Negligence a Concern at Amazon-Owned One Medical

Written By: The Champion Firm Team

Date Posted: 06.20.24

Category: Medical Malpractice

A recent report in The Washington Post revealed that dozens of elderly patients with potentially life-threatening symptoms were not treated as urgent cases by One Medical, a primary-care service owned by Amazon.

According to internal documents and employee statements, elderly patients at One Medical are often routed to a call center staffed by “newly hired contractors with limited training and little to no medical experience.” According to The Post, the contractors are not required to have medical field experience, with the only real qualifications for hiring being that the contractor can use a computer and phone. 

Hired workers are reported to undergo only two weeks of training before they start taking patient calls, yet were expressly encouraged by One Medical to reassure patients that they are “trained and skilled” specialists who are part of the patient’s care team. When staff voiced concerns over the misleading nature of such statements, no action was taken by One Medical leadership:

“One of [the employees], who worked as a manager,” reports The Post, “said the company tries to cram too much information into two weeks in the classroom. He said he suggested extending the training period and hiring more employees directly rather than as contractors, but management denied his request.”

The employee was later fired. 

‘Red Flag’ Health Concerns Treated as Non-Urgent

One Medical staff, including those employed at their call centers, are told to treat a list of 17 symptoms as “red flags.” These symptoms indicate the patient should seek urgent care as the symptom could be a sign of something life-threatening. However, call center workers, who were likely unable to accurately interpret patient narratives as specific red flags, scheduled more than a dozen patients with red-flag symptoms for appointments at a later date instead of advising them to seek immediate medical attention.

As the family of 92-year-old Mary Ann Stone described to The Post, Stone had contacted One Medical last year when she was “experiencing confusion, pain, impacted bowels and a recurring urinary tract infection—symptoms her daughter said were ‘hard to describe to a call center,

especially a call center that has no experience with this kind of thing.’” One Medical’s call center staff did not advise Stone to seek emergency care, but encouraged her to come in for an appointment. Stone’s daughter told The Post she wishes she would have taken her mother to the hospital sooner. Stone passed away in March this year.

Amazon claims to not be aware of any patients actually being harmed due to call center errors. However, qualified doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff at One Medical flagged dozens of cases at the call center between February and March of this year.

Negligence An Ongoing Problem in the Healthcare Industry

The concerns around patient safety at One Medical, though alarming, are unfortunately nothing new. Earlier this year, a radiology service provider in Atlanta agreed to pay $3.1 million to the federal government in a case related to its use of unlicensed, outsourced workers in India to evaluate and diagnose patient radiology scans. 

One Medical’s main competitors in elder care—Oak Street Health (CVS) and ChenMed—also rely on call centers to process patient inquiries. 

Not Sure if You’ve Experienced Medical Malpractice? Get a Free Evaluation

At The Champion Firm, we’ve handled a range of medical malpractice cases for our clients over the years. Successfully proving malpractice is difficult, yet our experienced personal injury attorneys have recovered millions for clients harmed by negligent healthcare experiences. 

If you have been adversely affected by medical advice from a healthcare provider or service like One Medical, contact our attorneys today for a free evaluation of your case

If you want to learn more about what qualifies as medical malpractice, these resources can help:

About the Author

The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.