Amazon Care telemedicine extended to warehouse employees near Seattle

Billie Her, a warehouse worker, wraps plastic around a pallet of boxes at Amazon’s Fulfillment Center in Thornton, Colorado.

Helen H. Richardson | The Denver Post | Getty Images

Amazon Care, the pilot program offering virtual medical services to employees, has expanded beyond its original focus on Seattle area office workers and their dependents, and is now available to those working in Amazon warehouses near the company’s headquarters.

Amazon Care currently offers an app to connect employees to a healthcare professional for video viewing. It also offers follow-up care at home for patients who need it.

“We are pleased to extend this benefit to eligible case center employees and their families in the Greater Seattle area. Amazon Care eliminates travel and wait times, connecting employees and family members to a doctor, nurse practitioner or registered nurse via live or video chat, with the option for in-person follow-up services from a registered nurse ranging from vaccination to instant detection of strep throat “, a an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.

The expansion was planned, but comes at an important time. Several employees at distribution centers across the country died from Covid-19, and many employees pushed the company to do more to protect them from the virus while on the job. Despite growing pressure to do so, the company did not provide a total number of workers who tested positive for the virus at its facilities.

On its website, the company says it is waiving the costs of its virtual medical service until May 31 for all health issues – not just those related to Covid-19. The cost of a medical visit is normally subsidized by Amazon, but registration for the app for general health advice is free.

Those eligible for virtual medical service, according to the FAQ on the company website, must be enrolled in a health plan sponsored by Amazon. “Amazon employees who are registered with Kaiser Permanente are unable to participate at this time,” said the website.

The group, which is just one of Amazon’s various health initiatives, has also worked with local officials and nonprofit organizations to deliver home tests for those who suspect they are infected with Covid -19. Amazon Care has offered to help develop a free delivery plan so that test kits can be delivered within hours.

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