340B Health


in 340B Health News Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.— 340B hospitals are using savings from the drug pricing program to support innovative approaches to caring for people living with diabetes. A new report from 340B Health profiles seven safety-net hospitals across the country that are focusing particular attention on diabetes, which affects more than one in 10 Americans.

With the prevalence of diabetes on the rise in the U.S., these 340B hospitals are focusing on four priorities:

  • Providing free or low-cost insulin and supplies to people with low incomes who cannot afford the rising cost of that lifesaving treatment;
  • Helping diabetic patients manage their disease so that they can live healthier, fuller lives;
  • Educating people with diabetes on the proper use of insulin, glucose monitors, and other key supplies; and
  • Conducting community education programs to help people prevent development of diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 34.2 million people have diabetes, and another 88 million adults ages 18 years or older have prediabetes. At the same time, the cost of insulin, a key element of diabetes treatment, has risen sharply in recent years, causing some patients to ration their use of the drug at grave risk to their health. According to the Health Care Cost Institute, patients with Type 1 diabetes paid more than $5,700 on average for insulin in 2016, double the cost in 2012.

Hospitals participating in 340B purchase many outpatient drugs at discounted prices and use the savings to invest in treating more patients and offering more comprehensive services. These hospitals provide more than 60% of all uncompensated and unreimbursed care in the U.S., despite accounting for only 38% of acute care hospitals in the country.

The report profiles programs at seven hospitals in six states:

  • The CHI Franciscan Health System operates eight 340B hospitals in Washington State. It works to ensure access to insulin for any patient with diabetes discharged who is uninsured or underinsured. Discharged patients receive a glucometer and a one-month supply of insulin purchased with 340B savings. A pharmacy technician works with patients to obtain assistance with copayments or to obtain prescriptions for diabetes and other diseases they may have for no charge or on a sliding scale at one of four hospital-owned pharmacies.
  • Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah, found that when costs were a barrier to treatment, diabetes outcomes could be catastrophic, with eye, kidney, and/or limb damage. It launched a program that provides diabetes medication at low cost to eligible patients at qualified sites. The clinic initially provided access to two different types of insulin but has been able to expand its formulary to 20 to 30 types as the savings from 340B have grown. It now provides short- and long-acting insulins as well as oral and injectable formulations.
  • At Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., 340B savings are used to provide education, medication assistance, and ongoing follow-up for patients with diabetes. A monthly diabetes training is offered for pregnant women as well as for people with Type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Care Center (CDCC) trains patients in how to track and control their blood glucose levels.
  • Schenectady’s Ellis Medicine in New York State has opened two endocrinology clinics to provide dedicated care sites for people with diabetes, offering comprehensive diabetes services that include education, prevention, and disease management. The endocrinology clinics also serve as medication access hubs, providing uninsured and underinsured patients affordable access to insulin and other medications.
  • At MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, patients who have emergency department visits or admissions to the hospital for diabetes-related issues are assigned a Community Health Advocate to assure that the patient has an appointment with a primary care provider (PCP) within seven days. The PCP then arranges any needed appointments with the endocrinologist.
  • UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., embedded two pharmacy liaisons in their diabetes clinic to focus on improving medication adherence and affordability for patients while enhancing the clinic staff’s ability to focus on patient care and education.
  • In Salt Lake City, University of Utah Health embeds pharmacists in each of its primary care clinics to provide medication management and education support for diabetes and other diseases. Dieticians, endocrinologists, family physicians, and others focus on the dietary, diagnostic, and broader medical management for the patient. About 2,500 patients receive medication management and education through this program at any one time, with more than 50,000 patients served per year.

“These hospitals provide examples of the kind of life-saving work that many 340B hospitals are able to offer due to the savings from their discounted drug purchases. Hospitals across the country report that these programs are leading to impressive results in improving the lives of their patients and communities,” said 340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni.

Read the report and see our infographic summarizing the key findings.

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