuts Accretive ties

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 21, 2012 - 7:47 PM

Maple Grove Hospital made the move at the request of Fairview.

A second Minnesota health care provider has cut its ties to Accretive Health, the consulting firm sued by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson for alleged patient privacy violations and strong-arm debt collection tactics.

Maple Grove Hospital said this week that it has terminated its business relationship with Chicago-based Accretive at the request of Fairview Health Services, 25 percent owner of the Maple Grove hospital.

Fairview dropped Accretive as its revenue manager earlier this year after Swanson filed a lengthy report accusing the firm's bill collectors of hounding Fairview patients in emergency rooms, cancer units, intensive care wards and birth centers. Sworn statements from 27 Fairview patients were added to the attorney general's lawsuit this week. Fairview spokesman Ryan Davenport confirmed that Fairview asked Maple Grove to drop Accretive, but did not explain why.

The decision leaves North Memorial Health Care in Robbinsdale as Accretive's only hospital client in Minnesota.

"North Memorial is still under contract with Accretive Health and we are continuing to evaluate our relationship with them,'' said North Memorial spokeswoman Wendy Jerde.

Jerde said it was North Memorial that first connected Maple Grove Hospital with Accretive. North Memorial owns 75 percent of the Maple Grove hospital and provides management, financial and administrative services to Maple Grove for a fee.

Jerde said North Memorial expanded its contract with Accretive to add Maple Grove starting Dec. 28, 2011. Five months later, on June 1, the relationship between Maple Grove and Accretive was terminated, the two hospitals said.

Accretive said Thursday it agreed to discontinue services to Maple Grove "in light of Fairview's issues with Accretive Health.''

Part of Swanson's suit against Accretive alleges the consulting firm was given access to North Memorial patient records without having a Business Associate Agreement as required under federal patient privacy law. The attorney general alleges that North Memorial and Accretive concocted an agreement and backdated it to avoid sanctions. Accretive denies that charge and North Memorial has not commented on it.

Neither North Memorial nor Maple Grove would say whether such an agreement was in place for Accretive's work at Maple Grove. The two hospitals also declined to describe the full scope of Accretive's work at Maple Grove.

Accretive said its Business Associate Agreement with North Memorial also covered Maple Grove.

Tony Kennedy • 612-673-4213

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