Amazon Care is available to the employees of half a dozen corporate customers including Hilton, Silicon Labs, Precor, and Amazon-owned Whole Foods, as well as its own workforce. Workers were told the service was shutting down because those customers did not see the value in the service, one of the people said. Dozens of employees will lose their jobs at the end of the year, according to the people.
Amazon spokeswoman Christina Smith confirmed the decision and shared a memo announcing it with The Washington Post.
“This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” said Amazon senior vice president of health Neil Lindsay in an email to staff. “Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.”
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post. Amazon first provided the letter announcing the closure to GeekWire and Fierce Healthcare.
The decision to shutter Amazon Care is a surprise given Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s commitment to expanding Amazon’s health-care investment. It follows Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of concierge health care start-up One Medical last month, a deal that could still face antitrust scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission.
In his 2021 letter to shareholders, Jassy named Amazon Care as an example of the “type of iterative innovation” that is “pervasive across every team at Amazon.”
Amazon Care is currently available virtually nationwide, and was supposed to expand to 20 cities for in-home care delivered by mobile health nurses by the end of this year.
Last week, The Post reported on tensions between Amazon Care and the clinical staff the company brought on to treat patients. Those medical professionals work for an independent company called Care Medical that is also being shut down. Six former employees told The Post that the two sides clashed over Amazon’s fast and frugal approach to expanding Amazon Care, which some former employees felt prioritized the business over best medical practice.
A former Amazon Care executive told The Post at the time that Amazon was going to “try to do what they do in every other line of business: They’re going to try and make it better than everyone else, make it less expensive and get crazy adoption because of convenience. But health-care is different. It’s hard.”
In response, Amazon’s Smith told The Post in an email that Amazon prioritized patient and employee safety and that “Amazon Care has evolved and improved for both patients and clinicians since the days of our pilot program.”
In his email, Lindsay said Amazon Care employees could be placed in other jobs within Amazon, and that the company would “support employees looking for roles outside of the company.”
Lindsay — an Amazon veteran who took over the firm’s new health services department in December 2021 — emphasized in his letter that Amazon remains committed to its health-care businesses.
“Our vision is to make it easier for people to access the health care products and services they need to get and stay healthy. We know accomplishing this won’t be easy or fast, but we believe it matters,” he wrote.
This is the second major health-care investment Amazon has wound down. A health-insurance venture called Haven that it co-created with finance firms Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase shuttered last year.
The company continues to operate Amazon Pharmacy, a prescription ordering and delivery service it spun out from its 2018 acquisition of Pillpack. Its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, also has a significant presence in healthcare, where it uses machine learning to analyze health-care data for large health organizations, among other enterprises.
In the year after taking the helm as CEO, Jassy has tried to focus Amazon’s business, shuttering some of its retail operation and slowing growth in its logistics division.
Go to Publisher: Technology
Author: Caroline O’Donovan