What it's like to partner with One Medical

When Amazon bought primary care company One Medical in February for nearly $4 billion, the tech giant also picked up several new health system partners.

Some of those health systems told Becker's the collaboration has helped improve access to primary care in their markets and that patient volumes ticked up after the acquisition by Amazon.

"This partnership with One Medical is a prime example of Mass General Brigham's commitment to working with world-class partners that complement our strengths," said Lynn Stofer, president of Mass General Brigham Community Physicians, part of the Somerville, Mass.-based health system. "One Medical offers a broad primary care network with tight connections to our entire team of Mass General Brigham specialists, providing outstanding services for our patients and increasing access to care at a time when demand continues to outpace supply."

One Medical, which has more than 200 clinics in nearly 30 markets, signs agreements with local health systems for specialty referral rights. It provides concierge primary care, with longer appointments and no wait times, as well as 24/7 virtual care for a yearly membership of $199. One Medical also offers corporate memberships to companies that give them to employees as a benefit.

When Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center began talks with One Medical in the late 2010s, it was interested in its virtual care capabilities, getting into direct-to-employer care, and expanding primary care in the Columbus area.

Because of the timing of the partnership's launch — the first clinic opened amid the pandemic in December 2021 — patient volume and corporate memberships have grown a little slower than expected, said Ryan Haley, OSU Wexner's senior director of ambulatory services. However, Amazon's purchase of the company coincided with an uptick in memberships, though those have leveled off, he said.

"It will be interesting to see what Amazon brings to the table," he said. "It's so early since they've acquired One Medical that they probably haven't fully leveraged their capabilities. But I do think it's appealing for people who have Prime memberships to be able to see, 'Hey, you can get a membership at One Medical for a discounted rate.'"

OSU Wexner reimburses One Medical for providing care on its behalf and collects the fee-for-service revenue from the patient visits, Mr. Haley said. A One Medical spokesperson said the specific financial terms of the partnerships are confidential, though the contracts differ by health system.

Mr. Haley said One Medical's healthcare operation acumen "shines through." The company's incoming and outgoing CEOs are both hospital veterans, as are several members of its C-suite. OSU staff often visit the four local clinics and have been impressed with the setup, with Mr. Haley describing them as "boutique" and "spa-like."

"They don't utilize medical assistants or clinical support. The doctor rooms the patient, but they spend a longer amount of time with the patient," he said. "It brings about a little bit of a different flavor for people who want to be part of the Ohio State University network of services but may want a different type of primary care."

Another benefit of the collaborations is more symbiotic care, leading to "reductions in duplicative testing and excessive delays often seen across uncoordinated healthcare settings," the One Medical spokesperson said. The company and its health system partners also integrate their EHRs, allowing them to seamlessly share data, and work together on expansion plans for clinics in a given service area.

"Our partnership with One Medical continues, offering patients another option for primary care and improved access to our vast network of specialists," said a spokesperson for Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Health Care, One Medical's partner for its eight clinics in the Chicago area.

University of Miami offers One Medical memberships to all of its employees and dependents as a benefit. Its health system also credentials One Medical's providers.

Since cutting the ribbon on its first clinic with University of Miami Health in December, One Medical has opened three more in South Florida with plans for another six, said Roy Weiss, MD, PhD, chief ambulatory officer at UHealth. The sites have already enrolled thousands of patients, referring more than 900 of them to UHealth for specialty care.

"There has been no change in our partnership or plans with One Medical since the acquisition by Amazon," Dr. Weiss said. "We look forward to continuing our relationship to provide the best possible medical care to our community."

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