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Hospital Headlines Color Public Perception

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 25, 2012

Because I am a healthcare nerd, one of my favorite pastimes each day is to examine the Around The Web Sectionof our HealthLeaders Media website.

Each morning, HealthLeaders editors awaken before you do and scour the mainstream media to provide links to the compelling healthcare-related stories of the day from across the country.

Because these stories are written mostly by newspapers for the general public, reading Around The Web provides healthcare insiders with insight into what issues are on the public radar. Oftentimes, we can spot trends in healthcare and the public's perception of the industry by reading seemingly unrelated stories from different parts of the nation. Sometimes the perception is good.

More often, unfortunately, it is not.      

Heavy-handed Debt Collectors
The most damaging media attention this week was leveled at Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services, which has come under withering attack—including a front-page story in the New York Times—in the wake of a scathing report from the Minnesota Attorney General's office that raises troubling questions about aggressive and possibly illegal bill collection tactics instigated by a contractor.

In fairness to Fairview, the AG's report vented most of its spleen at Accretive Health, a Chicago-based debt collector that the health system had hired. 

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