Faces of 340B
Nicole Shoquist, PharmD, Chief Pharmacy Officer, JPS Health Network, Fort Worth, Texas
JPS Health Network is the safety net hospital system for Tarrant County, Texas, which includes Fort Worth. Using the $50 million in savings that it gets through the 340B program, JPS not only provides affordable medications for patients, but it also runs a home health program for those who need such care, a mobile clinic for homeless members of the community, and a school-based clinic program.
For Nicole Shoquist, the JPS chief pharmacy officer, the school-based clinics are one of the best examples of just how far 340B can help providers stretch limited resources to meet the health care needs of their communities. The clinics are located right on the campuses of local elementary and junior high schools, where they provide both primary and acute care to any students and their siblings who need it – roughly 43,000 students receive services there.
For one particularly vulnerable elementary school student, the in-house clinic made the difference in his being able to attend school in the first place, Shoquist said. Thanks to the clinic providing acute respiratory disease care and then follow-up primary care for asthma, the patient received the interventions he needed right on the school property. “We were able to keep him healthy and in class, and he’s a thriving student now,” she said.
JPS would need to scale back or end some of its community services if the 340B program were to be eliminated, Shoquist said. Those scale-backs could threaten the ability of the system to use such innovative ideas as school-based clinics to keep kids healthy and help turn them into productive adults.