Amazon Care, the company’s virtual and in-home health service, will shut down by year’s end.
Initially launched as an internal health-care offering for company employees, Amazon Care is now available to partners like Silicon Labs, Precor, Amazon-owned Whole Foods, and Hilton. But “customers did not see the value in the service,” prompting the shutdown, according to The Washington PostThe Washington Post, which first reported the news.
“This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” Amazon SVP of Health Neil Lindsay said in an email to staff published by Engadget. “Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.”
Dozens of workers will lose their jobs, some as early as October, the Post says. Some Care workers may choose to join another part of the Health Service organization, or relocate elsewhere at Amazon, Lindsay said, adding that the tech giant will “support employees looking for roles outside of the company.”
The move comes after Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of US primary care clinic provider One Medical, which currently serves several major cities in California, as well as New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix.
Amazon Care, meanwhile, emerged in 2019 as a program for Seattle-based employees. It invited patients to virtually chat with healthcare providers and, in some areas, request house calls for vaccinations and screenings for common issues. In 2021, it expanded beyond Amazon and teased plans to roll out virtually across all 50 states.
According to the Post, the platform was expected to expand into 20 more cities this year. But increased scale means increased reliance on third-party staffing agencies, which are struggling to hire amidst an ongoing labor shortage following the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Care human resources team learned of the news this week, other Amazon HR departments were still encouraging employees to sign up for the program as recently as Tuesday, the Post said, noting that Amazon’s website still had 20 job listings for Amazon Care as of Wednesday. The Amazon Care website currently has no mention of the shutdown.