Amazon employees are told they can get health care on call
Amazon has attracted multiple companies that are interested in using its telehealth service, known as Amazon Care, company executive Babak Parviz said Wednesday.
“We’ve had quite a bit of interest from other companies in using this service,” Parviz, a vice president working on Amazon Care, said at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health virtual event. Parviz added that Amazon plans to announce which companies have signed on to use the service later this summer.
Shares of Teladoc Health, a major telemedicine provider, slid 1.6% following the news.
Amazon Care launched in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in and around the company’s Seattle headquarters. The service provides virtual urgent care visits, as well as free telehealth consults and in-home visits for a fee from nurses for testing and vaccinations.
Amazon announced in March that it would expand the virtual care part of the program nationally for its employees and other companies starting this summer. To start, the added in-person services will only be offered in Washington state and metro areas including Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
The company is working to make the full Amazon Care service available to other geographies, “as fast as we can,” Parviz said. Amazon is eyeing bringing the service to rural areas in the future, he added.
To reach that scale, Amazon will have to hire thousands of employees, Parviz said.
Amazon has long set its sights on disrupting the health-care industry. In addition to Amazon Care, the company last fall launched Amazon Pharmacy, an online prescription fulfillment service, which built on its acquisition of PillPack in 2018. Last year, Amazon partnered with employee health provider Crossover Health to launch neighborhood health clinics for warehouse workers and their families in a handful of cities.
Amazon also helped launch a joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan that was designed to improve employer health programs. Called Haven, the venture disbanded in early 2021, in a sign of how difficult it may be to tackle challenges in American health care.
— CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this report.