340B HEALTH REQUESTS FEDERAL FLEXIBILITY FOR HOSPITALS AMID COVID-19 RESPONSE
WASHINGTON, D.C.— 340B Health today asked the federal government to extend regulatory flexibility and financial support to safety-net hospitals participating in the 340B drug pricing program. In a pair of letters to leaders of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS), 340B Health requested a series of policy changes under the public health emergency caused by the Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, 340B Health asked that the department take five key actions:
- Delay implementation of a proposed survey of 340B hospitals on their drug acquisition costs so hospitals can focus on combating the pandemic;
- Suspend the nearly 30 percent Medicare Part B payment reduction to 340B hospitals so these providers have the resources they need during this crisis;
- Allow hospitals subject to the group purchasing organization (GPO) prohibition to purchase covered outpatient drugs through a GPO without the usual documentation requirements so hospitals can access drugs during the public health emergency that are subject to shortages;
- Waive the Medicare disproportionate share (DSH) adjustment percentage requirements so hospitals currently participating in 340B won’t lose program eligibility due to their treatment of COVID-19 patients; and
- Waive the quarterly enrollment periods to allow open registration for 340B-eligible covered entities, child sites, and contract pharmacies so safety-net providers can access the resources they need for their pandemic response.
“These steps would provide safety-net hospitals with much-needed assistance and flexibility to focus their attention on the growing patient treatment needs presented by COVID-19,” said 340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni.
Many 340B hospitals already are on the front lines of the nation’s response to the pandemic, and many more will be called on for care as the disease spreads. 340B drug savings provide these hospitals with resources they use to treat patients with low incomes and those living in rural communities.
In a separate letter to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), which administers the 340B program, 340B Health asked the agency to stop all new audits of 340B covered entities and postpone audits in progress. The letter also requests that HRSA post an emergency declaration on its 340B website outlining how it applies during this public health emergency.
“Safety-net hospitals are proud to serve our patients and our nation in this time of crisis. The 340B program enables us to stretch our resources to make sure all patients get the care they need when they need it,” Testoni said.
Contact: Richard Sorian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-536-2285.