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UMass Memorial Settles Over Donor Recruitment Practices

BOSTON — UMass Memorial Health Care, and a bone marrow registry it operates, are paying more than $500,000 to settle state investigations into some of the methods used to recruit bone marrow donors.

UMass Memorial denies breaking any laws but says it takes responsibility for bad judgement used in efforts to add more potential donors to the registry.

The attorney general’s complaint says UMass Memorial used models and other “inducements” in donor recruitment drives, failed to disclose total costs associated with registering as a donor, and charged health insurers unreasonable rates during marrow testing.

Attorney General Martha Coakley says state officials won’t permit practices that needlessly drive up the cost of health care.

“They used very aggressive [methods] and we believe a lack of transparency in using models in skimpy outfits to really get people involved in what is an important endeavor, but the methods they used we believe were improper under Massachusetts law,” she said.

UMass Memorial will return insurance co-payments to donors recruited by the models.

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