House panel investigates One Medical for allegedly allowing customers to cut Covid vaccine line

Amir dan rubin

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | fake images

A Congressional committee overseeing the Covid-19 crisis has opened an investigation into the janitor at healthcare provider One Medical over reports that he administered vaccines to family and friends of executives and wealthy clients who were not yet eligible in their states. .

Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter Monday to One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin seeking documents on its vaccine allocation practices.

Because the supply of Covid-19 vaccines remains in short supply, state health departments have been rationing doses to priority groups of people, mostly front-line healthcare workers, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions that affect them. put you at greater risk. In the letter, Clyburn alleged that San Francisco-based One Medical “has repeatedly and intentionally ignored vaccine eligibility requirements in various cities and states over the past two months.”

One Medical, which has a market capitalization of approximately $ 6.4 billion, provides VIP healthcare services to its clients in exchange for a $ 199 annual fee. The company, which went public last year under the name 1Life Healthcare operates in nine states and the District of Columbia, according to its site.

“Despite being warned that the company’s lax oversight of vaccine eligibility rules was allowing ineligible patients to jump the line, One Medical reportedly failed to properly implement an effective protocol to verify the eligibility and instructed staff not to check for eligibility, “Clyburn wrote.

“I am deeply concerned that the refusal of medical providers to adhere to vaccination prioritization guidelines and the intentional diversion of doses to individuals in lower priority groups could cost more American lives and delay or even derail containment of the virus throughout the country, “Clyburn wrote.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Representatives for One Medical did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Shares of One Medical fell more than 1% in morning trading on Tuesday.

The Congressional investigation comes after NPR obtained internal company communications last week that showed it routinely allowed wealthy customers and people with connections to company leaders to cut the line for the vaccine. In some of the cities in which One Medical operates, the company has been assigned thousands of doses of the rare vaccines, NPR reported.

Complaints about the company have prompted regulators, including the Washington State Department of Health, to halt distribution of the vaccines to One Medical, NPR found.

“These reports raise concerns that the company may be exploiting the federally funded vaccine launch to increase membership fees and generate fees, regardless of whether potential fee-paying members are actually eligible for vaccination,” Clyburn wrote. in the letter to the company.

NPR reported that some healthcare providers urged One Medical to change its practice.

“Why are young patients with no health problems, on a trial membership … allowed to reserve and receive a covid vaccine while health workers are on the waiting list?” a medical professional asked in January, according to internal communications obtained by NPR. “I just saw two quotes for that.”

In response to similar questions, employees were told not to prohibit patients from receiving the vaccine.

“If this person sees themselves on a level that is being vaccinated, they can attest to that and make an appointment,” Spencer Blackman, the company’s director of clinical education, said in a note to a physician, according to NPR. “You can’t make the decision if someone ‘gets’ [a] vaccine or not. “


Source link