340B Health

Faces of 340B

Tiffany Poole, director of pharmacy, Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, Miss.

Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center (SMRMC) is a 160-bed disproportionate share hospital that serves a significant rural population. Patients often travel an hour or more to receive the comprehensive care SMRMC provides. Tiffany Poole is director of pharmacy at SMRMC. Prior to drug company restrictions on 340B discounts for drugs dispensed at community pharmacies, SMRMC planned to use the additional 340B savings from its pharmacy partnerships to expand behavioral health services, offer more patient financial assistance, and establish more preventative screening and medication management services to reduce hospital readmissions. Once the drug company 340B restrictions took effect, Tiffany says some families are being forced to buy a single EpiPen for multiple family members. Others who are on fixed incomes walk out of the pharmacy without medications they need because they cannot afford the hundreds of dollars in increased out-of-pocket costs. Tiffany is concerned that if drug company 340B restrictions continue, more patients will delay seeking care, an increase in unnecessary patient readmissions will occur, and the hospital will have no choice but to reduce the availability of essential health services to its communities.