Messages between doctors, medical practitioners administrative staff and leadership show that multiple staffers across One Medical locations in several states

Author : muhammadazriel187386
Publish Date : 2021-02-24 15:29:05


Messages between doctors, medical practitioners administrative staff and leadership show that multiple staffers across One Medical locations in several states

A national health care provider has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to people deemed ineligible for the scarce vaccine by local health departments, including people with connections to company leaders and customers of its concierge medical service, according to internal communications leaked to NPR.

San Francisco-based One Medical has been allocated thousands of vaccine doses by local health departments in some of the areas they provide medical services. Ineligible individuals with connections to company leadership were set up with vaccine appointments, and patients who were disqualified from receiving the vaccine were nonetheless permitted to skip the line ahead of other high-risk patients.

The problems have occurred in numerous company locations across several states. The Washington State Department of Health, citing a complaint it received this month, told NPR it had halted COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the company. Other regulators have also received complaints or stopped providing the vaccine.

One Medical has branded itself a high-end health care provider serving a relatively affluent clientele that pays a $199 fee annually to receive easy online access to appointments, telemedicine and access to a streamlined, tech-focused medical experience. The company went public with an IPO in January 2020, with a valuation in the billions.

Article continues after sponsor message

How Is The COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Going In Your State?
SHOTS - HEALTH NEWS
How Is The COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Going In Your State?
Across The South COVID-19 Vaccine Sites Missing From Black And Hispanic Neighborhoods
THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Across The South COVID-19 Vaccine Sites Missing From Black And Hispanic Neighborhoods
One Medical's shortcomings take place amid broader anecdotal evidence that suggests patients throughout the country are skipping the line due in part to loose enforcement. The situation highlights a serious ethical issue: Determining who is entitled to a vaccine at a time of scarce availability and who is responsible for enforcing eligibility rules.

Experts say an appropriate system for vaccine distribution focuses on first targeting those most at risk for serious consequences from COVID-19. "We're trying to focus on those individuals who are most likely to develop severe illness or death, and to most likely be exposed to the virus," said Gabriel Lázaro-Muñoz, who teaches medical ethics and health policy at the Baylor College of Medicine. "The overall goal is to save as many lives as possible, and with that we are not valuing any life over another."

One Medical claims it does not allow for ineligible patients to be vaccinated knowingly, and that it was confident that it was "doing everything reasonably in our power to ensure... our adherence to state and local department of health vaccine eligibility guidelines." But NPR obtained internal communications that tell a different story.

'We are not policing'

Messages between doctors, medical practitioners, administrative staff and leadership show that multiple staffers across One Medical locations in several states — Washington, Oregon and California — privately raised the alarm about what they believed were lax oversight and inappropriate practices within the organization. They also show what appear to be favors done for those close to the organization's senior staff.

"It seems if you don't screen out those jumping the [queue], then many will jump in the line and push those that need the vaccine further behind, delaying a potentially life saving injection. This could impact MANY members," one doctor in California wrote to his colleagues in January, according to the internal documents.

"I have had two [patients] today, both in their 20-30s without risk factors and are tech workers who have gotten their covid vaccines. One was thru us," wrote another One Medical doctor in Washington state. "I'm curious how these [people] are able to sign up for vaccines when we have a long list of higher priority [patients]? ... I just want to understand how they can be prioritized for a vaccine when those at higher tiers have to wait."

These internal communications indicate that ineligible friends and family of One Medical leadership were vaccinated, as were work-from-home administrative, support and IT staff at its headquarters in San Francisco. While healthcare workers waited in line in January, One Medical made the decision to offer the vaccine to any of its San Francisco County staff, regardless of whether they were patient-facing staff.

Lázaro-Muñoz, the ethics professor, said that offering the vaccine to all staff regardless of whether they see patients was unethical.

"There might not be regulations stopping this company from giving [the COVID vaccine] to their employees. But from an ethical standpoint, when you look at what is right and wrong, this is wrong," Lázaro-Muñoz told NPR. "Your life and the life of your co-workers and those who work in this company is not any more valuable than the life of the elderly people that are not getting access to that vaccine, thanks to your criteria and system of distributing that vaccine."

Biden Administration Recruits Community Clinics To Help Solve Vaccine Inequities
SHOTS - HEALTH NEWS
Biden Administration Recruits Community Clinics To Help Solve Vaccine Inequities
'To Me He's Not A Number': Families Reflect As U.S. Passes 500,000 COVID-19 Deaths
THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
'To Me He's Not A Number': Families Reflect As U.S. Nears 500,000 COVID-19 Deaths
One Medical said that it had asked some of its staff to volunteer time in their clinics. However, all of its staff in San Francisco County were provided an opportunity to receive the vaccine, regardless of the nature of their job.

Further, patients of One Medical who were ineligible to be vaccinated based on local guidelines were also permitted to book vaccination appointments through an online portal. So was at least one executive of a partner organization with One Medical. Internal communications show providers trying to get eligible health care workers vaccinated, but instead told to put them on a wait list.

"Why are young patients without health problems, on a trial membership... allowed to book and receive a covid vaccine while healthcare workers are being waitlisted?" one medical professional asked in January. "I just saw two appointments for such."

