Amazon launching telehealth service nationwide

AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File

Amazon announced Tuesday that it is rolling out its telehealth service nationwide. 

The company said the virtual service, known as Amazon Care, would now be available across the nation, with in-person services available in 20 cities later this year.

Amazon Care, which was first launched in 2019 and grew amid the demand for virtual services brought on by COVID-19, provides on-demand access to various urgent and primary care services.

“Patients are tired of a health care system that doesn’t put them first. Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time,” Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, said in the company’s announcement.

“We’ve brought our on-demand urgent and primary care services to patients nationwide. As we grow the service, we’ll continue to work with our customers to address their needs.”

The tech giant, however, faces many competitors in the virtual health care world, including major insurers who offer remote services like Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and others.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators last year looked to expand telehealth reimbursement eligibility for additional providers in November.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already expanded the list of providers eligible for reimbursement for the remote services as a result of the pandemic. 

But the Expanded Telehealth Access Act would further broaden the terms to allow reimbursement for providers like physical therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists.

“Particularly in our rural communities, telehealth is no longer just an innovative option for accessing services, it has become a vital lifeline to care,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who was involved with the legislation, said in a statement at the time.

Tags Amazon Amazon Cares COVID-19 Health care Steve Daines Telehealth

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