340B Health

Faces of 340B

VINNY POLITO, SYSTEM DIRECTOR AMBULATORY PHARMACY SERVICES, CENTURA HEALTH, CO

Like many safety-net health systems, Centura Health has been using the 340B drug pricing program to keep some of its hospitals operating and to serve all patients regardless of their ability to pay. But continuing Medicare cuts to many of these hospitals are straining that important mission.

Centura Health is a 17-hospital system located in Colorado and Western Kansas. St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo., is one of the system’s hospitals that has been affected the most by the nearly 30 percent Medicare Part B cuts that have been in place since 2018. The hospital has been in its community for 125 years but lately has been forced to make drastic reductions to its presence in the area, explains Vinny Polito, Centura Health’s system director of ambulatory pharmacy services.

Vinny notes that when it is allowed to work as intended, the 340B program provides essential support for the patients that Centura serves in both urban and rural areas. The program enables the system to offer such vital patient services as anticoagulation therapy and such important assistance as free medications at discharge to patients living with low incomes.