Citing ‘significant danger to public health,’ Utah regulators shut down pain clinic

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Suffering from debilitating foot pain, several Utahans have trusted a Taylorsville clinic to help them feel better.

Utahns like Larry Perkins, who battled neuropathy for three decades.

Peripheral neuropathy overtook her life. Perkins said he couldn’t walk more than a few miles without losing feeling in his feet. The uncomfortable numbness constantly nags at him.

In April 2022, Perkins heard a radio advertisement offering an alternative treatment for neuropathy.

“I heard about this place called True Health,” Perkins recalls, “and the miracle they have of getting rid of it, that you’ll never have neuropathy again, and I trusted them.”

Intrigued, he set up a consultation with the clinic, True Health SLC.

Larry Perkins

True Health is owned by Jade Malay and Shamis Tate. Both are licensed as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in Utah. They operated clinics in Taylorsville and St. George.

Larry said True Health employees informed him that he needed to bring his wife with him to the appointment. Once there, Perkins said an employee showed him a thermal image of his lower legs and warned him that his condition was deteriorating.

“I was so desperate, you know, I wanted my independence. I was afraid I couldn’t drive anymore, so we did it,” Perkins said.

He signed a contract with True Health, and because they didn’t take out insurance, he paid $12,500 for items listed on the treatment plan as “VCI Injections”, “Pulsewave”, a ” Neurogenic Red Light Pad” and “Nutrition Program: Cleansing + Neurogenic Supplement.”

Perkins told KSL investigators he attended all scheduled appointments and completed the home regimen of diet, exercise and use of “nerve plate”.

Perkins said he saw no improvement after the treatments ended.

He said he tried to connect with True Health to book maintenance appointments, but instead the office was closed.

Perkins thought he had been scammed.

“I couldn’t believe it,” exclaimed Perkins. “It was like, how could I have fallen for this?”

“Immediate and significant danger to public health”

Perkins wasn’t True Health’s only dissatisfied customer.

The Utah Division of Occupational and Occupational Licensing got involved after hearing “more than a dozen” patients tell stories like Perkins’.

In a rare move for the agency, the DOPL sent an undercover agent to True Health earlier this year, posing as a suffering patient. The report released by the DOPL following this investigation stated that the officer had received the same thermal scan as Perkins and that he had been informed that his result was “very poor and that he had discussed treatment options for reverse the neuropathy”.

This officer actually didn’t have neuropathy.

The report also states that the people who performed the tests and diagnoses did not have “any kind of Utah medical license.” One such unlicensed employee told the officer “he would oversee [the agent’s] care and write prescriptions for therapies and injections.

Following the secret investigation, the DOPL called True Health’s diagnostic methods “invalid and part of a scheme to defraud patients.”

“Our expert reviewed the cases and how thermal imaging was used for these neuropathy diagnoses,” explained DOPL director Mark Steinagel. “It was misused in these cases.”

The DOPL held an emergency hearing in June and issued an emergency order, restricting Malay and Tate’s nursing licenses.

“The emergency order allows us to take an action that stops the behavior while we continue our investigation,” Steinagel said.

Incorrect diagnoses and unlicensed personnel are just some of the allegations against True Health.

The 18-page order detailed how patients were being “prescribed ineffective treatments” and “billed exorbitant sums”.

Patients said they felt pressured – with the thermal imaging scans and warnings that postponing treatment could eventually leave them unable to walk or even lose their feet.

One of these patients included in the report was shown thermal images of her feet, then the employee told her that “her feet had severe symptoms, comparable to a stage 3.5 of cancer progression , and that the next step could be amputation”. Fearful, she signed a treatment contract.

The DOPL expert noted in the report that amputation is only necessary in cases of neuropathy “when injury due to unnoticed injury to the foot goes untreated, which is very rare.”

The report called these scare tactics a “fraudulent” model of treatment and that “most True Health patients appear to be older and more likely to fear these purported health risks.”

Additionally, the DOPL called True Health’s treatments “expensive,” “grossly overpriced,” and accused True Health’s owners of “misleading, deceptive, and fraudulent” financial practices.

True Health did not guarantee insurance coverage for their procedures, citing in their patient contract “insurance, including Medicare, will not pay for this uncovered service.”

Deceptive Practices in Other States

KSL investigators found True Health owner Malay was no stranger to discipline from regulators.

Malay is a licensed chiropractor in Texas, where DOPL said she resides most of the time. Texas regulators have twice fined her for false advertising.

In 2013, the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners found that she advertised “satisfaction guaranteed” on a laser fat removal treatment. Malay’s patient reported that she was made to sign a statement which included the phrase “no warranty is implied or implied that desired results will be achieved”.

The patient asked for a refund, “because she considered the treatments unnecessary”.

Council fined Malay $1,500.

Five years later, the same council discovered that Malay had advertised herself in a newspaper as “Dr. Jade Malay” regarding the treatment and reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Because Malay did not identify herself as a chiropractor and advertised services “out of reach” of a licensed chiropractor, she was fined $2,000.

Malay’s chiropractor license in Texas is still active.

In December 2021, the federal government banned Malaysian-Texas firm Apex Physical Medicine from billing Medicare for the next 10 years, saying it had submitted “false claims” to the insurance company.

Back in Utah, Steinagel said their investigation is continuing.

“We visited other states, where there may be some overlap,” he said.

Steinagel would not comment when asked if criminal charges could be brought against Malay or Tate in Utah. He said any additional True Health patients who feel victimized are urged to contact investigators.

Patients can reach DOPL at dopl.utah.gov or 801-530-6628.

True Health did not respond

KSL investigators visited the offices of True Health in August. We found the office locked, with a sign on the door saying “THIS OFFICE IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED!” A phone number has been listed for an alternate “location” for True Health patients.

KSL found locked doors at the True Health office in Taylorsville.

We called the number on the panel and contacted integrated pain specialists. The person who answered the phone told us that their owners know Malay and are trying to help existing True Health patients.

We attempted to reach Malay and Tate through company emails and a personal email address. Instead, we heard from a Florida-based crisis PR firm, which said it was “working to get something done,” presumably a response from True Health.

KSL received no further response by the publication deadline, despite multiple additional attempts to contact.

True Health’s patient contract lists a section titled “no guarantees”, stating “although we have a high success rate, each individual responds to care differently and no guarantee is given as to the outcome of care in any specific case. …”

Clients were also asked to initial a statement saying, “I understand that a positive outcome may not be achievable, and no guarantees or assurances have been given to me regarding the outcome of the treatment or procedure.”

Have you experienced something that you think just isn’t right? KSL investigators want to help. Submit your tip to [email protected] or 385-707-6153 so we can work for you.

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