WRAL Investigates

State officials want hormone treatment chain to close NC offices

Posted March 15, 2012
Updated March 20, 2012

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— State officials have sent warning letters to a national chain of medical offices that offer hormone replacement therapy, recommending that it close its North Carolina operations because it doesn't have a license to practice in the state.

HRC Medical operates 37 Hormone Replacement Centers in 21 states, including offices in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte. The company promises its treatments can provide relief for issues like fatigue, sexual dysfunction and depression.

Dr. Dan Hale, HRC's founder, resigned unexpectedly last week, just as Tennessee officials began targeting the chain, questioning the quality of care patients receive.

The North Carolina Medical Board rejected Hale's application for a medical license in December, determining that he had multiple felony convictions in the mid-1990s for racketeering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and had lied on his application.

The medical board has turned its findings over to the Wake County District Attorney's Office to determine if any criminal charges are warranted.

On Tuesday, the board suspended the license of Dr. Clarence Washington, who oversaw HRC's Raleigh office, for 12 months – only three months of it is active – determining that he was only a "figurehead" who operated under Hale's direction and allowed nurses to handle hormone treatments without proper oversight.

HRC Medical Center sign Hormone therapy centers under fire in NC

Last week, the board revoked HRC's registration in North Carolina, and the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office recommended that the company "cease offering any services" until officials could determine if it was operating in the state without a license.

HRC spokeswoman Susan Keel said the company's North Carolina offices have "voluntarily suspended accepting new patients for a few days" while attorneys work through the situation.

"We are working closely with representatives of the North Carolina Medical Board to ensure that their concerns are addressed," Keel said in a statement.

HRC offices continue to see existing patients, however.

As she left HRC's office on Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh, patient Pat Byrd said she had no clue about the company's problems.

"I'm kind of worried, but I know (the treatments are) helping me," Byrd said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • sanssouci Mar 30, 2012

    A lot has been said, but that does not erase the fact that HRC is crook. It would not be long before they will be shut down. A friend is trying to get a refund because she can not go on with the program since she has been bleeding and they would not do anything at all. My friend is getting a lawyer and will file the complaints with the state. Be warned of this company, they intentionally not disclose everything so they can get people to sign up. Check other doctors who also do BHRT. No wonder they are being investigated and let's jut see what will happen after my friend filed her case.

  • kim27 Mar 16, 2012

    Best thing I have done, have been going for two years and my triglycerides.cholesterol and blood pressure have dropped scientifically and I sleep much better. I will continue treatments what ever it takes, thanks HRC!

  • kim27 Mar 16, 2012

    I have been a patient at HRC for two years. I have never had any complaints with my treatment. It has helped me a great deal. The problem is general doctors and pharmacutical companies are being cut out on the money and they don't like it. This is something I do for my health and is paid for out of my pocket, not by insurance companies or the government so they need to leave it alone.

  • kpapa777 Mar 16, 2012

    I have been going there for almost 2 years now and yes it does work and it makes a big differce in my life. I have no fear about seeing them and getting my next treatment. Any of you women out there who are tried of not knowing why you feel like you do or like me also have severe migraines you need to go here and have your hormone levels checked. I would love for my insurance to pay part of the expense but they don't and that is the only thing I dislike about going to HRC; it's not what they do that I dislike. They are the best at their job and great at it too. I have never felt unsave going there; not once has my treatment not help my feelings or my migraines. Everyone is intitled to an opionion, and mine is their treatment is better then any other doctor here in North Carolina I have seen in the last 13 years for the same problems. I just got tried of the doctors saying there's nothing else we can do Sorry. So I started looking for other help besides all the medicines they ha

  • bubbaloo32 Mar 16, 2012

    NCNANA, we are going no where! Thanks to all the patients for stepping up here and getting the truth out there!!! We LOVE our patients. As for me, after 3 months of treatment I was able to terminate my 2 anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and I had been on them for over 20 years. Can't beat that!

  • wonbyhisgrace Mar 16, 2012

    Reasoning through the news report, HRC Medical practices within the scope of specialty, while patients continue general health treatment from their general practitioners, endocrinologists, and ob-gyn's. With 0ver 30,000 patients in 21 states and a 97 % patient satisfaction rate, there are bound to be a few who are not happy. What are the satisfaction rates of say, Rex Hospital, Duke, or Wake Med? What are the satisfaction rates of any medical practice?

  • wonbyhisgrace Mar 16, 2012

    Reasoning through the news report, Dr. Hale announced a planned RETIREMENT and is doing administrative research work in the field of Hormones and their effect on health and disease prevention. What's not reported is how much the general population suffers from Depression, Osteoporosis, Fibromyalgia, Severe Migraines, Chronic Pain, and decreased quality of life. Bio-natural Hormone Replacement is helping to diminish these symptoms, conditions to improve quality of life. It has saved marriages, jobs, and lives. These are conditions largely unaffected by traditional medical treatment, and sometimes callously dismissed or ignored by the medical establishment. So the result is that the general population suffers tremendously. This is the very reason HRC Medical holds a documented 97% patient satisfaction rate. That's evident in the posts here from actual patients. The medical staff are qualified, and credentialed in NC to provide this therapy.

  • unc85tarheel922 Mar 16, 2012

    I have been a patient at HRC for several months. I am starting to feel better after nothing else has worked. I do not want this practice to go away. One comment was made about the price of the treatment is probably excessive. It is not for the benefit you receive. As long as this office is open, I will go because I believe in the treatment.

  • wonbyhisgrace Mar 16, 2012

    Ok, let's reason through this news report. 1.Is it true that the doctor mentioned in the report is working in name only? NO, Dr. Washington no longer works for or is associated with HRC Medical in any way. He was terminated in July of '11. The Dr. the patients currently see and are treated under is a fully licensed doctor in the state of NC. Has been for over 20 yrs. He provides the oversight in the treatment of the patients, not Dr. Hale, or nurses. Dr. Hale is one of the founding physicians who is fully licensed in his state, and very qualified to provide care. He does a great deal of charitable work, including helping to build a hospital in a remote village of Africa where there was no medical access for the natives. The report seems to be slanderously skewed and UNbalanced as is most 'news' and therefore, unreliable. 2. Is HRC closed, restricted from operations? Again, NO! It is open for business seeing patients and prospective patients. It is in full compliance.

  • misterprecedent Mar 16, 2012

    I am a patient at the Raleigh HRC Medical office, and it has made a huge difference in my health and quality of life. The NATURAL treatment they provide is NOT available via regular physicians, who prescribe only SYNTHETIC hormones. I was not allowed to receive any treatment at HRC until AFTER I saw the (licensed) doctor, and the nurses do a great job. It costs LESS than FAKE hormones, and the price includes ALL office visits and medications, plus regular blood tests performed by an independent lab - for an ENTIRE YEAR. I've been able to eliminate doctor visits and medications for several other health problems since starting HRC, because the natural hormones are now FIXING the underlying PROBLEM, which was a hormone imbalance, as opposed to MASKING SYMPTOMS, which is what other doctors have always done. If you FOLLOW THE MONEY, it leads to insurance companies, makers of synthetic drugs, and doctors who prescribe temporary bandaids instead of figuring out what the REAL problem is.