After being accused of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to unqualified patients, health officials in San Diego County established contact with local vaccine suppliers.
A medical organization is a membership-based medical institution in San Francisco with offices throughout the country, including San Diego County. County officials said that it is temporarily allowed to distribute vaccines locally. But the county said that once it discovered that the organization was acting as a “pay-per-member facility,” the organization stopped its operations.
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“We learned [One Medical] It was operated as a compensation for member facilities at the time and reported to the state immediately. “Said a spokesperson for the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services.
When it comes to the provider’s vaccine work, the chief medical officer of a medical institution firmly denied any wrongdoing.
A statement from Chief Medical Officer Andrew Diamond, MD, read in part: “Any assertion that we are extensive and intentionally disregarded the qualification guidelines is directly contradictory to our actual vaccine management approach.” “The latest media report on One Medical This caused the public to have a dangerous misunderstanding of our COVID-19 vaccine program.”
An investigation released by NPR on Wednesday found that internal communications by One Medical employees raised the issue that national medical service providers did not strictly comply with the eligibility requirements for members seeking COVID-19 injections through the medical service provider’s website. NPR found that “despite this, disqualified patients are still allowed to skip the production line before other high-risk patients.” (NBC 7 Investigates has not independently reviewed the internal communications of the NPR report.)
The NBC Bay Area reported that the San Francisco Department of Public Health and other state and local health departments’ lists have stopped distributing vaccines to medical institutions after receiving individual complaints from providers about vaccinating substandard patients.
San Diego County officials told NBC 7 that they have allowed One Medical to distribute the vaccine locally “as soon as possible” during the vaccination process.
Officials said One Medical asked for 2,000 vaccines, but the county only gave them 900 doses. The county emphasized that officials moving forward will no longer distribute vaccines to health care providers.
San Diego County officials said they had reported “a drug” to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for further investigation.
A medical worker would not say how many of the 900 doses it distributed were distributed locally.
The chief medical officer of the healthcare provider defended his actions, telling reporters that it did not “knowingly vaccinate unqualified patients”.
“Patients do not have to pay for vaccination at One Medical. As we did with the COVID-19 test, we have opened up access to the One Medical technology platform for patients without charging membership fees, so they can use it fairly Vaccine appointments. “We usually shut out people who don’t meet the eligibility criteria. “
One Medical went on to say that according to their data, 96% of individuals vaccinated by One Medical across the United States have filed eligibility documents with healthcare providers, and the remaining 4% “usually proceed in accordance with a zero-waste agreement. Vaccination”. ”
The spokesperson added that One Medical’s online platform requires patients to confirm their vaccine eligibility, which includes “a large number of checkpoints-at the time of appointment, online through a labor-intensive “timetable scan” process before the appointment, and-when needed Personnel verification is performed at the point of care from time to time to reduce abuse of our vaccine reservation system.”
(To read the full statement of One Medical’s investigation into NBC 7, click here.)
According to One Medical’s website, healthcare providers are “no ordinary doctor’s office” and provide patients with primary care memberships at a price of $199 per year. According to the website, it provides subscribers with 24/7 service through on-demand services. Patients who do not want to pay membership fees can also register for free services provided by providers.
But when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination, the provider said that membership is not required.
Diamond said: “In the United States, most people vaccinated by Yiyitong are not our own annual membership dues, but are referred by the health department, including medical staff, nursing home patients, educators and the homeless.”
When a user tries to sign a vaccination appointment in San Diego, the One Medical website now states that the appointment is “not currently available…we are working with local health officials to get more vaccines as soon as possible.”
An internal communication issued by NPR found that within the walls of One Medical, employees had warned of the eligibility requirements of patients who administered the vaccine, which lasted for several months.
NPR reported that these communications included a staff member of One Medical who wrote: “I have questions about the way we do not require medical services. [patients] Provide proof of vaccine qualification… A quick Google search shows that this is inconsistent with the requirements of many states. I am worried that the advertisement is too loose. “
A medical institution questioned several elements of the NPR report and told the media that thereafter “several clinical staff were fired for ignoring qualification requirements”.
Diamond told NBC 7 that despite reports, the provider remains committed to the community it serves.
“Although this type of report keeps our team members working late at night and they work tirelessly to deal with the complexity and challenges of vaccine launches, we are still committed to serving our community and hope that the report will not hinder our ability to work. . Continue to do this vital work,” a statement read.
But another state discovered a problem with One Medical and also stopped distributing vaccines to providers for distribution.
The Washington State Department of Health told NPR that it had received a complaint about One Medical on February 10 and that it “has stopped distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to the company.”
Back in California, San Mateo and Alameda counties also confirmed to the NBC Bay Area on Thursday that they will no longer distribute vaccines to providers. San Mateo County health officials said the move was due to complaints. Alameda County officials said, “They stopped distributing vaccines to One Medical after learning that this practice planned to vaccinate their health care workers more.”
In Los Angeles County, public health officials confirmed to NBC 7 that they are continuing to work with One Medical, and to date, more than 5,800 doses have been distributed to the company.
Los Angeles officials said they also received complaints about One Medical and in response, issued warnings to healthcare providers.
A statement from Los Angeles County said: “We received a report at the end of January saying that they vaccinated people who were not health care workers. Public health followed them up and asked them to explain the process.” “Public The health department made it clear that they must verify that the person being vaccinated is a medical worker or a person over 65 who was on the scene at the time of the appointment, otherwise we cannot allocate more doses to them. We have not received further complaints.
The California Department of Public Health did not respond to any requests for comment on the pending investigation.
A spokesperson for the State Medical Commission confirmed that a medical team and its chief medical officer Andrew Diamond (Andrew Diamond) reviewed its license history since 2004, but did not face any state disciplinary action.
Diamond told NBC 7 that he had not contacted any state or local health department regarding any complaints or active investigations.
In an interview with NBC 7 on Friday, Diamond said: “None of our health department partners have informed us that an investigation is ongoing or ongoing.” “Like other large health service providers, the health department asked whether any concerns raised to them were It is commonplace. This is by no means unique or specific to One Medical.”
To learn more about vaccinations in San Diego County, including how to make appointments for qualified patients, click here Visit the county’s website.