VAN NUYS, Calif.—In a situation that seems drawn directly from a Franz Kafka novel, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has tried to stop the Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Healthcare Foundation from serving the adult performer community all because AIM put the wrong name for the clinic on its operating permit application—and application that the California Department of Public Health gave them 60 days from November 30 to correct and resubmit!
As reported earlier today on AVN.com, state health officials told AIM last June that it would be required to submit an application for an operating permit in order to be a "community clinic" serving the adult community for STD testing, and AIM in fact did so several weeks ago. However, although the official name on AIM's lease is "The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation," AIM submitted its application as "AIM Medical Testing Center," and in a letter dated November 30, Travis Green of the state's Licensing & Certification Program kicked the application back to AIM, saying "I found that the package is incomplete and contains information that is unclear and/or inconsistent. To assist you in completing this package, I am providing a detailed outline of the information and/or clarification necessary to proceed with the application review process."
And what information was unclear or inconsistent? Under the heading, "Office Lease," the letter reads, "Please initial and date next to each line-through of 'AIM Medical Testing Center' and replaced [sic] with 'The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation.'"
That's it! All the state wants is for AIM's application to reflect the name of the clinic that's on the property lease rather than the name by which everyone in the adult industry knows the clinic. No other corrections are necessary.
But even though the letter from the state clearly states, "Please note that you will be allowed sixty (60) days from the date of this correction letter to submit the requested information," nonetheless, the L.A. County Health Department served AIM with a cease-and-desist letter requiring AIM to stop collection blood samples from its clients—an action that apparently was taken at the instigation of AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein. (Don't the state and county health officials talk to each other?)
"Apparently, Weinstein will stop at nothing, and we are in the way, we are sincerely in his way of his agenda, whatever that may be; it seems to change from time to time," said AIM owner Dr. Sharon Mitchell. "And now, we've got the county after us, because also, we have been in their way consistently for some time, and their focus has also been to close us down, which is something that I certainly have always said, and today, here we sit... They [the state] gave us a 60-day extension from November 30; we have that letter from the county, and that's supposedly why they closed us down, because they say we are not meeting the criteria and that they've given us enough time for us to get all the information for our license and that's it."
It's unclear just how closely AHF and Weinstein have worked with county health officials—notably, county health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding—but in a press release today accompanying the announcement of an AHF news conference, Weinstein declared, "We are calling on Los Angeles County health officials to immediately shut down AIM's clinic. No other businesses—restaurants with failing grades, for example—have the right or the chutzpah to defy County Health officials by remaining open and potentially endangering the public's health. LA County officials should get out to Sherman Oaks and shut AIM down now!"
Apparently, according to Weinstein, performers' health is endangered because AIM put the wrong name on an application!
"You have to understand, the rules for AIM are different than for everyone else," Mitchell stated. "Nothing that applies to any other clinic, apparently, in the state of California, and most particularly in the county of Los Angeles, applies to AIM. AIM's rules are different, and those rules get to be changed at a whim and at a moment's notice, and it's like we don't know what rules to follow, because we have, up until this point, followed everything, but ever since Weinstein's been in the picture, the heat's been turned up on whatever this agenda is, whether it's a condom law or to close down AIM or to get our records—all of this."
But despite the county's cease-and-desist order, AIM is still operating. However, performers who need their blood drawn and urine sample taken will have to do so at one of AIM's "draw stations" which are located all over the city of Los Angeles, in several other cities around the state, and with contractors in all other states of the union. Performers can find the locations of these draw stations either by calling AIM, which will be open tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, or they may go online to AIM's website, which lists all the addresses there.
"People can pay for the tests online, and pick up their tests at AIM, just like they always do," said AIM general manager Jennifer Miller. "It's exactly like coming in here and the price is exactly the same, and it's the same turn-around time."
"On this application, the county is making us in particular dot all our i's and cross all our t's, and if that's what they ask for, that's fine," Mitchell explained. "It's just that we knew it was going to take us some time to get appropriated, because our landlords are in and out of town quite a bit, and we knew it was going to take a while to get a reprint of our lease from them, and this is why they closed us down, but you've got to see how this looks. You've got this kid [Derrick Burts aka Cameron Reid aka Derek Chambers] saying that we're ineffective and not good, and this gets piled onto all the other stuff that L.A. Times has been more than happy to print."
Bottom line: AIM is open; they just can't draw blood at their facility, so they've arranged for others to do it—and the county, apparently at the urging of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has overstepped its powers in attempting to close the clinic down—because AIM wrote the wrong name down on its application!