The hearing follows a probe by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson that alleges that Accretive used strong-arm tactics to pressure patients into paying for their care up front.
Deb Waldin of Edina testified that while curled up in a fetal position on a Fairview Southdale emergency room gurney last July, alone and waiting for a doctor, a billing agent came in and asked her to pay $750.
“I couldn’t believe he was asking me this at the foot of my bed as I’m laying there,” Waldin said. “I said, ‘I’ve got insurance, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ And to be clear, I didn’t have any debt with Fairview. And he was asking for this money right then. And I just ultimately told him to get out of the room and go away, and he did.”
Another patient, Tom Fuller of New Brighton, told the committee about visiting a Fairview hospital for a procedure a couple of months after a lung transplant. Unlike other visits, he was escorted into a small room, where a man checked him in and put a bill for $500 in front of him.
“I just felt badgered, extremely upset,” said Fuller. “Finally he said, ‘I’ll take a check or a credit card, however you want to pay it.’ And I said, ‘I have no intention of paying you anything right now; I’m going in for a procedure.’”
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