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AG Cooper stops questionable health care training program

Release date: 8/27/2013

Students in Greensboro and Raleigh lost money to unlicensed school

Raleigh:  A for-profit educational company that charged students hundreds of dollars for health care courses even after losing its license has been ordered to stop offering classes, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.

“Students seeking to improve their skills and launch new careers instead found themselves out several hundred dollars with little or nothing to show for it,” Cooper said.  “Let my office know if you see companies trying to take advantage of job-seekers so we can take action.”

On Monday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard S. Manning granted Cooper’s request for an order temporarily barring Thomas Healthcare Institute, Inc. and its owners, Joseph and Levette Blount, from advertising or offering any educational products or services in North Carolina while the case moves forward.  Cooper is seeking a permanent ban on the company’s deceptive practices and refunds for students.

According to Cooper’s complaint, the North Carolina Board of Community Colleges revoked Thomas Healthcare Institute’s license to teach vocational classes on February 6, 2013 for failure to meet required instructional and financial standards.  Even without the required license, Thomas Healthcare Institute continued to advertise and offer vocational and exam preparation courses in Greensboro and Raleigh.

According to an affidavit filed by a former instructor, in early 2013 Thomas Healthcare Institute moved its Greensboro location from a rented room at Moses Cone Hospital to an Econo Lodge along Interstate 40 near Burlington.  In her affidavit, the instructor who taught phlebotomy and EKG courses called the hotel room dusty and unsuitable for medical training, and said that students were upset about commuting to Burlington after paying hundreds of dollars for a course they believed would be taught in Greensboro.  When she confronted the owner, he threatened to replace her.  Soon after, the instructor learned that Thomas Healthcare Institute was operating without a license and resigned from the company.

Also included in Cooper’s court filing, a student from the Raleigh area paid Thomas Healthcare Institute $450 for a study group that it claimed would fulfill nurse aid prerequisite requirements for Wake Tech Community College.  When she showed up for the course, she learned that it was cancelled but Thomas Healthcare Institute failed to provide her a refund.

“Always check out a trade school or vocational program thoroughly before you pay any money to enroll,” said Cooper. “Also, remember that your local community college may offer the training you need at a fraction of the cost.”

The North Carolina Community College System regulates private business, correspondence, trade and technical schools.  To check out a school or get information about enrolling in a local community college, visit www.nccommunitycolleges.edu.

To check out a company or file a complaint against one, consumers can call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.  Consumers can also file a consumer complaint and get tips online at www.ncdoj.gov.



Media contacts: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413