Sharon Mitchell Voices Concerns About Talent Testing Service

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Sharon Mitchell of AIM Healthcare has raised questions about the legality and ethics of new industry health screening facility Talent Testing Service.

"I've been aware of these guys for a long time," Dr. Mitchell told AVN. "They used to do all of our blood draws in Florida, and send us the blood sample, so we would run them through our lab. And then one day they just decided to arbitrarily steal all of our patients. At that time, there were about two or three hundred of them in Florida, and they just starting testing [them] themselves ... and little by little, they stole our clients, then they tried to duplicate our website and all of our protocols. And then they even tried to use some of our laboratory draw stations, and our lab dropped them, because they don't have a medical director. And you must have a medical director to have phlebotomists and doctors and nurses and things work under."

Mitchell continued: "Are their confidential releases and things that are on the web, are they actually legal to be dispensing all that information without having certified HIV counselors? Remember, the Office of AIDS [Programs and] Policy states that if you're an HIV testing center, you must have the ability to pre- and post-counsel clients.

"The fact that they're not counseling and not medicating anyone puts AIM in the position of cleaning up their mess," Mitchell said. "Because they find out they're positive, where are they going to go? They come run over to AIM. We don't have the positive test on them ... we would never accept nor would we tell any of the producers to accept this Talent Testing Service, because we don't know of the medical director, we don't know where [their lab] is, we don't know anything. So we're not going to say, 'Oh sure, we'll mix data.' We have to protect our clients. So we're going to get stuck cleaning up their mess of all the people that are positive, and by law, you have to report all positives — Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV — to the county health department. We don't even know if they're set up with them, if they have a relationship with them, if they do any reporting. And how can they test without medicating people and counseling them? That's just something that's not legal and not ethical."

Talent Testing Service director of operations Julio Conde responded: "We are following everything by the book. There is a medical director. We feel pretty confident that our operation will be a success, and not only that, but is being handled in the proper and correct way. And to tell you the truth, the response that we're getting here in L.A. in just three days of opening has been amazing. It's obviously something that was needed and awaited by the people in different sectors of the industry; from directors, producers and talent ... I'm getting phone calls all day, nonstop. We have done quite a few tests already, and people are quite happy. They're taking our business cards with them to pass them along to other friends and talent. So it's going really well, actually. There was obviously some sort of discontent or need for an alternative service to be here in this market, and we're presenting it.

"We're just going to provide a very efficient system and a very economical system to the industry, where everybody will benefit," Conde continued. "We're here with the best intentions ... and obviously there is money to be made, but the main goal from the get-go was to help the industry in the health side. That's our goal. If anything happens, it's the industry that is going to be hurt as a whole — it's not AIM, it’s not us, it's the entire industry. So the more, the better ... the more we do to prevent any outbreaks or anything, I think it should be seen in a welcoming manner. We're just here to help the industry in every possible way, more than anything else."

"We cannot and will not compete with bargain basement healthcare, and that's what I believe this is, " Mitchell said. "We're not going to be lowering our prices and all that kind of thing. People need to think about this before they go to save the ten bucks. I'm angered that only half the facts are there, and I hate to talk badly about someone, but our population's health is drastically at stake with this place."