Amazon wants to open primary care clinics for employees, CNBC reports

Amazon is considering opening primary care clinics for employees at its Seattle headquarters, according to two unnamed sources, CNBC's Christina Farr reported Thursday.

Another step into health care

According to Farr, Amazon plans on hiring a small group of primary care physicians to run a pilot clinic for a "select group of employees" before eventually expanding access to more workers early next year. The company began hiring primary care experts last year, including Christine Henningsgaard, the former VP of operations at One Medical, and Martin Levine from Iora Health.

Originally, Amazon considered outsourcing its clinics and brought in vendors to pitch their services, Farr reports. However, Amazon decided to develop the clinics in house instead, Farr reports.

The move comes after Amazon in January announced a partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to improve the quality of care and lower health care costs for its employees.

Potential implications

Michael Yang, a health investor at Comcast Ventures, suggested that Amazon could be using these local clinics as a pilot program before expanding access to them beyond its employee base—a strategy Amazon has used in the past.

According to Yang, an important question about these clinics is whether they'll be available to Amazon's warehouse workers as well as its engineers and salespeople. "Dropping a package on your foot or throwing out your back after manual labor is a very different set of issues from the employee working at headquarters," he said (Jones Sanborn, Healthcare IT News, 8/9; Farr, CNBC, 8/9; Day, Seattle Times, 8/9).

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