As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S., safety net hospitals face unique challenges caring for their communities. With ever-growing concerns about access to personal protective equipment, ventilators, medication, and staff, these healthcare facilities will need support to continue providing care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Despite legislation intended to ease the financial burden of this public health emergency, many healthcare facilities will experience a loss of revenue combined with the higher costs of dealing with a pandemic, resulting in financial burdens for many safety net healthcare providers already struggling to survive.
Established in 1992 under Section 602 of the Veterans Health Care Act, the 340B Drug Pricing Program allows eligible hospitals, health centers, and clinics (covered entities) to access covered outpatient drugs at reduced prices from manufacturers participating in Medicaid. The 340B program is intended to enable covered entities to stretch scarce federal resources, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services. The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) is responsible for administering the 340B program. To purchase drugs at the 340B price, covered entities must continuously meet the following requirements:
- Maintain auditable records.1
- Keep the 340B OPA Information System (340B OPAIS) accurate and up to date.
- Complete yearly recertification.
- Prevent diversion of 340B drugs to ineligible patients.2
- Prevent duplicate discounts.3
- Do not participate in group purchasing organization (GPO) purchases of covered outpatient drugs for applicable entity types.4
- Prepare for 340B program audits.