Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Mar 2018 00:51 UTC
Apple

Apple is launching a group of health clinics called AC Wellness for its employees and their families this spring, according to several sources familiar with the company's plans.

The company quietly published a website, acwellness.com, with more details about its initiative and a careers page listing jobs including primary care doctor, exercise coach and care navigator, as well as a phlebotomist to administer lab tests on-site.

This new primary care group - a group of clinical staff that is run independently from Apple but is dedicated to Apple employees - will initially only serve Apple's employees in Santa Clara County, where its headquarters are located. Initially, it has two clinics in the county.

Scrip healthcare.

This is insanity.

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Yeah but...
by galvanash on Thu 1st Mar 2018 04:36 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

Scrip healthcare.

This is insanity.


Yeah, but conventional healthcare in the US is so horrible and expensive that as insane as it sounds this is actually a really good incentive for Apple employees...

Going "off the grid" is becoming the only way to actually get inexpensive preventative medical care. Sad but true.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Yeah but...
by Slll on Thu 1st Mar 2018 05:27 in reply to "Yeah but..."
Slll Member since:
2014-08-02

American healthcare is systemically less than ideal, to that much I will agree.

That said, this is BS. Apple employees are paid pretty well, Apple even offers a health plan to their employees (as most large corporations do) and all around the San Francisco Bay Area are world class hospitals and medical centers. To name just four, there's UCSF in San Francisco and Stanford Medical Center (which cooperates with Sutter Health), a network of Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Centers, and Dignity Health.

There is a huge concentration of quality health care clinics in the area, and even the County-run hospitals like San Francisco General are pretty good, not to mention free and low-income clinics with clinics specifically for women, AIDS/HIV and mental health. Could it be better? Sure, honestly having a couple of Apple-run clinics around will probably be a boon in general for the area as having a couple of extra clinics isn't a bad thing. It just means some people that would otherwise approach a different clinic, now have the option of an employer-run clinic.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah but...
by galvanash on Thu 1st Mar 2018 05:51 in reply to "RE: Yeah but..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

That said, this is BS. Apple employees are paid pretty well, Apple even offers a health plan to their employees (as most large corporations do) and all around the San Francisco Bay Area are world class hospitals and medical centers.


World class yes. Cheap? Not really. Sure, there are some inexpensive clinics, but they generally targeted at treating basic health issues (cold, flu, minor injuries, etc.), not preventative care - they almost all suck for that. Every time you go to one its a different doctor, there is no time to do thorough exams, you wait 2 hours for 10 minutes of time with a doctor, etc. Good preventative care is actually hard to find and is expensive when you do.

The point (and incentive) for Apple to do this kind of thing is to offer preventative care that is cheap and convenient to improve the overall health of their workers, which will lower their healthcare premiums for times when they need actual treatment at a UCSF or Stanford Medical.

There is no real incentive for conventional medical practitioners like these to do things to proactively keep people healthy - they make money by treating patients, not trying to keep them healthy. What Apple is trying to do in no way replaces the need for conventional treatments, it is simply a way to try and reduce them (and thus save money on premiums for themselves and their employees).

Also, San Francisco is like 45 minutes away from Cupertino. That isn't exactly convenient... I'm sure there are a good number of Apple employees closer to San Francisco, but most of them live south of Cupertino, not north.

Edited 2018-03-01 06:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Yeah but...
by Qetzlcoatl on Thu 1st Mar 2018 07:52 in reply to "RE: Yeah but..."
Qetzlcoatl Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple even offers a health plan to their employees (as most large corporations do)


Health plan can be very tricky thing.
For example, in Russia (and, AFAIK, a lot of CEE countries) Oracle select insurance company with cheap price but with most clinics on list below average level & only basic health issues covered. So most Oracle employees I know prefer to take money compensation instead of health plan - this way they able to pay (at least partial) for health services they really need in medical centres they trust.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Yeah but...
by Tony Swash on Thu 1st Mar 2018 12:34 in reply to "RE: Yeah but..."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

I think this just part of something much bigger. I think Apple have a very long term plan to wire up health care in general and these clinics are just a proving ground for some of the technology, which also delivers a nice perk to its employees in a competitive labour market.

Note this from the 24/1/18:

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2018/01/apple-announces-effortless-so...

For a more in depth analysis of Apple’s health strategy have a look at this from last September:

https://www.cbinsights.com/research/apple-health-care-strategy-apps-...

I wonder if this might, in part, date back to the protracted experience of Steve Jobs during his long illness, during which he was aghast at how primitive data systems were.

I love the NHS in the UK but recently having had a couple of protracted health care issue myself the thing that really struck me was just how appallingly bad and out of date the NHS information systems are. And that’s after the government has spent many billions on huge top down IT systems for the NHS all of which have essentially failed to deliver. Parts of the NHS still communicate by Fax!

There is still no way to carry a digital copy of your own health records around the various parts of the systems, so you are constantly being asked the same questions, which is then written down by hand on bits of paper, and you have to make sure at each stage of your journey through the system that each part has the essential information from the other parts. Its ridiculous that one cannot carry a secure copy of all ones health records on your devices. I think, and hope, that Apple is trying to solve this.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah but...
by jburnett on Fri 2nd Mar 2018 01:07 in reply to "RE: Yeah but..."
jburnett Member since:
2012-03-29

I live here and work for an employer that has its own health clinic. Unlike Apple, only employees can use our clinic. I wish my family could use it too.

There is a huge concentration of quality health care clinics in the area


You are right, there are a lot of clinics here. For the most part they have pretty good doctors too. However, the administrators are so bad that I used to leave the state for my healthcare. For example, you mentioned Sutter/PAMF. Let me tell you about my experiences with Sutter/PAMF.

The doctors there are great. Hopefully you do not need to see them anytime soon though. My wife waited over a year for her first visit with her primary doctor. I had to wait 6 months to visit an allergist. Then, I needed to reschedule a follow-up appointment, it was going to be 3 months before they could squeeze me in again. I never made it back.

Do not even get me started on their billing. One time I received two letters on the same day. The first letter was a bill with a late charge. The other was a check for over payment, which just happened to be the exact amount needed for the bill without the late charge. I paid the fee at the office on the day of service. Nobody in their billing department could seem to fix the issue and said if I didn't pay the late charge they would put me in collections.

They also tend to keep sending bills months after seeing doctors, often with no explanation. In the end I just paid whatever they asked, sometimes for doctors I never saw. Fail to pay, you go straight to collections, effectively ending any chance of buying a ridiculously overpriced home in the next 5 years.

Dealing with the awful American medical institutions is beyond infuriating. Thankfully we have the company clinic. If we didn't, I would still be doing all my non-emergency healthcare in other countries. My wife still does most of her healthcare overseas. Let that sink in, we pay for an exceptionally expensive healthcare plan here that we avoid using because healthcare in the bay area is so bad.

Somehow we found a small, private pediatric practice for our daughter. They have only messed up one bill and are very responsive. Heck, we even have the doctors private cell phone number in case of after hour emergencies.

Bottom line, if it takes companies opening private clinics to kickstart reform on the mess we call a healthcare system, then I'm all for it.

Reply Parent Score: 3