340B Winter Coalition Conference: Standing Together, Staying Strong



Christopher Clement, 340B ACE
March 1, 2019

At the recent 340B Winter Coalition Conference in San Diego, the message to the near 1,800 attendees was clear: Your 340B program is under attack, and only by working together, sharing best practices, and partnering with the right vendors, can 340B covered entities fend off the political firestorm standing on their doorstep. I was inspired to see a diverse group of covered entities represented in California—from large IDN hospital systems to critically important Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other grantees like Ryan White Clinics, Title X’s and Hemophilia Treatment Centers.

This unity is essential, as the 340B program has been under attack over the previous year, as proposed changes could hit all 340B covered entities very hard. We have all heard numerous stories from entities who care for our nation’s underserved and indigent populations that without the 340B program they would likely not be able to keep their doors open. The increasing pressure on 340B savings for safety-net providers was the overarching theme throughout the conference.

The opening session reviewed 2018 and the high-level of political activity, which was more significant than at any time in the program’s 27-year history. There were four congressional hearings and over a dozen pieces of legislation introduced that brought a high level of scrutiny to all 340B stakeholders. While none of the legislation was passed, a few themes emerged that will likely continue well into 2019: program transparency both for covered entities and manufacturers, limitation of program expansion, and increased reporting by hospital covered entities in the program.

During the breakout sessions, participants shared insights and discussed best practices—including policies and procedures documentation, audit preparedness, and tactics for battling the opioid epidemic. With the call to transparency, entities will be asked to demonstrate how their 340B savings are being used, and conference attendees were encouraged to get ahead of the curve and start documenting everything now.

Taking control of your 340B program

The conference also focused on finding ways for covered entities to regain control of their own programs. Legislative challenges and controversy in the marketplace have impacted how entities manage costs. While CVS has recently backed off their intended plan to cut reimbursement for 340B providers, it is just another example where the covered entities have been placed in the crosshairs of companies targeting their 340B savings.

Much of the discussion around the conference was that covered entities have had enough, and are fighting to retain their 340B savings so they can fulfill their stated purpose of the program: which is, “to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”

 

The time to act is now

Covered entities have to be proactive in protecting 340B for their own organizations and for the industry as a whole. To do this, 340B program administrators should examine who they align with from a business perspective. PSG, for example, has successfully partnered with 340B-eligible organizations all over the country to retain their savings and provide better services to more patients.

PSG is ideally equipped to help covered entities address the challenges of managing a 340B program in today’s chaotic marketplace:

  • PSG is truly independent—the only organizations we align with are our clients.
  • We combine our extensive 340B knowledge and expertise with an innovative suite of 340B technology products, so we can help our clients optimize savings and achieve 100% claims qualification compliance.
  • Our relationships with all leading national and regional chains, as well as specialty and independent pharmacies, enable us to process claims on behalf of our clients providing maximum coverage and increased savings.
  • PSG has partnered with Ted Slafsky, former president of 340B Health for more than 20 years, to work directly with our clients. His legislative expertise and industry connections make him an invaluable resource that PSG clients can lean on for legislative knowledge and guidance.

The 340B program is facing intense pressure on all sides. Members of the 340B community need to act now and work together to ensure the maximum amount of savings is used to serve those who need it most.

Ready to take control of your 340B program? Contact PSG for a complimentary consultation or download our product overview to learn more.

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Chris Clement is a 340B and pharmaceutical industry expert with more than 18 years of knowledge pertaining to wholesale/distribution, independent retail pharmacy, long-term care, and health systems. Prior to joining PSG, Chris was a Senior Portfolio Executive for the 340B Prime Vendor, Apexus, managing wholesaler relationships, escalation contact for the Apexus Answers help desk, as well as serving on the 340B University faculty. Chris also has 14 years of experience working for pharmaceutical wholesaler, AmerisourceBergen, in various capacities, including IT, data analytics, and as a regional manager/sales trainer of the company’s generics Rx solution. Chris is finalizing his Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Organizational Leadership and is an Apexus Certified Expert (ACE) on 340B operations.