Sep 25, 2019

Amazon's on-site medical care for employees isn't anything new

The Amazon logo. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Amazon is working with a physician practice in Seattle to provide virtual care as well as in-person care at home or the office for certain local employees, CNBC reports.

Between the lines: If this concept sounds familiar, it is. On-site clinics run by employers have been around for decades. Walmart also operates its own clinics

  • Amazon is pretty much doing that, except it's adding a telemedicine app and home-delivered medications.
  • A noteworthy exclusion: People who have Kaiser Permanente insurance through Amazon are not eligible for this.

The bottom line: Amazon's experiment is small, targets a healthier working-age population, and borrows existing ideas (telemedicine and employer-managed clinics) that have had negligible effects on the health care system. This isn't transformational.

  • And if Amazon employees have a heart attack, they will still need to go to a hospital — where care is significantly more expensive than video visits or text chats, and where quality and billing practices are all over the place.

Go deeper: Health care execs homing in on Amazon

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