Hospitals saved $11.8M thanks to 340B, survey finds

By | June 13, 2019

Dive Brief:

  • The 340B Drug Discount program generated an average savings of $ 11.8 million across all hospitals in 2018, used for uncompensated and unreimbursed care, according to an annual survey from trade group 340B Health.
  • About 90% of hospitals are using those savings to pay for patient care services including pharmacy services and transportation.
  • About 82% of hospitals said losing the savings generated from the 340B program would limit their ability to continue certain programs. Rural hospitals said it could contribute to facility closures.

Dive Insight:

The latest survey comes as the tug of war over attempts to overhaul to the 340B Drug Discount program drags on.  The Trump administration has taken aim at the program, seeking 30% payment cuts. The pharmaceutical industry has launched a lobbying campaign to boost those efforts and bipartisan members of Congress have also expressed skepticism about accountability.

In May, a federal judge struck down the cuts HHS implemented this year to the 340B program, arguing the change was outside of the agency’s authority.

The program was established in 1992 to allow certain hospitals to receive discounts on outpatient drugs to care for the poor. But it has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers and the pharmaceutical industry’s trade group, PhRMA

PhRMA contends that not all hospitals are “good stewards of the program,” though it says it supports the intent of the program to help the poor access medicine. PhRMA has called for reforms to the program including more oversight of the hospitals in the program. 

PhRMA commissioned its own study on the program, which found the program costs patients more in the long run. 

About 1,300 hospitals in the program were surveyed from November and December of 2018, and many overwhelmingly said cuts to the program would result in cuts to programs or even possibly hospital closures.

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