- Amazon continues its foray into healthcare, this time with plans to open primary care clinics at its Seattle headquarters, CNBC reports.
- According to two people knowledgeable of the internal discussions, the e-commerce giant plans to employ a small cadre of physicians as part of a pilot clinic that will launch later this year. The service will initially be limited to a select group of employees and expanded to more workers early next year, according to the report.
- The company initially considered outsourcing its clinics and looked at various vendors that provide on-site services to companies, but ultimately decided to create the clinics itself, one of the sources said.
Amazon had already taken steps toward this objective last year with the hiring of Christine Henningsgaard, a former vice president at One Medical, and Martin Levine of Iora Health, a Seattle-based primary care practice, according to CNBC.
The news comes as Amazon is working with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway on a joint venture to disrupt employee healthcare and reduce spending. Increasing medical costs are behind the companies' plan to create a new healthcare company, and with such top-shelf names behind it, it could have definite ripple effects.
The companies recently hired Atul Gawande, a New Yorker staff writer and Harvard Medical School surgery professor, to be CEO of the as-yet-unnamed company, which will be headquartered in Boston.
It’s not clear how Amazon will use the clinics. It could focus exclusively on its own employees, expanding the prototype to its second headquarters once that is established. Or it could use it as a testing ground for clinics that could be marketed to other employers.
Amazon joins other large companies that are looking for ways to enhance employee health and wellness while holding down costs.
Apple is in the process of launching its own clinics for employees. The initial plan is to roll out two primary care clinics at its Santa Clara County headquarters. The clinic group, called AC Wellness, will have primary and acute care doctors, nurse coordinators, a phlebotomist and care navigators at multiple medical centers, according to its website.