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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Damaged Fairview ousts exec

Mark Eustis was linked to firm behind high-pressure debt collections

by Maura Lerner and Tony Kennedy
The Star Tribune
Star Tribue Staff Writers
Originally published May 24, 2012

Mark Eustis, CEO of Fairview Health
Mark Eustis couldn't have known it at the time, but his downfall as president of Fairview Health Services began last summer with the report of a stolen laptop. Within 10 months, the incident had grown into a public relations nightmare that Fairview couldn't shake.

On Thursday, Eustis, 59, abruptly announced plans to retire, one day after Fairview's board voted not to renew his contract. It was just four weeks after Attorney General Lori Swanson released a scathing report about debt collectors badgering patients for money inside Fairview hospitals.

Initially, the board had said Eustis' job was safe. But criticism has mounted over Fairview's association with Accretive Health, the for-profit company Swanson blamed for the collection practices.

Eustis found himself at the center of the turmoil because he was instrumental in hiring Accretive and has a son who works for the firm.

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Dr. Steve Miles, a University of Minnesota physician and bioethicist, said the most disturbing revelations weren't just about heavy-handed debt collectors, but internal e-mails in which Accretive employees talked about patients as "lowlifes" and "deadbeats."

The entire article is here.

Thanks to Gary Schoener for this lead.