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Undercover video shows ‘in-your-face’ sales tactics, ‘rushed’ experience at True Health clinic

Jul 3, 2023, 10:58 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — State regulators shuttered neuropathy treatment clinic True Health in June 2022, citing “significant danger to the public.”

The emergency order temporarily restricted the nursing licenses of the clinic’s two owners — Shamis Tate and Jade Malay — pending further investigation.

The order accused True Health’s owners of prescribing “ineffective treatments” and charging “exorbitant sums.”

A year later, Tate finally came before the Utah Board of Nursing to determine whether she would formally lose her license and face other penalties. Malay’s licensing hearing is scheduled for later this year.

The evidentiary hearing at the Division of Professional Licensing convened for two days — June 21 and 22. The formal proceedings looked more like a court hearing, with arguments by the state and defense before an administrative law judge, witnesses testifying and the nursing board listening in and asking questions.

Noticeably absent from the proceedings was Tate.

“I expected she would testify,” Tate’s defense attorney, Hal Reiser, told the judge. “I asked her to testify. I sent her emails asking her to testify.”

Reiser explained to the judge that Tate had taken the advice of a criminal attorney not to testify.

Despite Tate’s absence, the judge opted to continue proceedings rather than issue a default judgment against her.

State lawyers brought forth multiple witnesses — including investigators, patients, former employees and an undercover agent — all providing testimony against Tate and practices at True Health.

Undercover video illuminates True Health operations

Following complaints to DOPL from True Health patients, the division sent in an undercover agent — who is also a registered nurse — to get an idea of what was happening at the clinics.

In testimony, the agent spoke of attending a dinner hosted at a local restaurant in March 2022, where one of True Health’s case managers shared hope of reversing neuropathy with attendees.

The agent then visited True Health’s Taylorsville clinic, where he testified he was prodded with a variety of items in a sensory test, and thermal images were taken of his hands and feet.

At one point in the undercover video, the medical assistant banged a tuning fork on her own hand before holding it up to the agent’s collarbone, then each finger and toe. The agent was asked to rate the sensation in each on a scale from one to ten, with the feeling on the collarbone as the level ten standard.

An undercover DOPL agent completes the True Health screening in March 2022.

Later testimony from a former employee shared that these ratings were input into a website that created a colored image showing sensation in the patient’s extremities.

Once the medical assistant left, the agent watched a series of YouTube video testimonials from other True Health patients.

The agent explained a case manager then came into the room and told him he had “severe neuropathy” but that it was “treatable.”

The attorney for the state showed a handwritten estimate of $20,500 for the agent’s care, which included “stem cells,” “neurogenic red light” and “spinal decompression” as treatments.

Undercover video showed no doctor or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) present to offer a diagnosis.

Allegations of high-pressure sales tactics, scripted patient interactions

That case manager was called as a witness by the state as a former employee at True Health. He was employed for several months, testifying he responded to an ad for a “medical sales position” at the company.

The case manager testified he was paid a commission “based on collections from enrollments,” which he estimated to be around “$15,000 per month.”

He claimed any treatment he referred to the client was part of a few pre-determined packages given to him by the clinic.

“There was an online training course that I went through,” he said. “There were sales scripts I had to memorize.”

The case manager denied diagnosing patients, but during his testimony, he said he was told how to interpret the images presented to clients before recommending treatment plans.

“If there was black on that image, or black in the thermal image, we were told that was neuropathy,” he testified.

During the hearing, he also stated it was only after the patient signed up for treatment that their file would be given to Tate or Malay for review. Patients would not see either during their first visit.

He claimed patients sometimes expressed feeling rushed through the sign-up process.

“I think our sales process was very in-your-face,” he asserted.

Another former employee — a licensed medical assistant — also testified that True Health employees had to stick to a process and a script.

“For it to be considered a good exam, like you did it correctly, it had to be done in under 12 minutes,” she testified.

The medical assistant claimed to see about 40 to 50 patients daily, which included new and existing patients.

When the state’s attorney asked how many patients were not diagnosed with neuropathy, she responded, “none.”

Defense claimed many happy customers

During opening arguments, Reiser defended treatments at the True Health clinics.

“No patient ever came to True Health that didn’t have a prior diagnosis for neuropathy,” Reiser stated.

He outlined his intent to call patients to the witness stand who saw improvements in their conditions.

“What you’ll hear is those patients — the 5,000 patients that came to True Health — by a large and vast majority, you’ll hear from the practitioners themselves, improved,” Reiser said.

Reiser also stated that DOPL investigators never reached out to True Health regarding complaints, instead opting to “secretly” send in an undercover agent.

Ultimately, the two-day hearing concluded without any witnesses called for the defense.

Prosecutors did not rest their case until the end of the second day, after frequent objections boiled to frustrations, with the judge calling for security at one point.

The judge ordered the hearing would proceed another day, but due to scheduling issues with the nursing board, that may not happen for months.

Following the hearing, KSL Investigators asked Reiser to extend an offer to sit down with Tate for her side of the story. We did not hear back.

Malay is scheduled to go before the nursing board in her own evidentiary hearing against her APRN license in September.

Tate and Malay owned True Health clinics in St. George, Taylorsville and Phoenix, Arizona.


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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Undercover video shows ‘in-your-face’ sales tactics, ‘rushed’ experience at True Health clinic