L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Porn industry healthcare clinic is back in business under new ownership

February 7, 2011 |  6:37 pm

AIM
A San Fernando Valley-based healthcare clinic that caters to the porn industry reopened late last week, nearly two months after being shut down by county public health officials and denied a state license to operate.

The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation clinic, also known as AIM, was sold and reopened as AIM Medical Associates P.C., part of a doctor’s office regulated by the state medical board, according to state officials.

“We're up and running and here to stay!” said AIM founder Sharon Mitchell in a statement posted Thursday on the group’s website. Mitchell said the office had been “relieved from pointless harassment that came with oversight from the county health department.”

“AIM plans to provide more services, both on the Internet and in house, and continue its relationships with current clients while welcoming new ones,” Mitchell wrote.

News that the clinic would reopen first surfaced on Twitter on Jan. 20.

AIM attorney Jeffrey J. Douglas said Monday that clinic officials elected to sell to a for-profit  medical group rather than litigate the closure, which he called "untimely and inappropriate."

“AIM will now be overseen exclusively by the state and no longer under the oversight of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department," Douglas said. "Since that relationship has become an adversarial one, not due to the conduct of AIM, that is quite a relief.”

David Henninger, another attorney for the clinic, notified the California Department of Public Health in a Feb. 2 letter that the Sherman Oaks clinic had been sold that day “to a medical corporation owned by one or more physicians.”

The state medical board issued a permit to AIM Medical Associates P.C. and Dr. Basil Colin Hamblin on Jan. 14, according to Debbie Nelson, a spokeswoman for the board.

Hamblin, who specializes in family practice and geriatrics according to medical board records, works at West Marin Medical Center in Point Reyes Station but was out of the office Monday and did not return previous phone calls. Douglas said he has been the clinic's medical director for some time.

The AIM clinic, which opened in 1998, was shut down Dec. 9, two days after state health officials denied its application to operate as a community clinic based on what regulators called “business-related issues.”

AIM officials had applied for the license after they were notified by the county Department of Public Health in May that as a nonprofit, they could not operate under an affiliated physician's license.

They initially called the closure a “temporary situation” in a statement on their website and said they were “rapidly moving forward” toward completing their license application.

The clinic's closure came days after HIV-positive porn performer Derrick Burts, who worked in both gay and straight productions, spoke out for the first time about his diagnosis in October. Burts, 24, criticized AIM for what he claimed was poor follow-up care and joined Los Angeles-based nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation in calling for mandatory condom use in both gay and straight shoots.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation has also lobbied Los Angeles city and county officials to issue film permits only to adult productions that use condoms. Last week, Los Angeles City Council members ordered the city attorney to explore the possibility and report back in 45 days.

RELATED:

Derrick Burts: "How many more times does this have to happen?"

HIV-positive porn actor was told: 'You're not going to make any money if you wear a condom'

Porn performer who tested positive speaks for the first time

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Pedestrians are reflected in the front door of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks after it was shut down in December by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials. The clinic reopened last week. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Comments 

Advertisement










Video