- Primary care network One Medical pushed back on allegations it gave the coronavirus vaccine to ineligible patients along with the release of fourth-quarter and full-year financial results late last week, beating Wall Street expectations with strong topline and membership growth.
- Numerous reports, including one from NPR published Wednesday, found the San Francisco-based company had allowed friends and family of company leadership, along with younger, healthier individuals, to receive the shot across numerous locations in several states.
- "We strongly refute these gross mischaracterizations," One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin said on a call with investors Thursday. "Any assertions that we broadly and knowingly disregard eligibility guidelines are not true and in contradiction to our actual approach."
Different states and counties have varying strategies for vaccine distribution. The question of who should get immunized first is an ethical morass, with some public experts arguing individuals with high-risk chronic conditions should receive the shot first, others believing the elderly should be prioritized and some contending just getting the vaccine into ready-and-willing arms is the best bet to slowing viral spread.
However, One Medical's distribution strategy eschewed public health guidelines, with staff across several states raising the alarm in internal communications obtained by NPR over lax oversight in allocating the vaccine appropriately, with healthy people and those with ties to company leadership allegedly jumping the queue.
Following the reports, Washington state halted vaccine distribution to the provider, as did five Bay Area counties, while the San Francisco Department of Public Health sent a letter directing One Medical to return 1,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
On the Thursday call, One Medical management said it complied with all public health guidelines.
"We've registered as a vaccine provider with more than 30 jurisdictions, and we're navigating across all the guidelines that as you may know are unique and evolving to each jurisdiction," Dan Rubin said. "In terms of eligibility checking, we have numerous checkpoints in place, including online, at the time of appointment booking, prior to appointment via a schedule scanning process that we do and in-person verification at the point of care."
"However, it is still possible that some people either misrepresented themselves, abused our trust or booked outside the specific eligibility criteria for their county," Dan Rubin said.
Customers of the high-end primary care provider pay a $199 annual fee for concierge healthcare, including online access to appointment scheduling, telehealth visits and more.
Like many other tech- and consumer-focused companies, One Medical has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic. One Medical reported revenue of $380.2 million in 2020, up 38% from 2019. About a third of that was brought in during the fourth quarter. By the end of 2020, the network had 549,000 members, up from just 422,000 a year prior.
One Medical is not yet profitable, reporting a net loss of $8.1 million and $89.4 million in the fourth quarter and full year, respectively.
The company went public in January last year, surging to a $2.7 billion market cap on its first day of trading and raising $245 million for its growth initiatives. In 2020, One Medical expanded into numerous new markets, including Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; and Orange County, California.
By the end of the first quarter, One Medical expects membership to grow to between 590,000 and 600,000, and revenue to reach up to $118 million. For the full year, the primary care chain expects net revenue in the range of $465 million to $485 million, and a user base of at least 660,000 members.
Still, that "muted" outlook implies a deceleration in topline growth, partially due to an expected drop-off in COVID-19 testing revenues, among other headwinds, SVB Leerink analyst Stephanie Davis wrote in a note on the results.
One Medical expects to launch in new markets this year, including Houston; Milwaukee; Columbus, Ohio; and Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina. The company, which currently operates 107 locations, plans to open between 30 and 40 new offices in new and current geographies this year.