U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced legislation that would provide certainty to hospitals participating in the 340B drug discount program during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“The 340B program has been critical to South Dakota hospitals that are relying on the certainty it provides – especially during this ongoing health crisis,” said Thune. “This commonsense and targeted measure would ensure that no hospital that is currently eligible for the 340B program can lose eligibility due to a reduction in hospitalizations during the pandemic. I urge my colleagues to support this important and timely legislation.”
“Michigan’s hospitals and health care providers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they have the resources they need to save lives,” said Stabenow. “The 340B program helps safety-net providers care for patients by reducing pharmaceutical costs. Our bipartisan bill ensures that the COVID-19 crisis doesn’t impact health care providers’ ability to participate in the program.”
“The 340B drug pricing program has been an important tool for Ohio’s hospitals throughout the years, providing them with the flexible resources needed to meet the ongoing needs of their communities without a penny from the federal government,” said Portman. “As the ongoing pandemic disrupts our health care system, we must ensure that programs like the 340B program can be there to support our hospitals and our communities. I’m proud to support this bill so that we can ensure that our hospitals can continue to use the program throughout and after the pandemic.”
“Our hospitals, health care workers, and the patients they serve need certainty during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and we must work together to limit disruptions to our health care system,” said Baldwin. “The 340B program has served Wisconsin well by helping to lower drug prices for hospitals and health clinics serving vulnerable communities that would otherwise not be able to afford prescription drugs. This bipartisan legislation has the support of leading Wisconsin hospitals and it has my support as well because it ensures that hospitals currently eligible for the 340B program have the certainty of being able to maintain eligibility throughout this pandemic. Let’s get this done so hospitals can continue providing lower cost health care services to those in need.”
“Our health care safety net providers are needed now more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, and the 340B program is an essential tool for them to stretch limited resources,” said Capito. “I’m proud to introduce this bill to help to ensure that bureaucratic hurdles do not put care in jeopardy and look forward to moving this across the finish line.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color,” said Cardin. “Extending eligibility to the 340B program is essential for these safety net providers to continue to serve these vulnerable populations, especially during this public health crisis.”
The COVID-19 public health emergency resulted in many hospitals experiencing a reduction in inpatient hospital admissions of low-income Medicare and Medicaid patients, a critical metric in determining eligibility for the 340B program. Though hospitals have started resuming elective procedures, and patients have begun returning to seek care, there is concern that as a result of this year’s slowdown, some hospitals may not meet the required inpatient admission threshold to remain in the program for the following year. This legislation would ensure that any previously eligible hospital will be deemed eligible for any cost reporting period during which the public health emergency occurred.