Ten Groups Urge Congress to PAUSE Government Program Used to Pad Hospitals' Bottom Line

Thursday, May 3, 2018 Hospital News
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Groups applaud California Representative Scott Peters for bipartisan legislation that will protect vulnerable patients

PETALUMA, Calif., May 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today a group of 10 organizations who provide vital

health care and community services and resources to patients across the state publicly applauded California Representative Scott Peters (D-52) for his leadership protecting patients by reining in the out of control government program known as 340B.

Established by Congress in 1992 with bipartisan support, the 340B drug discount program requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to discount prescriptions for qualifying hospitals and clinics that serve large populations of uninsured, low-income, or vulnerable patients—with the understanding that these hospitals will use the savings to expand access to care to patients in need.

The 340B drug discount program, however, is not operating as Congress intended; and the hospitals and clinics instead often use the savings to pad their bottom lines.

"The program is having an especially drastic negative effect on California's cancer care programs, where small cancer clinics are being acquired by large 340B hospitals, forcing patients to pay 60 percent more in treatment costs" stated Bill Remak, Chair of the California Hepatitis C Task Force. "In California alone, 124 community cancer clinics have been negatively affected—whether through closing their doors or being acquired the hospitals in question."

Fortunately for America's vulnerable patients, California Representative Scott Peters (D-52), along with Indiana Representative Larry Bucshon (R-08), have developed a solution.

As introduced, House Bill 4710, called the "340B Protecting Access for the Underserved and Safety-Net Entities Act," or "340B PAUSE Act," will put a temporary pause on new enrollment into the 340B program. This temporary moratorium would allow Congress the time necessary to evaluate the program and come-up with workable solutions moving forward.

The 340B PAUSE Act would also require basic data reporting from hospitals to ensure the savings are put toward growing access to care for these vulnerable patients—increasing the transparency the program desperately needs.

"The Hepatitis C Task Force led the effort to publicly recognize and thank Congressman Peters for standing up for patients and demanding change within the 340B program to ensure its longevity of the program to continue to provide the most vulnerable Californians the medications they need", continued Remak.  "The California Hepatitis C Task Force sent a group letter to Congressman Peters along with American Medical Women's Association, Applied Pharmacy Solutions, California Association of Area Agencies on Aging, California Health Collaborative, ICAN, International Cancer Advocacy Network, International Association of Hepatitis Task Forces, International Foundation For Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis, Legacy Health Strategies, and the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California applauding him for his leadership demanding increased oversight and greater accountability by Congress of the 340B program.  California's vulnerable patients including those living with hepatitis C and other liver related diseases deserve better, and the 340B PAUSE Act is the first step in safeguarding their access to life saving treatments and cures."

For more information about 340B reform efforts including the PAUSE Act visit www.340breform.org.

For more information about the California Hepatitis C Task Force visit www.Californiahcvtaskforce.org. 

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ten-groups-urge-congress-to-pause-government-program-used-to-pad-hospitals-bottom-line-300642223.html

SOURCE California Hepatitis C Task Force

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