The Associated Press April 25, 2012, 3:23PM ET

Accretive Health shares sink after report release

Shares of Accretive Health Inc. plunged Wednesday, after the Minnesota attorney general reported that the Chicago company advised a Minnesota hospital to use high-pressure tactics to collect money from some patients before administering care.

THE SPARK: The Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported Tuesday on its website that Accretive employed collection quotas, cash inducements and in-house competitions to motivate staff members into getting upfront payments from patients. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said the tactics appeared to violate federal and state laws.

The paper also said Accretive implemented front-end denials that pressured patients into paying a prior balance for part of a scheduled treatment that day. That included breast cancer patients.

Accretive did not immediately return a call seeking comment from The Associated Press.

THE BACKGROUND: Accretive helps hospital systems manage their revenue cycles and does work with bill preparation and tracking medical treatments.

Earlier this year, Swanson sued Accretive, accusing the company of failing to keep health care records for tens of thousands of patients confidential and not telling patients just how much it was involved in their health care. The lawsuit came after an Accretive employee had a laptop stolen in July that contained the data of 23,500 patients.

An Accretive spokeswoman said in January the company will work with the state to resolve that matter.

SHARE ACTION: Down 30 percent, or $5.54, to $12.95 in afternoon trading. Earlier shares traded at $12.42, the lowest price since June 2010.

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