by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | January 05, 2023
Following a 30-day preliminary review, the Oregon Health Authority has given Amazon the nod, with some conditions, to move forward with its $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical.
The tech company announced in July 2022
that it would acquire the membership-based service, which offers virtual care and in-person visits and has five clinics in Oregon. It says the transaction will give Amazon access to physical health clinics, expand its presence in the primary and retail healthcare and telehealth markets and put it on par with competitors like CVS Health and Walgreens.
Despite concerns that Amazon values profits over patients, the Oregon Health Authority said the deal is not likely to substantially reduce access to affordable healthcare, as patients have several options with similar types of services and because One Medical patients make up only a small number of people seeking care in the state, according to The Seattle Times
It also said that Amazon’s advanced supply chain and purchasing power could create efficiencies and savings for One Medical, even though it is not guaranteed that consumers would also benefit from these same savings.
The agency acknowledged possible equity concerns should One Medical capture commercially insured patients with higher payment rates from clinics covered by Medicaid and Medicare but said its small footprint in Oregon reduces these worries.
The agency is requiring both companies to submit reports on their services, patients, quality of care and any governmental or organizational changes every six months for five years. It also will evaluate the deal in its first, second and fifth year to ensure both companies have “kept to their commitments” regarding cost, access and quality of care.
Several groups and individuals oppose the deal, including SEIU Local 49, the chapter of the Service Employees International Union representing healthcare workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
It says Amazon has treated workers in other parts of its business poorly and because of these issues, the union requests that “if the deal is to move forward, we believe the [Oregon Health] Authority should explore imposing strict conditions to safeguard Oregon workers and patients," reports The Seattle Times.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.
“We continue to work cooperatively with OHA and the FTC in their reviews of this transaction,” an Amazon spokesperson told HCB News in a statement.