Minnesota Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday is holding a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a result of a lawsuit from Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson detailed aggressive efforts to collect debt from patients.

Franken is examining, at a field hearing in St. Paul, Minn., whether the debt collection practices broke federal laws.

Executives from Chicago-based Accretive Health Inc. and Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services are named as witnesses. Fairview CEO Mark Eustis resigned last week (see story).

Swanson sued Accretive in January (see story), accusing the company of misusing private patient information and using high-pressure tactics to get patients to pay, sometimes before they were treated. Two patients and a nurse are also expected to relay personal stories.

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