By Lindsay Mehalik
The 15th Annual 340B Coalition Conference took place this week, July 11-13, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. The conference opened on Monday morning with a pre conference session titled “Introduction to the Federal 340B Drug Pricing Program”, which served as an informational meeting for stakeholders new to the 340B program or those in need of a refresher. A number of panelists, including representation from the health center community, presented an overview of the program and details on how it functions in a variety of settings.
The main conference began after lunch and included two sessions: a Federal Government Update and a Legislative Update. Krista Pedley, Director of the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA), spoke briefly on the efforts underway at OPA involving 340B, including the enrollment of 4,300 contract pharmacies and 1,365 new entity sites, bringing total site enrollment around 16,000. She also touched on the development of Patient Definition Guidance, which has now left OPA and is under review in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Lisa Scholz, Vice President of HRSA’s Pharmacy Services Support Center (PSSC) and Chris Hatwig, Vice President of Apexus/340B Prime Vendor Program, also spoke on recent improvements and developments in the 340B program, including technological updates to the HRSA PSSC website, the anticipated September release of a GAO report which will analyze the 340B program, and the launch of the 340B University program.
During the Legislative Update, Kaitlin McColgan, Federal Affairs Director at NACHC, Ted Slafsky, Executive Director of Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA) and Cole Werble, Editor of the RPM Report, discussed the current legislative climate, future legislative goals, and the impact certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act continue to have on the 340B program. Health centers have overwhelmingly shown support for the 340B program, as was shown in a NACHC conducted survey, and time was spent during the update discussing how beneficial the program has been to health center patients. Monday wrapped up with a breakout session for 340B stakeholders, each led by a panel of industry experts discussing 340B stakeholder specific issues.
Many of the sessions occurring during Tuesday and Wednesday of the conference were broken down into three distinct tracks: Operationalizing 340B, 340B Policy and Compliance, and Roundtables, which were tailored to various stakeholders.
Operationalizing 340B conducted sessions related to implementing or improving the 340B program in a hospital or clinical setting, including the following topics: Inventory Management, Contract Pharmacy, Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Programs, Optimizing Pharmacy Savings & Value, and Best Practices in Charity Care Management.
340B Policy and Compliance focused on current policy issues affecting 340B, including Patient Definition, Pricing, Orphan Drugs, Expansion of the Medicaid Program to Managed Care and OPA’s Challenges in Implementing Health Care Reform. Roundtables served as a dedicated small group setting to talk about many of the issues that were discussed by panels in the larger presentations, including Contract Pharmacy and the Prime Vendor Program.
The 15th Annual 340B Coalition Conference wrapped up on Wednesday, July 13, with a look at an OIG study that examined how 340B pharmacies are billing Medicaid, followed by a detailed look at the financial pressures facing Medicaid and what that means for the 340B program. For further information on any of the conference topics, please see the detailed agenda.