Embattled medical debt collector hires second lobby firm

The company has consistently denied the allegations, which drew criticism from several House and Senate Democrats nonetheless.

"This is corporate greed at its worst, abuse of patients' rights to dignity and privacy, and, I believe, a possible violation of several laws," Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said in a statement April 26.

Stark also called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to investigate the company.

On May 30, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) held a Senate field hearing in St. Paul on the controversy.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) has also become involved, though on Accretive's behalf. He recently asked Minnesota Attorney Lori Swanson to "cease efforts to publicly prosecute" the firm in the media.

The letter to Swanson said the company "does important things for hospitals and good things for our city."

Accretive announced in May that it is spearheading a national effort to create voluntary standards for its industry.

Two former Senate majority leaders — Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) — as well as former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretaries Michael Leavitt and Donna Shalala will participate, according to a news release.

The effort will also involve former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Mark McClellan, who also ran the Food and Drug Administration.