Faces of 340B
Dan Ryszka, Pharmacy Manager and 340B Coordinator, Kaleida Health, Buffalo, N.Y.
The Buffalo, N.Y., region has historically been home to manufacturing and railroad commerce. In recent years the population has declined and many manufacturing jobs have left the area. “Buffalo is a blue-collar town,” says Dan Ryszka, Pharmacy Manager and 340B Coordinator at Kaleida Health, the largest healthcare provider in Western New York. Nearly 40 percent of Kaleida’s patients are uninsured, under-insured, or on Medicaid. “We have a lot of individuals that are barely making ends meet. They have to decide whether to buy their medications or eat. As one of the leading providers, we want to make sure we can meet our patients’ needs in our community, because this is our home.”
Kaleida relies on money it saves on prescription drugs through its participation in the 340B drug discount program to provide care to low-income patients. For example, it offers free medications to those who otherwise would not be able to afford their prescriptions. “We do counseling by pharmacists prior to discharge so we can have more adherence,” Ryszka says. “We’ll have our discharge planners work with the patients to make sure that they are not only getting a free medication, but they’re going to be appropriately taken care of with an insurance that will meet their needs.”
340B savings also help Kaleida keep its 80 clinics open and increase their pharmacy and other service hours. This has been immensely helpful for working parents who cannot take time off from work to bring their children to appointments. If Kaleida had to close or scale any of its clinics back, patients would have to travel further for appropriate treatment.
“If Kaleida Health were to lose 340B, it would be very detrimental to our patients,” Ryszka says. “Every patient deserves the right to healthcare.”