Faces of 340B
Victor Navarro, MD, Co-Chairman of Digestive Disease and Transplantation, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, PA.
Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia relies on 340B to help it care for a growing population of underserved patients by offering a wide range of vital services. In addition to caring for indigent patients, 85% of Einstein’s patients are covered by Medicaid and/or Medicare. Therefore, 340B helps the hospital fill the gap, says Victor Navarro. As a specialist in hepatology and transplantation, Navarro has seen firsthand how 340B helps patients with substance use disorder and hepatitis C receive direct care. Einstein uses some of its 340B savings to put pharmacists in its outpatient practice that work with patients with hepatitis C to acquire the medications they need quickly, ensure medication side effects are carefully managed or limited, help patients learn about the disease, the treatments they need, and what they can anticipate in the recovery process. Since patients with substance use disorder are at a high risk for hepatitis C, Einstein also uses 340B savings to send outreach personnel into alcohol and opioid treatment programs to connect patients with hepatitis C testing and treatment. Navarro recalls one patient who was so inspired by the care he received at Einstein, that he has become a licensed professional in substance use recovery and therapy and often refers his patients to Einstein so that they can benefit from 340B in the same way he did. Navarro worries that if 340B were to be scaled back, Einstein’s ability to meet its mission of providing “responsive, intelligent care to as many patients as it can reach” would be jeopardized.