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Accretive's Bedside Manner for Debt Collection

posted by Bob Lawless

The end of last week got a little busy for many of the Credit Slips bloggers and none of us talked about the story last Wednesday by Jessica Silver-Greenberg at the New York Times regarding aggressive debt collection practices by Accretive at hospitals. The allegations came to light in a report by Minnesota attorney general, Lori Swanson. Among the most appalling claims was that Accretive posted employees in emergency rooms, demanding payment before treatment was administered. Forget the legal side of this. How does a person or an organization get to a place where these sorts of tactics seem like the right thing to do? (In fairness, it should be noted that Accretive has denied the claims made by Attorney General Swanson.)

My colleague, John Colombo, has a post up at the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog discussing the tax-exempt status issues for nonprofit hospitals that deploy aggressive debt collection practices such as those alleged to have been done by Accretive. John's work raises a bigger question: should we still give nonprofit hospitals a tax exemption if they are not doing charitable work in a different sense of the word?

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  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, visit http://listserv.uiuc.edu/archives/bankr-l.html and click on the link for "Join or leave the list." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless (rlawless@illinois.edu) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.

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