Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Carlyle Group's One Medical Vaccination Debacle

In early February One Medical employees sounded the alarm on unauthorized people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.  Forbes reported:

Two employees of primary care firm One Medical with direct knowledge of the practice shared with Forbes that the company has not been enforcing state guidelines in distributing Covid-19 vaccines. Both employees asked to remain anonymous for fear they would lose their jobs. 

One Medical has a compliance department charged with addressing identified issues and protecting whistleblowers.  In practice, compliance and human resources are weapons for executives to use against workers.  NPR reported:

Messages among doctors, other medical practitioners, administrative staff and leadership show that multiple staffers across One Medical locations in several states — Washington, Oregon and California — privately raised the alarm about what they believed were lax oversight and inappropriate practices within the organization. They also show what appear to be favors done for those close to the organization's senior staff.

Internal communications indicate that ineligible friends and family of One Medical leadership were vaccinated, as were work-from-home administrative, support and IT staff from its headquarters in San Francisco. While health care workers waited in line in January, One Medical made the decision to offer the vaccine to any of its San Francisco County staff members, regardless of whether they were patient facing.

The Carlyle Group remains the lead shareholder of One Medical, post IPO.  Carlyle's billionaire co-founders are familiar with the benefits of privilege.  It's not surprising that One Medical senior staff felt entitled as well.  

San Francisco's Department of Public Health dropped One Medical as a COVID-19 vaccination provider. NBC Bay Area reported:

The Investigative Unit received reports of people paying the standard $200 membership fee just to take advantage of One Medical’s easy-to-book vaccine appointment system. In some cases, the individuals said they did not live in San Francisco. Some said they already had other health care providers.

The Washington State Department of Health also stopped giving vaccines to One Medical. 

In the midst of the controversy the private equity trade group, American Investment Council, promoted Carlyle's role in One Medical giving COVID-19 vaccinations.  It did not identify already issued concerns over One Medical's shoddy vaccination practices.  That's the PEU way.