Safety net providers, which are losing hundreds of millions of dollars each year in needed savings, don’t have the luxury of time. Neither do the patients that rely on 340B providers for affordable medicine and healthcare services. It’s time for Congress to take action.
For nearly 30 years, the 340B Drug Pricing Program has provided vital financial support to nonprofit hospitals and is now considered an important element of hospital finance in many communities. But a variety of industry and regulatory pressures are making the program increasingly complex. What was once easily managed within the hospital pharmacy department now frequently requires a cross-functional approach involving the hospital finance department, hospital operations and healthcare providers.
There have already been numerous actions in the various legal cases surrounding the 340B drug discount program, including motions to dismiss, requests to intervene, requests for a stay, granting of a stay, joint status reports, friend of the court filings and requests for additional briefings, to name a few. The pharmaceutical industry has been the winner so far on procedural issues.
HRSA’s supposed lack of authority to enforce its 340B guidance is central to the recent debate over the contract pharmacy program. With a new administration, we should expect to see stronger enforcement from HRSA, as well as the possibility of new guidance.
The Autonomous Pharmacy is a bold new vision for the future of medication management for health systems, leveraging automation, intelligence, and technology-enabled services to improve the safety and accuracy of every aspect of the drug delivery process. The goal of this industry movement is to achieve zero-error medication management, while freeing pharmacists to practice at the top of their license.
The Pharmacy of the Future will be defined by superior medication inventory optimization across the continuum of care. Through digital automation, visibility, intelligence, and actionable insights, the hospital pharmacy will improve business and patient satisfaction.
While 340B providers welcomed the December 30 advisory opinion from outgoing Health and Human Services Department (HHS) General Counsel Robert Charrow and have reason to be excited about the incoming Biden administration and the Democratic takeover of the Senate, it will likely take some time for the legal process to play out.
The Democrats' recent sweep of the United States Senate Georgia runoff elections means the Democrats will control both chambers of Congress as well as the White House for the first time since 2010. A number of Democratic leaders in Congress consider this as a clear mandate to aggressively pursue their agenda and enact “bold change.”
As the economic slowdown and rising unemployment levels have disproportionately impacted the underprivileged and uninsured—many that are served by 340B covered entities—the financial pressures are mounting for providers.
The key to successful implementation and adoption of new technology starts with strong program management that can help to build consensus, clearly communicate goals, and leverage KPIs to monitor and measure milestones before, during, and post-implementation.
An estimated 140 bills on drug prices have been introduced in Congress since January 2019; however, partisan differences have precluded passage of any substantive legislation in this area. The inaction by the legislative branch led President Donald Trump to sign on July 24 four executive orders aimed at reducing drug prices and ensuring access to medications.
As health systems continue to adopt new technologies and digital transformations, it often causes a dramatic shift that can be jolting and confusing for staff. Successful adoption of these newer, more sophisticated solutions doesn’t need to be scary or complicated.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.