Fairview Health CEO Mark Eustis retired Thursday, a month after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson's office released a report criticizing the Minnesota hospital system's debt collection practices and its partnership with collection agency Accretive Health Inc. (see story).

Fairview's board of directors opted Wednesday not to renew Eustis' employment contract, prompting the retirement announcement the next day. Fairview Health is one of the largest not-for-profit health care organizations in Minnesota.

Swanson released a six-volume report detailing numerous alleged abuses regarding the collection of fees and debts by Accretive. Fairview previously had come under fire from the attorney general’s office’s for its fee and debt collection practices in 2005, prior to Eustis being hired. That scrutiny resulted in credit and debt reforms that were later imposed on hospitals statewide. According the Swanson's report, many of those reforms had been disregarded by Accretive.

Swanson's report aimed most of the allegations at Accretive. The company denied any wrongdoing and claimed that several of the policies that drew criticism were in place at Fairview before they came aboard.

In January, Swanson's office brought suit against Accretive for violating patient privacy as a result of having a company laptop stolen last summer that contained confidential patient information (see story).

After that filing, according to the attorney general’s report, Fairview began distancing itself from Accretive, and earlier this month the hospital chain announced it had severed ties with the company.

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