340B Health

Hundreds of Hospital CEOs Call on Congressional Leaders to Protect 340B

in 340B Health News Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.—CEOs representing more than 700 hospitals and health systems participating in the 340B drug pricing program signed a letter delivered today to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate urging Congress to protect the program.

340B requires drug manufacturers to provide discounted medications to hospitals, health centers, and other health care providers that serve disproportionate numbers of low-income and rural patients. The discounts allow safety-net hospitals to stretch their resources to serve more patients and provide more services to them.

“Americans are right to be upset with the high prices being charged for new and existing drugs, and cutting back the 340B program would make these problems much worse,” the CEOs state in the letter. “We are concerned about recent regulatory actions that have reduced the reach of this vital program and by legislative proposals that would undo more than two decades of bipartisan work to preserve the health care safety net.”

The CEOs are the leaders of safety-net hospitals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and they represent some of the largest nonprofit health systems in the country as well as some of the smallest rural hospitals. Despite their differences in size and location, these systems and hospitals are united in their support for 340B and in their commitment to use the program for the benefit of the patients they serve. To see a list of the hospitals represented by these CEOs, click here.

Independent research shows that 340B hospitals use program savings to benefit patient care directly, whether by providing free or discounted medications and services to patients who can’t afford them, or by offering critical specialty services that are uncompensated or not fully reimbursed. 340B hospitals provide 60 percent of all uncompensated and unreimbursed care in the U.S. while representing only 38 percent of acute care hospitals. For most rural hospitals participating in the program, 340B savings are the difference between staying open to the community and closing their doors. The program discounts represent less than 2 percent of drugmakers’ revenues and support care at no cost to the U.S. taxpayers.

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, EdD, Executive VP & COO, Ascension Health, St. Louis, Mo.:
“As the largest non-profit health system in the nation, our Mission calls upon us to provide compassionate, personalized care to all persons, with special attention to those most in need. The 340B drug pricing program is crucially important to many organizations, including ours, for serving the health needs of low-income, rural, and inner-city patients nationwide. Ascension devotes all the savings we receive from the program to stretch finite resources in support of services for those most vulnerable, including operating charity pharmacies and clinics, and prescription drug assistance programs. We also use the savings to invest in collaborative disease prevention programs and partnerships in the communities we serve. We urge Congress to preserve the 340B program and take steps to make prescription drugs affordable.”

Peter Fine, President & CEO, Banner Health, Phoenix, Ariz.:
“Twenty-two of our 28 hospitals in six states participate in 340B, so we know very well how important it is to protect this assistance for our patients. In our larger disproportionate share hospitals, the program enables us to provide a wider range of comprehensive services to people who are uninsured and traditionally underserved – services that would need to be scaled back along with any 340B reductions. For our more rural critical access hospitals, cuts to 340B would threaten the only places for people in the communities to get their care in the first place.”

John Couris, CEO, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, Fla.:
“We use 340B to help provide comprehensive health services regardless of patients’ ability to pay. This is critical for Tampa General Hospital, which provides 21 percent of the charity care cost in the greater Tampa Bay market. Our savings go directly toward patient care, including free or discounted medications at our top-ranked organ transplant center and discharge prescriptions that keep patients healthy after they leave the hospital. Those are critical benefits to TGH from a program that doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything.”

Joseph Smith, CEO, Boone County Hospital, Boone, Iowa:
“Congress must protect 340B. Savings from the program are what allow a small, rural hospital such as ours to provide critical services – hyperbaric wound care, outpatient infusion therapies, baby delivery – to some of the most vulnerable patients in central Iowa. We also can provide tens of millions of dollars in care every year that is not compensated. Without this resource, patients would need to drive long distances to receive services from the next available facility, and we worry that many of them would not obtain that care at all.”

Maureen Testoni, Interim President & CEO, 340B Health, Washington, D.C.:
“The health care leaders whose voices are heard through this effort represent many different hospitals but share a unified mission to serve the best interests of patients who traditionally have been underserved. 340B is a vital resource to further that mission. 340B savings might allow a major nonprofit system to implement a comprehensive cancer, HIV/AIDS, or opioid addiction treatment program, or they might prevent a small, rural facility from shutting down. In both cases, rolling back the program would weaken the safety net and harm patient access to needed care.”

Contact: Richard Sorian at (202) 536-2285 or richard.sorian@340bhealth.org