Update on 340B

The US House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee met this week to discuss the 340B program. Notes from the meeting are attached. The focus of this hearing was moderation of the program, not cuts.

Of note was a question by Rep. Hudson (NC): “In the 8th district of North Carolina, I have four major hospital networks, each of which uses the 340B program. They have shown me ways they use the program to better serve their patients. One idea I have been exploring to improve the program for the next generation is to move the 340B program up to an administrator level program within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Right now, the program is administered by the office of pharmacy affairs within HRSA, but there is no figurehead for Congress to address their concerns to. Do you foresee any issues in elevating the 340-B program administrator to a senate level confirmed administrator position?” Ms. Debra Draper Director, Health Care Team, U.S. Government Accountability Office, responded: “I haven’t really thought about that, but the more visibility that position has the more helpful it can be for the program.”

NCHA continues to work with members to understand the value of the 340B program and will work to keep you abreast of changes being considered in Congress. Both House and Senate staff have indicated they foresee no changes to the program during the remaining months of this Congress.

It was also reported this week that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are proposing further cuts to the 340B program. The proposed rule would slash by nearly 30 percent Medicare Part B drug payments to 340B hospital outpatient facilities offsite — similar to cuts that took effect in January, but were limited to locations physically connected to participating hospitals. The change is likely to come in the physician fee schedule rule, but could also be made in the hospital outpatient prospective payment system rule. NCHA is reaching out to CMS to discuss the proposal and will likely need member engagement to calculate the ramifications of the cut.

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