section 340B prescription drug discount program

Federal Health Policy Update for October 26

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for October 20-26.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Congress More than three weeks after House Republicans voted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA) out of the speaker’s office, the House has elected Rep. Mike Johnson (LA) to the position.  Speaker Johnson is a social conservative and has pushed for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, including plans to roll back Medicaid expansion in 2019. The Speaker has said he intends for the House to take up as many FY 2024 spending bills as possible [...]

Supreme Court Rejects 340B Payment Cuts

The federal government had no business cutting section 340B payments to hospitals in the manner it did, the Supreme Court has ruled. In an unanimous decision, the court found that the law creating the program gives the federal government two ways to set 340B payments for outpatient drugs for qualified providers and that the manner in which the Department of Health and Human Services cut those payments in 2018 followed neither. Hospital groups estimate that the 340B payment cut amounted to about $1.6 billion annually. Learn more about the high court ruling in the Healthcare Dive article “Hospitals win SCOTUS [...]

2022-06-16T06:00:11+00:00June 16, 2022|340b|

Court Supports HHS on 340B Cut

The federal government may institute a nearly 30 percent cut in payments to some hospitals for prescription drugs, a federal court has ruled. The cut, to the 340B program, was first proposed in 2017 the Department of Health and Human Services but has been blocked by the courts ever since.  Last week, though, a federal appeals court paved the way for the reduction. Hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients participate in the federal 340B prescription drug discount program, which gives them discounts on prescriptions they distribute to low-income outpatients.  Under the program, participating hospitals are then supposed [...]

2020-08-05T06:00:09+00:00August 5, 2020|340b|

340B Déjà Vu: CMS Seeks to Collect Data From Hospitals

For the second time in four months, the federal government has announced its intention to collect data from hospitals and other providers on what they pay for the prescription drugs they purchase through the section 340B prescription drug discount program. Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a notice announcing its intention to collect this data.  Previously, health care interests sued CMS when it attempted in 2018 to reduce payments to providers for drugs purchased through the 340B program and the court ruled against CMS, maintaining that the agency did not have enough data on hospitals’ acquisition [...]

2020-02-12T06:00:24+00:00February 12, 2020|340b, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services|

340B Doesn’t Drive Up Hospital Drug Spending, MedPAC Says

Hospitals do not prescribe more expensive drugs because they know the 340B program will help pay for them. That is the conclusion drawn in a recent analysis by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Prescription drug spending has risen markedly in recent years and the pharmaceutical industry maintains that part of that increase can be attributed to hospitals that participate in the section 340B prescription drug discount program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to give discounts to hospitals and other selected providers that care for especially large numbers of low-income patients. A new analysis by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, however, concludes [...]

2020-01-28T09:36:25+00:00January 28, 2020|340b, MedPAC|

GAO: Feds Need Better Oversight of 340B Eligibility

The federal government needs to do a better job of ensuring that non-government hospital participants in the 340B prescription drug discount program are eligible for that program, the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded in a recent report. With growing numbers of non-government hospitals now participating in the 340B program, the GAO found that the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees the program, is not doing enough to ensure that these hospitals meet the criteria for inclusion in the program.  In particular, the GAO found, HRSA needs to do more to ensure that such hospitals have valid contracts with [...]

2020-01-17T06:00:47+00:00January 17, 2020|340b|

Hospitals Ask Congress to Protect 340B Program

The leaders of more than 700 hospitals and health systems have written to congressional leaders to ask them to protect the section 340B prescription drug discount program. The letter states that  We are concerned about recent regulatory actions that have reduced the reach of this vital program and by legislative proposals that would undo more than two decades of bipartisan work to preserve the health care safety net. The letter explains that  In 2015, 340B hospitals provided $26 billion in uncompensated and unreimbursed care to low-income and rural patients in need. That represented 60 percent of all such care delivered [...]

2018-10-09T06:00:01+00:00October 9, 2018|340b|

The 340B Issue Explained

The section 340B prescription drug discount program has grown increasingly controversial in recent years. The program, established in the 1990s to help hospitals with the cost of the prescription drugs they provide to low-income patients on an outpatient basis, has grown considerably since its inception.  Pharmaceutical companies argue that it is too large, that it contributes to the growing cost of prescription drugs, and that hospitals are not using the savings they reap from the program to serve more low-income patients, as was envisioned when Congress created the program. Eligible providers, on the other hand, note that much of the [...]

2018-05-16T06:00:51+00:00May 16, 2018|340b|

New Bill Proposes Greater 340B Accountability

A new bill proposed last week by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) seeks to foster greater accountability among participants in the federal government’s section 340B prescription drug discount program. The three-page bill is called the Ensuring the Value of the 340B Program Act of 2018, and according to a news release from the senator, its purpose is to require …participating hospitals to report the total acquisition costs for drugs collected through the 340B program, as well as revenues received from all third party papers for those same drugs. The 340B program provides discounts on prescription drugs dispensed on an outpatient basis [...]

2018-03-06T06:00:51+00:00March 6, 2018|340b|

Safety-Net Hospitals Under the Gun

Safety-net hospitals across the country face a new challenge:  adjusting to several cuts in the supplemental payments they receive from the federal government to help them serve the low-income residents of the communities in which they are located. First there is a $2 billion cut in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH).  These are payments made to hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients.  These payments help safety-net hospitals with the unreimbursed expenses they incur caring for such patients.  This cut, mandated by the Affordable Care Act but twice delayed by Congress, took effect on January 1.  [...]

2018-01-19T06:00:18+00:00January 19, 2018|Affordable Care Act, hospitals, Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare cuts|
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