340B Resources – Government

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340B Resources – Government

The Government Resources for the 340B Program



If you are a 340B entity, then you know resources are scarce for the 340B program. The primary government resource for the 340B program is the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA). The OPA is part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The OPA is responsible for managing the 340B program implementation with covered entities according to section 340B of the Public Health Service Act. They also have some good information on their site regarding the 340B program. When I need to know specifics about the program, I start with the OPA since they are they manage the program. As a side note, the OPA used to be purely funded through HRSA’s budget (which means it didn’t get too much since their budget for 2011 was decreased from 2010), but in 2011 there was some legislation (starts in 2012) that requires a 340B program user fee of 0.1% of drug cost to be paid by covered entities (the hospital or clinic) to HRSA. To be honest, I think this is a good thing for the program and helping to ensure it will stay around.

The next 340B program resource that is provided by our government is the Pharmacy Services Support Center (PSSC). The PSSC is a joint venture of HRSA/OPA and the American Pharmacist’s Association (APhA). I find this fascinating (a professional organization working with a government organization), but am very proud of APhA for partnering this way. The PSSC serves as the primary access resource for the 340B program. This is probably the third place I go to for 340B information, and the website does provide a lot of good information.

There is another resource that I consider my number two place to go for 340B information (and often number one). It isn’t part of the government, and they do provide some free information; however, the more detailed information is for members. I will provide a separate more detailed post soon on the benefits of Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA). I will say now, that SNHPA is a non-profit organization that plays a critical role in helping the 340B program stay around to benefit the covered entities who rely on the 340B program’s benefits for staying afloat in these difficult times.

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340B Use in a Hopsital Based Synagis Clinic

My 340B hospital has a young demographic and therefore a lot of babies (we are a not for profit 340B DSH hospital). For instance, our average census in our newborn ICU is 42 (and we have seen our census peak at over 60 infants in the last few months). This correlates with a lot of need for Synagis®. Although we usually provide the first dose in the hospital (which does not qualify for 340B pricing), many infants are discharged and need to receive future doses as an outpatient. Many pediatricians do not want to or will not buy and administer Synagis due to high drug cost, marginal reimbursement from Medicaid, and a time consuming prior authorization process. I know, so why in the world would a hospital do it, NOT because we love to create challenging situations where the chance of successful reimbursement requires a lot of staff time. We do it for the babies. These babies could have added protection from a life threatening RSV infection, and so it goes without saying that it is the right thing to do (which is the reason we do a lot of things in healthcare, and the right reason).

What does the 340B program have to do with a Synagis clinic? A lot really. It is difficult to obtain buy-off from administration on a new service if it will lose money (trust me, I have tried). Sure, the insurance companies will cover the cost of the medicine (well, most if the time), but what about physician time, nurse administration, staff time for prior authorization, and everything else that involves getting a medication from the pharmacy to the patient. Not to mention opportunity cost, could we have seen patients that would have had better reimbursement for cost? This is where 340B comes in. With 340B pricing, we can create a win-win for everyone, which ultimately results in better RSV protection for a vulnerable, high-risk group of babies.

Please remember, this is what 340B is supposed to do. . . Help Our Patients! Yes, it helps offset costs for hospitals and clinics who take on a disproportionate share of CMS and indigent patients, but we ultimately need to help our patients.

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Welcome to the 340B Program Blog


We endeavor to share our 340B program experience, including our current trials and tribulations with implementation of the 340B program within our DSH and critical access hospitals.

Our hope is that you will learn with us as we maneuver this will intentioned, but difficult to implement cost savings 340B legislation.

If you are new to 340B and want to learn the basics, then go to our 340B Basics page for more information.