340B Health

Faces of 340B

Craig Ortego, Vice President of Oncology Services, Lafayette General Health System, La.

Patients in rural communities often face challenges in affording specialty care and getting to specialists who practice many miles away. Craig Ortego, vice president of oncology services at Lafayette General Health System in the south-central region of Louisiana, shares how his system has used 340B savings to address these issues in the communities it serves by opening seven rural satellite offices that focus on cancer care. Lafayette’s rural satellite offices have enabled it to provide cancer treatment to patients faster and in the earlier stages of the disease. 340B savings also have played a key role in the health system working with other hospitals outside its area to provide patients with even more expanded access to care. Lafayette offers virtual tumor boards, which are a group of multidisciplinary oncology specialists to review treatment options, so patients don’t have to drive to New Orleans or Houston to decide on the correct course of treatment or assess their progress. Ortego believes scaling back 340B would be catastrophic to Lafayette’s older, lower-income rural patients. Without access to these satellite facilities, patients likely would wait too long to receive the care they need to survive.