Weekly Messages From MHA

Weekly Message From MHA

Support 340B Programs for Vulnerable Populations

November 19, 2018 By: Bob Atlas

Caring for the most vulnerable among us is at the heart of our mission each day in Maryland’s hospitals. The federal 340B drug pricing program supports that mission by allowing about half of our hospitals to purchase outpatient drugs at discounted rates. Hospitals can reinvest savings to reduce avoidable utilization and improve outcomes for our patients.

This week, your Maryland Hospital Association shared the news that the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is considering moving up the implementation and compliance date for a key piece of 340B. We’ve been waiting for the Drug Pricing Program Ceiling Price and Civil Monetary Penalties to take effect since early 2017.

The rule establishes the process for calculating the maximum price for drugs acquired under 340B and assessing monetary penalties for drug manufacturers that do not comply. Now, HRSA says it will consider moving the effective date up six months to January 1, 2019.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) and MHA will submit comments in support of this change. We encourage all Maryland 340B hospitals to do the same by the November 23 deadline. Here is a model letter from AHA, and a link to submit your comments.

We’d also like to encourage 340B hospitals to sign onto new principles to ensure good stewardship of the program. Following the principles will help 340B hospitals better demonstrate the immense value of the program for vulnerable patients and communities.

Although Maryland’s hospitals are exempt from OPPS payments, any cuts to 340B may reduce access to health care and limit resources needed to better serve disadvantaged populations.

For help acting upon our 340B recommendations, please contact Brett McCone, vice president.