There were also shortcomings with the company's system. A question asking patients whether they were in an eligible category was not added to the online portal until Jan. 14, though One Medical started vaccinating patients on Jan. 1. During this two-week period, COVID-19 cases in the United States reached its highest peak.

Following this, the internal documents show that in January, even if a patient noted that they were not in an eligible category for vaccination, some could continue to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. Suggestions on how the tech-heavy company could use algorithms to scan for ineligible patients were turned down.

The tech-heavy company said that blocking ineligible patients from booking vaccination appointments would have called for a complete overhaul of their system and was too technologically difficult to rebuild in the required timeframe.

The documents also show that in January One Medical was not verifying the eligibility of patients it vaccinated by requiring ID or other evidence at the point of vaccine administration.

"I have questions about our approach of not requiring [patients] to bring proof of vaccine eligibility," said a One Medical staffer. "A quick Google search indicates that this is not consistent with many states' requirements... I am concerned about advertising an overly permissive approach."

"It seems crucial to at least attempt to ensure that the vaccines are going into the 'right' people's arms."

- a One Medical staff member

As ineligible patients began to get vaccines, staff began raising concerns that word was spreading about One Medical's lax enforcement of eligibility requirements.

"I've had a few patients straight up tell me that once they realized there was no screening that they would be telling their friends..." another medical provider in California wrote. "My partner and I were shocked when we got ours through One Med... that at no point were we asked if we met criteria — let alone asked to prove it."

Employees were told not to try to enforce the rules barring ineligible patients. "Scanning schedules and cancelling appointments [for ineligible patients] is not recommended," Spencer Blackman, the director of clinical education at the company said in a communication to a range of staff. He added in another note to a doctor, "If this person sees themself in a tier that is being vaccinated they can attest to that and make an appointment. You don't get to make the decision if someone 'gets' [a] vaccine or not."

"We are not policing," Blackman wrote in January, setting off objections in internal company communications.

When asked why One Medical did not verify eligibility, chief medical officer Andrew Diamond said, "There was never guidance that said 'do not verify'... that would be counter to our principles." When told NPR was in possession of communications that indicated otherwise, he responded, "that's clearly not the guidance, nor is that the intent of the guidance. We've been far clearer since then."

"If we don't 'police' we contribute to inequity that rewards those who choose to lie/deceive ... As a medical company with tech skills we CAN do more."

- a One Medical staff member

In fact, many localities require medical providers to check for eligibility documentation. In Los Angeles County, where One Medical has been provided thousands of doses, vaccination is limited currently to healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents, and persons over the age of 65. Proper documentation of eligibility is required for vaccination. "Providers are then responsible for confirming eligibility responses and requesting accepted documentation of eligibility, once [the patient] arrives for onsite appointment," an L.A. County Department of Public Health spokesperson said.

And in Alameda County, where the company was given close to 1,000 doses, the public health department said that personal ID and proof of a health care role is "required" for the vaccine doses that One Medical received.

As Forbes was preparing a story about One Medical's practices, One Medical leadership sent out a note to staff warning of consequences, threatening them with "disciplinary action, up to and including termination" if they leaked internal communications. One Medical disputed this characterization. "One Medical is not, and has never been an organization that threatens its staff," a spokesperson said, characterizing the note as merely "reminders about our business code of conduct."

Regulators take action

It is not clear how many ineligible vaccine doses were distributed, and One Medical declined to provide a figure on how many total doses it had administered. But the company has likely provided tens of thousands of doses: Of just two jurisdictions that produced information on the doses it allocated to One Medical, San Francisco County said it had provided the company with 12,000 doses, while L.A. County has provided them with nearly 6,000 doses.

One Medical's practices have not gone unnoticed by state and local regulators. The Washington State Department of Health told NPR that they had halted allocation of vaccine doses to One Medical due to a complaint received on



Category : general

Tips For Passing ServiceNow CIS-ITSM Certification Exam

Tips For Passing ServiceNow CIS-ITSM Certification Exam

- Today, there is a lot of hype about Search Engine Optimisation.schooled grownups. It experienced


Pass HRCI GPHR Exam Questions In First Attempt

Pass HRCI GPHR Exam Questions In First Attempt

- CertsLeads enables you to prepare your certification exams, Get most actual and updated exam questions PDF for passing the certifications exam in first attempt


{2020} AZ-400 New Exam Materials, AZ-400 Exam Questions PDF

{2020} AZ-400 New Exam Materials, AZ-400 Exam Questions PDF

- Get latest and updated exam material from mockdumps with passing guarantee in first try. We provide 24/7 customer support to our honorable students


eNEWSPAPER KS2 VIDEO NEWSPAPER KANNADA VIDEO

eNEWSPAPER KS2 VIDEO NEWSPAPER KANNADA VIDEO

- eNEWSPAPER KS2 VIDEO NEWSPAPER KANNADA VIDEO INEWSPAPER REPORT VIDEO KS2 NEWSPAPER ROLL VI EVIDEO NEWSPAPER VIDEO MAKER VIDEO MARATHI NE