Out is in; in is out

Re­form law low­ers drug prices—for out­pa­tient only

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jen­nifer Lubell

The health­care re­form law opens the door for more hos­pi­tals to pur­chase dis­counted drugs through a govern­ment pro­gram, though some in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives say the ab­sence of an in­pa­tient drug op­tion will re­duce its sav­ings po­ten­tial and dis­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion.

While pleased that some types of crit­i­calac­cess, chil­dren’s and can­cer hos­pi­tals will be able to pur­chase out­pa­tient drugs at lower prices through Med­i­caid’s 340B dis­count drug pro­gram, the Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion and oth­ers in the in­dus­try were dis­ap­pointed that law­mak­ers chose to leave out in­pa­tient drug pur­chas­ing from the pro­gram changes passed as part of the health­care re­form pack­age.

The 340B pro­gram al­lows hos­pi­tals serv­ing large num­bers of low-in­come and unin­sured pa­tients to pur­chase their out­pa­tient drug sup­plies through the same man­u­fac­tur­ers’ re­bate pro­gram used by Med­i­caid. By law, drug­mak­ers are re­quired to pro­vide the dis­count to Med­i­caid.

The in­clu­sion of in­pa­tient drugs in the law def­i­nitely would have low­ered costs for hos­pi­tals and pa­tients and saved the fed­eral govern­ment money, pro­duc­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to pay for other things, said Don May, vice pres­i­dent for pol­icy with the AHA. For these rea­sons, hos­pi­tals will un­doubt­edly be lean­ing on Congress to in­clude in­pa­tient drugs in fu­ture leg­is­la­tion, he said.

Two-hos­pi­tal Tru­man Med­i­cal Cen­ters, Kansas City, Mo., cur­rently par­tic­i­pates in the pro­gram and av­er­ages about $6 mil-

Ryan: 340B presents an op­por­tu­nity for Cot­tage Hos­pi­tal.

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