Amazon Care Plans Big U.S. Virtual And In-Person Health Services Expansion

Amazon Care is expanding in-person healthcare services to more than 20 new cities in 2022 as the company joins big investments made by retail rivals Walgreens and CVS Health in the outpatient healthcare business.

“Amazon Care’s virtual health services are now available nationwide—and in-person services will be rolled out in more than 20 new cities this year,” the company said Tuesday. “The expansion comes as we continue to invest in growing our clinical care team and our in-person care services to bring convenient, quality care to more customers across the U.S.”

Amazon said the rollout of new virtual services that include nurse home visits will be “throughout 2022” and are already available in Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va. “In 2022, we plan to bring in-person care services to more than 20 additional cities—including major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, and New York City—so customers can access care where and when they need it most,” the company said.

The move comes as Walgreens is already spending another $5.2 billion on VillageMD, an owner of doctor practices and developer of physician-staffed clinics, while CVS in December said it will be acquiring more physician practices as it expands its diversified strategy to grow its primary care business. Walmart, too, has been expanding healthcare services in certain U.S. markets.

Amazon didn’t say how much it was spending on the latest expansion of healthcare services, which were first offered three years ago in markets where the company tends to have large number of employees.

Amazon Care launched in 2019 largely as a service for the company’s Seattle employees with an expansion to Washington state employees in 2020. The expansion continued in 2021 to other markets in the U.S.

Amazon Care services include access to virtual clinicians 7 days a week with Amazon Care’s in-person care service having the ability to bring healthcare into the home. “When in-person care is needed, a nurse is dispatched to the patient’s home,” the company says.

Amazon Care said new customers for the virtual and in-person services this year include employer clients Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and Whole Foods Market, which Amazon owns. Amazon said the employers were drawn to “Amazon Care’s comprehensive solution; on-demand access to high-quality clinicians through Care Medical, Amazon Care’s clinical services provider; and a seamless patient experience.”

“Patients are tired of a health care system that doesn’t put them first,” Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care said.

Amazon Care said it provides immediate access to a wide range of urgent and primary care services that include testing for Covid-19 and the seasonal flu, “vaccinations, treatment of illnesses and injuries, preventive care, sexual health, and prescription requests and refills.”

“When issues can’t be resolved over video, Amazon Care will dispatch a nurse practitioner to a patient’s home for additional care where in-person care is available, ranging from routine blood draws to listening to a patient’s lungs,” the company said in Tuesday’s announcement.

“Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time,” Helton said Tuesday. “We’ve brought our on-demand urgent and primary care services to patients nationwide. As we grow the service, we’ll continue to work with our customers to address their needs.”

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