Under Amazon, One Medical builds out health system, employer partnerships for primary care services

Amazon's One Medical inked a major partnership with Health Transformation Alliance, expanding access to its primary care services to 67 employers and nearly 5 million employees.

HTA is a collective of large U.S. employers, and its member companies include Coca-Cola, American Express, Marriott, Boeing and Intel.

Employers are grappling with rising healthcare costs and expect health benefit expenses to climb 5.4% in 2024, according to Mercer.

HTA, on behalf of its member companies, saw an opportunity to partner with One Medical to provide access to high-quality primary care services while also addressing inefficiencies and costs in the healthcare system, according to HTA CEO Robert Andrews.

"Our members are interested in primary care for consumers that is convenient and leads to excellent referrals, when necessary, and where the provider is aligned around good health outcomes and that's how they get paid. And, of course, that is One Medical's model," Andrews said in an interview. "HTA is building a national network of these kinds of primary care providers, and One Medical is the largest in the network but not the only one. We felt it was a great match for the network."

One Medical, a tech-enabled primary care provider, was acquired by Amazon in a $3.9 billion deal back in February and offers hybrid care through its mobile app that enables 24/7 virtual care services, including on-demand video visits, provider messaging and “Treat Me Now” digital assessments for common health concerns.

The company already works with more than 8,500 companies to offer its primary care services as an employee health benefit. The company, which opened for business in 2007, operates ​more than 200​ ​primary care clinics in ​nearly ​2​0 major ​metropolitan areas, combining in-person ​and​​ virtual care services.

HTA launched in 2016 to tackle healthcare costs for employers and developed value-driven solutions in data and analytics, pharmacy, medical and consumer engagement. The organization launched its primary care solution this year, and its network includes Everside Health, First Primary Care and several other companies, Andrews said. The organization's primary care network now includes 400 brick-and-mortar clinics, with One Medical contributing the lion's share, he said.

HTA's member companies are responsible for a collective annual healthcare spend of $27 billion.

One Medical is now a part of Amazon Health, which includes Amazon Clinic and Amazon Pharmacy, and the online retailer's hefty resources played a key role in HTA's decision to partner with the primary care company, Andrews said.

"Our goal is that every one of those 5 million people [employed by member companies] would have the option of having a primary care provider under a capitated arrangement where the primary care's compensation is dependent upon the quality of the outcomes. We'd like everybody to have that option. For us to do that, we need coast-to-coast reach," Andrews told Fierce Healthcare. "About a third of our members are within five miles of a brick-and-mortar clinic or one of our primary care partners. We want to grow that. We believe that Amazon, with its creativity and resources, will help grow the One Medical part of this pretty well."

HTA also wants to tap into Amazon's laser focus on consumer service, he noted.

"To us, excellent consumer service means you get an appointment a lot faster than you otherwise would. The virtual care is very high quality and easily convenient. We would love to see them bring Amazon-like consumer assets to this business, and I believe that they will," he said.

One Medical, along with other primary care partners, will provide member companies' employees with access to convenient and personalized healthcare service, including 24/7 virtual care.

"What we're trying to build is a model that's concierge care for everybody and not just for higher income patients," Andrew said.

By leveraging the resources and expertise of both organizations, One Medical and HTA are "setting a precedent for employer-led innovation in healthcare" by establishing a value-based care and payment model, HTA executives said.

"We want to set a precedent where value-based care is the rule and not the exception. The way the partnership works is that One Medical is paid on a capitated basis, and that means that a healthy outcome for the patient is healthy for the bottom line with One Medical, and conversely, a poor outcome for the patient is a bad outcome for the bottom line. We like that alignment. That's a precedent that we are setting here that has existed in primary care. But, large employers really can't take advantage of something where they have to do 17 separate contracts with 17 separate primary care providers. With HTA, you get that all in one," Andrews said.

A JAMA study in 2020 found that One Medical's primary care model resulted in 45% lower total medical and prescription costs for participating members.    

“The current healthcare experience is complicated and costly, and we’re in a unique position to change that,” said David Kabaker, vice president of channel partnerships at One Medical, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with HTA, making it easier for more people to access One Medical’s in-person and virtual primary care services that have proven to drive down total cost of care and deliver health outcomes.” 

One Medical also has been building out its health system and employer partnerships. Just this week, One Medical announced it was collaborating with CommonSpirit Health's Virginia Mason Franciscan Health to provide the online retailer's primary care patients with access to specialty care.

The primary care provider unveiled plans to expand its primary care model to New Jersey in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, the state's largest health network. The two organizations plan to work together to coordinate patient care between primary doctors and specialty providers.

Hackensack Meridian and One Medical are planning to open multiple locations over the next several years, with the first clinic expected to open by the end of 2024.