May 2, 2018—Children make up one of the key groups of people who are helped by the 340B drug pricing program. At JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas, a commitment to use 340B to benefit some of the health system’s youngest patients is on full display.
JPS is the safety net hospital system for Tarrant County. Using the $50 million in savings that it gets through the 340B program, JPS not only provides affordable medications for patients, but it also runs a home health program for those who need such care, a mobile clinic for homeless members of the community, and a school-based clinic program.
For Nicole Shoquist, the JPS chief pharmacy officer, the school-based clinics are one of the best examples of just how far 340B can help providers stretch limited resources to meet the health care needs of their communities. The clinics are located on the campuses of local elementary and junior high schools, where they provide both primary and acute care to any students and their siblings who need it – roughly 43,000 students receive services there.
Shoquist, the newest profile in our Faces of 340B video series, knows well that focusing on childhood health in the community results in healthier, more productive adults. And that means savings for the entire health system that might not be immediately evident if one only focuses on the amount of drug discounts at the beginning of the process.
For one particularly vulnerable elementary school student, the in-house clinic made the difference in his being able to attend school in the first place, Shoquist says. Thanks to the clinic providing acute respiratory disease care and follow-up primary care for asthma, the patient received the interventions he needed right on the school property. “We were able to keep him healthy and in class, and he’s a thriving student now,” she says.
JPS would need to scale back or end some of its community services if the 340B program were to be eliminated, Shoquist says. Those scale-backs could threaten the ability of the system to use such innovative ideas as school-based clinics to keep kids healthy and help turn them into healthy adults.
Check out Shoquist’s video profile at our Faces of 340B website.