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.