Chicago Mayor, Al Franken Join Accretive Health Debate

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to rein in her probe of Accretive Health, but she is moving forward with the investigation.

Despite intervention from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has vowed to press on with her investigation into Accretive Health, LLC's practices.

Minnesota's U.S. Senator Al Franken, meanwhile, is also seeking information from Accretive Health, but the company has reportedly missed his deadlines.

Last month, Swanson issued a report accusing Accretive Health of using aggressive-and sometimes illegal-methods for collecting money from patients of Fairview Health Services. That move came several months after Swanson sued the company for allegedly violating privacy laws when a corporate laptop that contained confidential data for roughly 23,000 Fairview and North Memorial Health Care patients was stolen.

In an undated letter to Swanson, Emanuel defended Chicago-based Accretive, according to a report by the Star Tribune. The letter did not directly address the concerns raised in Swanson's report but said that the company “does important work for hospitals and good things for our city, particularly for our neediest citizens.”

Emanuel requested that Swanson refrain from interviewing Accretive clients until she meets with the company's CEO and asked that the two parties attempt to resolve the matter privately, the Minneapolis newspaper reported.

But Swanson responded that Accretive's CEO declined a recent invitation to meet and said she intends to press on with her investigation.

While Emanuel is looking to rein in an investigation of Accretive, Franken appears to be trying to speed it up. He reportedly plans to investigate the company in his capacity as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and chairman of a Senate subcommittee on privacy and technology. He claims Accretive has ignored two deadlines for answering questions he posed about Swanson's allegations.

The company reportedly asked for the deadlines to be extended, but the senator wants immediate action: “I am disappointed that Accretive still has not responded to my letter,” Franken wrote in a letter Tuesday, according to the Star Tribune. “The allegations contained in the attorney general's report are serious and they warrant prompt attention.”

Franken might soon receive his answers: The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that Accretive plans to provide Franken with a report on Friday. The company's CEO reportedly told investors that the company has “a very strong fact-based set of answers that are coming forward on Friday.”

Accretive has spoken out against Swanson, saying earlier this month that “the inaccuracies, innuendo, and unfounded speculation that have been part of the Minnesota attorney general's recent allegations are extensive.”

The company's lawyer has reportedly also accused Swanson of distorting Accretive's business practices, and the company has requested that a judge throw out the lawsuit that Swanson filed against the company.

Accretive on Wednesday lowered its 2012 earnings outlook, citing the recent termination of its contract with Fairview. But its stock price jumped about 19 percent Wednesday as the company posted revenue of $253.7 million for the first quarter, up 55 percent from the same period a year ago.

Read more about the investigation surrounding Accretive in the Star Tribune here.