Amir Dan Rubin |
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A congressional committee overseeing the Covid-19 crisis has launched an investigation into concierge healthcare provider One Medical. Inoculation shots were reportedly given to family and friends of executives and wealthy customers who were not eligible in their states.
Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., chairman of the House Select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, sent a letter to Amir Dan Rubin, CEO of One Medical, on Monday asking for documents regarding his vaccine allocation practices.
With supplies of Covid-19 vaccines remaining scarce, state health departments have rationed priorities for prioritized groups of people, mostly frontline health workers, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk. In the letter, Clyburn alleged that San Francisco-based One Medical “has repeatedly and deliberately violated vaccine approval requirements in several cities and states in the past two months.”
One Medical, with a market cap of approximately $ 6.4 billion, offers VIP healthcare services to its customers for an annual fee of $ 199. The company, which went public last year under the name 1Life Healthcare, operates in nine states and the District of Columbia, according to its location.
“While One Medical has been warned that the company’s lax oversight of vaccine licensing rules allowed unauthorized patients to cross the line, it has reportedly failed to properly implement an effective admissibility review protocol and instructed staff to not to monitor the authority of the police, “wrote Clyburn.
“I am deeply concerned that medical providers’ refusal to adhere to vaccination prioritization guidelines and deliberate delivery of doses to people in lower priority groups are costing more American lives and delaying or even delaying containment of the virus across the country can derail, “wrote Clyburn.
James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades | Bloomberg via Getty Images
One Medical representatives did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
One Medical shares fell more than 1% on Tuesday morning.
The Congressional investigation came after NPR received internal communications from the company last week showing that wealthy customers and those with ties to company executives routinely had opportunities to exceed the vaccine limit. In some cities where One Medical operates, the company has been given thousands of doses of the rare vaccines, according to the NPR.
Complaints about the company have caused regulators, including the Washington State Department of Health, to stop distributing the vaccines to One Medical, NPR noted.
“These reports raise concerns that the company could use the federally funded vaccine rollout to increase membership rates and generate fees regardless of whether or not potential fee-paying members are actually eligible for the vaccination,” Clyburn wrote in the letter to the company.
NPR reported that some healthcare providers asked One Medical to change its practice.
“Why are young patients with no health problems who are enrolled in a trial membership … allowed to book and receive a Covid vaccine while health care workers are put on the waiting list?” A doctor asked about internal communications from NPR in January. “I’ve just seen two dates for it.”
In response to similar questions, staff were told not to discourage patients from receiving the vaccine.
“If that person sees themselves at a stage being vaccinated, they can confirm and schedule an appointment,” said Spencer Blackman, the company’s director of clinical education, in a message to a doctor, according to the NPR. “You can’t make the decision when someone ‘gets’. [a] Vaccine or not. “