Damn….

Wednesday was a very bad day for Mary Tolan and the company she runs, Accretive Health. Not only had the State of Minnesota taken action against Accretive Health, but:

Shares of Accretive Health plunged 42 percent, or $7.74, Wednesday to close at $10.75, as the scope and detail of the allegations became clear, a day after [Minnesota Attorney General Lori] Swanson’s office released a six-volume report on her investigation.

The Wall Street Journal reported that “An Accretive spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s share price but said the company has ‘a great track record of helping hospitals enhance their quality of care.'” Only in a bizarro world would patient harassment count as an enhancement of care quality.

Accretive’s stock price trend is ominous:

Going down

The expectation driving this trend issues from the belief that litigation will compel Accretive Health to change its dubious business practices.

Need a job? Lack a soul?

Accretive Health has a position for you. The New York Times reports:

Hospital patients waiting in the emergency room or convalescing after surgery could find themselves confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

Mary A. Tolan, Accretive Health CEO

One of the nation’s largest medical debt-collection companies is under fire in Minnesota for having placed its employees in emergency rooms and other departments at two hospitals and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, according to documents released Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general. The documents say the company also used patient health records to wrangle for more money on overdue bills.

The company, Accretive Health, has contracts not only with the two hospitals cited in Minnesota but also with some of the largest hospital systems in the country, including Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. Since January, it has faced a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Lori Swanson of Minnesota alleging that it violated state and federal debt-collection laws and patient privacy protections.

Shocking — that is, I find it shocking that Accretive’s morally dubious practices violate debt collection laws and privacy protections. These violations are contrary to the spirit of the times! I am sure that ALEC, with its deep and strong concern for protecting the rights of health care consumers to directly pay for their health care, will want to get these laws fixed as soon as possible.