CMS MUST WITHDRAW ITS BURDENSOME PLAN TO SURVEY 340B HOSPITALS ON DRUG ACQUISITION COST DATA
WASHINGTON, D.C.— 340B Health urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to withdraw its plan to survey hospitals participating in the 340B drug pricing program on their drug acquisition costs, saying it is in violation of Medicare statute and would be too burdensome for 340B hospitals.
In public comments filed with CMS, 340B Health says the government’s plan to use the survey data to reduce what Medicare pays for outpatient drugs at 340B hospitals would “dramatically break with over two decades of Medicare payment policy” in a way that would undermine hospitals’ ability to treat patients living with low incomes. In 2018, CMS reduced Medicare Part B payments to most 340B hospitals by nearly 30 percent, and those cuts are still in effect today despite two federal court rulings that the reductions were unlawful. An appeal of those verdicts is pending.
The comment letter also notes CMS plans to collect cost data only from 340B hospitals. “CMS does not have the authority under the Medicare statute to conduct a survey of just 340B hospitals to determine drug acquisition costs,” the letter states.
Finally, CMS’s proposal to collect data from each provider-based department of a hospital would create a “massive burden” on hospitals without yielding useful data on where a drug is administered or establishing a meaningful relationship to acquisition costs. CMS proposes to ask 340B hospitals for data on more than 1,100 national drug codes, the letter notes. “For a given quarter, there easily can be hundreds of thousands of units of data hospitals would need to report to CMS,” it adds.
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