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Big Tech’s Healthcare Provider

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Amazon’s growing interest in Orange County—thanks to an expanding real estate presence, employment base, and use of the area as a testing ground of sorts for a variety of new endeavors—has made its way to the healthcare sector.

The $1.6 trillion-valued firm (Nasdaq: AMZN) recently tapped primary care upstart Crossover Health Inc. of San Clemente to launch health centers near its fulfillment centers and operations facilities.

Under an agreement announced last month, Crossover Health will open and operate 20 health centers that cater exclusively to Amazon employees and their family members, starting in five cities across the U.S.

The health centers will offer a variety of primary and chronic care services, in addition to vaccinations, behavioral health services, physical therapy, specialty referral services and more. It’s expected to be used by about 115,000 Amazon associates and their families.

It’s a big step up in size for Crossover, which has steadily built its business of providing membership-based primary care services since its 2010 founding. The firm—which has raised some $110 million in funding, most of that coming in 2016—found a niche by serving large, self-funded tech employers that act as their own medical insurance companies, using a combination of on-site or near-site healthcare clinics that it runs.

Crossover currently has more than 25 health centers set up across the country, in a mix of on-site and near-site locations for its employer clients. Not including the new Amazon associates, it said it currently serves more than 300,000 people, including employees and eligible dependents.

Hiring 400

Crossover Health’s Chief Executive Scott Shreeve said the company looks forward to providing excellent, comprehensive care to Amazon associates virtually and in-person.

“What sits in front of us now is a massive opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives. Our entire focus is to have the best impact in the lives of these people,” Shreeve said.

“Our success hasn’t been technology innovation or other gadgets. It’s all about these phenomenal experiences between a patient and a doctor, where trust is earned and granted.”

Crossover Health said it expects to add about 400 physicians and care providers as its Amazon sites come online, bringing the company’s total headcount to well over 1,000.

Its doctors are company employees, and “are trained to provide Crossover’s integrated approach to primary healthcare,” the company said. The majority of Crossover doctors do not split their time with other practices, it said.

OC Considerations

Initial sites will be in Dallas, Phoenix, Louisville, Ky., Detroit and the San Bernardino area.

Shreeve declined to comment on potential future locations, though he noted “Amazon is famous for iterating and moving quickly,” and sees “healthcare as an opportunity to be an innovator.” The Seattle-based company employs about 840,000 in total.

If the partnership continues after the pilot program, OC would appear to be a leading candidate for a new Amazon healthcare site, based on recent history.

The company is using Irvine as a test subject for a new grocery store concept at The Market Place shopping center; the new spot, which has yet to open, is expected to count a number of high-tech flourishes like a cashierless checkout. Amazon has also used Irvine as a trial for an autonomous delivery robot program, and it put the region’s first quick-serve shop at the city’s University Center shopping center a few years ago.

The company’s also been rapidly growing its real estate presence in the area, with a few million square feet of distribution space leases signed in OC over the past couple years.

Hi-Tech Clients

Crossover Health launched a decade ago with a location at Aliso Viejo Town Center.

The company quickly realized “if we’re really going to change healthcare in this country, we can’t solve it when people get to the hospital … we have to help people upfront,” said co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer Nate Murray.

The team quickly pivoted to membership-based primary care services, and scored some early victories on pilot programs with Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn. Western Digital Corp., with substantial operations in Irvine, has also used its services.

At one point in 2017, rumors swirled that Apple, another customer, might acquire the provider. Those plans never materialized.

Most of its members are in the Northern California area as well as Texas and New York, according to the company.

Users range “from highly skilled tech and finance workers to warehouse and restaurant workers,” the company said.

Employee engagement rates are as high as 80% for individual companies, according to the company. It says that nearly 70% of its patient members use Crossover as their “medical home.”

COVID Care

Crossover Health has also been focused on bolstering its telehealth services as of late, because many of its large employers have as much as 70% of its workforce remote, Shreeve said.

“We can provide this wraparound, on-site, near-site, virtual model that can cover all of our employers’ needs,” he said, noting that the model ends up serving as a monitoring tool for companies’ entire workforces.

When the pandemic hit, Crossover Health responded with initial questionnaires to determine employers’ needs, in addition to providing temperature checks and symptom-monitoring surveys.

The company then launched several on-site or near-site drive-thru tests.

Longer term, it would like to use antibody tests to help bring employees back to work in a safe manner, though Shreeve noted the science on antibody testing continues to lag behind diagnostic testing.

He said, ultimately, “the model we’re most excited about is at-home testing, where samples are collected and shipped back within a 36 to 48-hour window. That has the promise of scalability.”

Welcomed Change

The company has seen nearly 99% of its healthcare services shift to telehealth or virtual care amid the pandemic.

It’s prepared to handle the load; the company said it can manage upward of 2,500 primary care, physical medicine and behavioral health conditions without an office visit.

It also claims members receive two to four times faster access to care via its connected care model.

Meanwhile, employers save an average of 30% in healthcare spending due to reduced urgent care visits and imaging services, the company said.

Cost savings come from the company’s value-based payment models, compared to an archaic framework that simply counts cost per visit, Shreeve said.

In recent months, Crossover Health has witnessed encouraging signs from empathetic clients and prospective clients interested in its business model, added CRO Murray.

Murray said, “Overnight, people are comfortable connecting with their providers. We’re hopeful that will continue and create more affordability and access” in the future.

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