April 3, 2020 – The math is clear to Pete Hamilton on how the 340B drug pricing program benefits underserved patients and the safety-net hospitals who care for them. As the pharmaceutical director for Genesis Healthcare System in southeastern Ohio, he provides some telling numbers when he discusses how his system is using the program for the community’s benefit.
“Genesis currently provides $28 million in uncompensated, low-income, indigent care, and community benefit to our patients,” Pete said. “You can see very quickly that the $20 million in savings that we have for the 340B program goes a long way to try to offset some of that community benefit and uncompensated care.”
Pete is the latest profile in our Faces of 340B series. One of the services that Genesis can provide with the help of 340B is the system’s respiratory care program, which serves a six-county, mostly rural community where coal mining remains a major industry. Within the respiratory care program is a certified black lung clinic that treats patients who have conditions associated with mining work.
The Genesis black lung clinic provides specialized services that include pulmonary rehabilitation and counseling as well as patient support such as improved medication access and help with social needs directly related to patient health status. 340B savings are enabling the black lung clinic to operate year-round, because the clinic’s main funding source is a government grant that only supports the operation of the clinic for nine months each year. This demonstrates how 340B helps stretch the clinic’s hours of operation so it can meet the community’s needs.
One Stop for Care
When thinking about the patients who have benefited from 340B, Pete shares that Genesis also uses 340B savings to help operate an anticoagulation clinic that is a one-stop source of care for patients with blood clotting challenges.
“The patient visits the clinic, they get seen by the pharmacist, they get their drug, they get their testing,” Pete says. “Everything is done in one place. Without that, many times those patients may leave the clinic and never get that prescription filled.”
With the anticoagulation clinic ensuring access to medications, Genesis has documented improvements in patient health outcomes. The clinic served nearly 250 patients in 2018 and determined patients’ international normalized ratio (INR), the standard for measuring how quickly a patient’s blood clots. The clinic saw 70 percent of its patients achieve the gold standard measure for INR, which is higher than the national average of 65 percent for these types of patients.
340B savings also have made a difference for Genesis cancer patients. The system is using its 340B savings to support its extensive cancer center, which provides services that aren’t offered elsewhere in the rural community. Without the state-of-the-art care that patients with cancer receive at Genesis, Pete says many would need to drive at least an hour one-way to Ohio’s capital city, Columbus, to receive treatments.
And without 340B, Pete says the health system would be underwater financially. Instead, with 340B’s help, it continues to keep afloat the specialized services that it tailors to the community.
Check out Pete’s video profile on our Faces of 340B page.