Those One Medical offices that have popped up around town over the last ten years are actually a national chain, and Amazon just bought up that SF-based chain for nearly $4 billion.
If you're not familiar with One Medical, the private, concierge-esque primary care medical provider that has opened multiple offices around San Francisco over the last decade — mostly in the Financial District, but also in the Castro, Hayes Valley, Pac Heights, and elsewhere — it's been a go-to for those without any attachment to a particular doctor and who like the ease of appointment-getting. The only time the company has been in the news was over allegations off letting people jump the line for vaccine access in the early days when vaccine supply was still quite limited, for which they had their vaccine access revoked in SF, Alameda, and San Mateo counties. Also in those early vaccine days, The Verge broke a mini-scandal that One Medical was charging $56 for vaccinations, though that seemed like just a few isolated cases and appears to have been quickly addressed.
And this was not enough to scare off Amazon, as the Chronicle reports Thursday morning that Amazon is buying One Medical for a reported $3.9 billion. The Associated Press adds Amazon “will acquire One Medical for $18 per share in an all-cash transaction.” One Medical is actually owned by San-Francisco-based parent company 1Life Healthcare, Inc.; it is not (yet) profitable, and its stock has had a terrible year, but is obviously performing well on today’s news that Amazon is buying the company.
So what is One Medical? The Verge describes them as “healthcare for Millennials,” where you pay an annual $199 subscription fee for a primary care physician. The platform says it allows you to “Connect to care 24/7,” though some of this is just “over video” or “Message our care team.”
I’m always skeptical of companies hawking “experiences” that are "reimagined." (Like, can’t you “reimagine” some new words that aren’t already in every single goddamn press ever sent these days?) The video above makes a great show of how their furniture is fancier than most doctor’s waiting rooms, whatever that does for you.
My employer and my grocery store and NOW my health care provider are all owned by Jeff Bezos!! https://t.co/eiwaITByZU— Elizabeth Dwoskin (@lizzadwoskin) July 21, 2022
Still, Amazon thinks that the “telehealth” concept makes sense, and it can certainly clear bottlenecks in the healthcare process. As The Verge notes, it’s Amazon’s third-largest acquisition ever, behind “Whole Foods ($13.7 billion) and the recently closed purchase of MGM ($8.45 billion).”
Image: One Medical