House Democrats are launching an investigation into concierge health provider One Medical following reports the company intentionally distributed limited coronavirus vaccines to people with connections to its top executives.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, led by Rep. James Clyburn (R-S.C.), sent a letter to One Medical demanding documents related to its vaccination practices.
"Despite being warned that the company’s lax oversight of vaccine eligibility rules was allowing ineligible patients to jump the line, One Medical has reportedly failed to promptly implement an effective protocol to verify eligibility and instructed staff not to police eligibility," Clyburn wrote.
One Medical is a membership-based medical practice that provides primary care services to more than 500,000 members in 10 states and Washington, D.C. Members pay $199 a year for VIP-level service, including same day appointments and 24/7 telemedicine appointments.
Clyburn cited multiple news reports, including an investigation by NPR that showed friends and family of the company’s leadership were prioritized for vaccine appointments, as well as an executive at a partner organization, and work-from-home staff at the company’s headquarters — none of whom were eligible under state and local guidelines.
Even though there are now three vaccines authorized for use, demand far outstrips the limited supply. State and local authorities have set prioritization guidelines, but according to the NPR report, One Medical employees were instructed by management not to enforce them.
As a result, the Washington State Department of Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health and other regulators halted distributions of vaccine doses to the company.
The letter demanded documents and information on One Medical's COVID-19 vaccination practices by March 15.
Among other requests, the lawmakers are seeking demographic breakdowns of all the company's COVID-19 vaccines administered to date, communications related to compliance with state and local prioritization guidelines and any communication about vaccination appointments arranged for friends and family of company executives.
In a statement to The Hill, a One Medical spokesperson said the company is "committed to cooperating fully by providing the information requested. We support the objectives of this Congressional group, with whom we share a goal of executing a fair and equitable national vaccine roll-out."
Clyburn noted that strict adherence to priority groups can create unnecessary barriers and prevent vaccinations, even among those who are deemed eligible.
"Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned that medical providers’ refusal to adhere to vaccination prioritization guidelines and intentional diversion of doses to individuals in lower priority groups may cost more American lives and delay or even derail containment of the virus across the country," Clyburn wrote.