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Minneapolis hospitals receive no help from collections agency

Jan 29, 2012 Mike Garretson

The loss of a laptop belonging to an employee of healthcare debt collection agency Accretive Health resulted in a data breach that impacted more than 16,000 patients of two Minneapolis hospitals, KMSP-TV reports.  Specifically, 14,000 patients of Fairview Health Services and 2,800 from North Memorial Hospital were affected after the laptop was stolen from the employee's car last July. As a result, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit against a debt collector, alleging that it failed to protect the confidentiality of patient healthcare records and didn't disclose its involvement in the incident, the news source notes in a separate article. "This loss of sensitive patient information is disappointing and unacceptable," said Lois Dahl, Fairview director of privacy, as quoted by the media outlet. "We do believe the overall risk of anybody accessing the data is low." Both hospitals notified affected individuals and provided them with free identity theft protection services, paid for by Accretive Health. Accretive is a debt collection agency that's part of a New York private equity fund conglomerate.