For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein obtained a temporary restraining order against Stepping Stone Phlebotomy LLC (also known as Stepping Stone Medical), a medical training program in Statesville. The order, signed yesterday by Superior Court Judge Rebecca W. Holt, prohibits the defendant from operating in North Carolina, advertising their educational services, entering into contracts, or collecting further payments from consumers until a preliminary injunction hearing.
“Students have a right to get the value of the education they are paying for,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “A school that is unlicensed fails to provide that value – and in this case, puts customers at risk of real medical harm. I’m pleased that the court has put a stop to this school as this case continues. I will continue to fight to protect students so they can securely invest in their education and their future.”
Attorney General Stein sued Stepping Stone on June 24, alleging that the school was advertising and offering its courses without applying for or obtaining a proprietary license to operate in North Carolina. Stepping Stone offers vocational training courses to people interested in pursuing careers as phlebotomy technicians, EKG technicians, medical assistants, and medical billers and coders. North Carolina’s proprietary licensing laws are designed to ensure that students enrolled in such programs receive training that is proportionate to the amount they are paying for their education.
In its advertisements, the school has failed to disclose to potential students that it is unlicensed while touting that is nationally accredited in all 50 states, without explaining what that means. Even after being notified of its failure to be properly licensed, Stepping Stone continued to offer courses and took no steps to obtain a license. In its courses, students continue to be able to draw blood from live patients in an uninspected facility.
In addition to the temporary restraining order, Attorney General Stein is seeking other injunctive relief, civil penalties, and restitution for victims, attorneys’ fees, and other costs.
A copy of the temporary restraining order is available here.
A copy of the complaint is available here.