State Attorney General Investigates HRC Medical
by Jennifer Kraus
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Tennessee attorney general's office has now launched an investigation into HRC Medical.
This comes on the heels of a recent News Channel 5 investigation into the Nashville-based hormone replacement therapy chain.
This also comes as both state lawmakers and others are also cracking down on HRC.
House Bill 2801 easily made its way through the Health subcommittee Tuesday.
The legislation is being pushed by Representative Phillip Johnson whose wife claims she suffered serious health problems as a patient at HRC Medical here in Nashville.
Representative Johnson told NewsChannel5 Investigates earlier, "Some of her hormone levels had gotten too high."
NewsChannel5 Investigates asked, "Off the charts?"
And our own investigation late last year found many other HRC patients just like her who say they too were overdosed on testosterone and experienced extreme side effects.
Roger Wyatt shared, "I was losing hair like there was no tomorrow."
Patients also told us they rarely, if ever, saw a doctor or had any sort of physical examination.
Representative Johnson's bill aims to change that and specifically targets clinics like HRC that focus on hormone replacement therapy.
Under the bill, a physician must either administer the therapy himself or supervise it. And, before beginning therapy, patients must have a physical exam, give a full medical history, and understand the possible side effects.
Last November, HRC's spokesman, Bill Fletcher, insisted patient care is a top priority for the company.
"We maintain very high standards," he told NewsChannel5 Investigates.
But just a month after that interview, we've just learned, the North Carolina Medical Board came down hard on HRC and its founder and medical director, Dr. Dan Hale for delivering "poor medical care" to HRC patients and even giving them treatments they didn't need.
In a scathing letter to Dr. Hale, the Medical Board wrote that its investigators found HRC patients got care that was "uniformly below acceptable and prevailing standards." And, perhaps most shocking, that patients who had "normal hormone levels were given hormone therapy nonetheless."
HRC patients here in Nashville told NewsChannel5 Investigates the same thing happened to them as well.
The North Carolina Medical Board blamed not only Hale for these problems, but the HRC business model that he himself developed.
The Medical Board went on to deny Hale's request for a medical license and informed him that since he'd been practicing medicine in North Carolina without a license, they were referring the case to the District Attorney and he could face felony charges.
Late last week, Dr. Hale suddenly announced he is leaving the company to return to private practice.
Dr. Hale and HRC could face sanctions here in Tennessee too. Several patients tell NewsChannel5 Investigates they've been interviewed by investigators with the Attorney General's Office.
House Bill 2801 meanwhile will be heard by the full House Health committee next week. It's already made it out of committee in the Senate and is expected to go to the floor soon.
Late this afternoon, HRC's issued this statement :
"Questions about House Bill 2801
HRC Medical is aware of legislative efforts to implement new regulations with regard to hormone replacement therapy in Tennessee. House Bill 2801 is consistent with current policies of HRC's managed medical practice. Because HRC Medical provides a high level of patient care we are very supportive of a strong, positive regulatory environment.
Questions about Tennessee State Attorney General Discussions With Patients
HRC Medical often fields questions and inquiries from regulatory agencies in states where we provide hormone replacement therapy.
HRC Medical's policy is to cooperate with any and all regulatory agencies to address any concerns and to foster a strong, positive regulatory environment.
Q. Is or has Dr. Hale or his attorneys been in any sort of negotiations with the Wake County District Attorney's Office.
A. Dr. Dan Hale is no longer affiliated with HRC Medical. Any further questions about Dr. Hale would be best directed to him.
Dr. Hale announced his retirement on March 8, 2012. Following are details from that release:
Dr. Dan Hale, 67, founder of HRC Medical and the visionary developer of the company's Amor Vie®, has announced his intention to retire from the natural hormone replacement company.
The company also announced the launch of a new website which features hundreds of stories from real people who have had profound improvements in their health and well-being as a result of HRC Medical's Amor Vie®. www.hrcmedical.com
HRC Medical is a privately held company that manages 37 HRC Medical Centers located in 21 states. Through its affiliated physicians the company has served more than 30,000 patients with its Amor Vie®. Amor Vie therapy is a highly personalized treatment plan that seeks to improves natural hormone levels to improve the health and well-being of patients.
"To everything there is a season," Dr. Hale said. "The time has come for me to step back from active involvement in HRC Medical."
Don Hale, President of HRC Medical and Dr. Dan Hale's brother, said, "This is a bittersweet time for me and for this company. Dr. Dan's vision is now being realized as we grow HRC Medical to a national company helping thousands of people. My brother is a true visionary who developed our Amor Vie® and trained our medical staff in its effective use for our clients."
Dr. John Argerson will succeed Dr. Dan Hale as Interim Chairman of the HRC Medical Advisory Board.
HRC Medical also announced plans to establish the HRC Medical Foundation as a vehicle to fund ongoing research and education in the arena of hormone replacement therapy. Through the HRC Medical Foundation, HRC will seek to initiate and fund independent research in the area of "personalized wellness care."
Dr. Hale will continue to practice medicine in his East Tennessee practice and increase his dedication to charitable work. Dr. Hale has been responsible for building a school in the African country of Benin where 300 students now have access to a high quality education. This has been a 15-year passion for Dr Hale.
"The solid growth of HRC Medical means it is time for me to turn over the reins to the next generation so that our ongoing leadership and commitment to the highest standards of care can continue now and into the future," Dr. Hale said. "There are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. HRC Medical will be in good hands with the scores of highly capable doctors and staff that deliver outstanding care as shown by the unprecedented volume of stories noted in our website."