Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is accusing embattled debt collector Accretive Health and North Memorial, a health care provider serving the northwestern part of the Twin Cities metro area, of apparently operating without legally required patient privacy protections.
Swanson made the allegations Wednesday at a U.S. Senate field hearing into her office's investigation into Accretive's practices. She said her office asked the companies last fall for their privacy paperwork -- a so-called business associate agreement.
"North Memorial and Accretive thereafter concocted a business associate agreement ... effective Mar 21, 2011. And it was presented to my office as if they always had a business associate agreement. In fact that agreement that was presented to my office was really signed in October of 2011," said Swanson.
Neither North Memorial nor Accretive has responded to requests for comment. According to published reports, Accretive officials maintain they had the required agreement, but could not locate it, so they made a duplicate with the original date of March.