March 13, 2018—On the eve of an important U.S. Senate hearing on the 340B drug discount program, a new report concludes hospitals in the program treat significantly more low-income patients, provide more uncompensated and unreimbursed care, and are more likely to offer low-income patients the types of critical specialized services that often are not fully reimbursed.
Prepared by L&M Policy Research for 340B Health, the report updates previous research with the most recent available year of federal data.
Among the newest report’s key findings:
- 340B disproportionate share (DSH) hospitals provided 60 percent of all uncompensated and unreimbursed care despite making up only 38 percent of the acute care hospitals in the study
- 340B DSH hospitals treat significantly more low-income patients than non-340B hospitals. Low-income patients made up 42 percent of 340B hospitals’ patient load, compared with 27 percent for non-340B hospitals.
- 340B hospitals provide 52.9 percent more uncompensated and unreimbursed care than non 340B hospitals – that includes charity care, bad debt, and services that are not fully reimbursed by public health plans
- Survey data show that 340B DSH hospitals are more likely to offer services that are critical to low-income patients but often are not fully reimbursed – they include outpatient alcohol and drug abuse services, trauma care, and care for patients with HIV/AIDS.
The report comes two days before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hears testimony about 340B from hospital associations, a health center network, and the drug industry – and as Congress considers legislation to significantly scale back hospital participation in 340B.
340B Health’s new report looked at fiscal year 2015 data from more than 2,500 hospitals, including nearly 1,000 DSH hospitals enrolled in the 340B program, to conclude that the 340B facilities “provide an important community safety net.”
“This report shows the program is working properly, just as Congress intended, by ensuring the safety net hospitals that qualify for the program target their services to low-income patients,” said Ted Slafsky, President and CEO of 340B Health. “As lawmakers debate proposals that could limit the reach of the 340B program, they need to focus on the facts. Proposals to weaken or limit the program would cause real harm to low-income patients who rely on 340B providers for their care.”
340B Health will cite the key results of the report when advocating on behalf of participating hospitals to lawmakers who have proposed significant changes to the 340B program.