On March 17, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin unveiled
legislation to protect 340B hospitals from unforeseen changes due to COVID-19.
The legislation is supported by the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) along with a number of health care groups and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including John Thune (R-N.D.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore-Capito (R-W.Va.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Specifically, it would allow 340B hospitals to maintain their 340B eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of fluctuations in patient mixes outside of their control.
“Our hospitals, health care workers and the patients they serve need certainty during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we must work together to limit disruptions to our health care system,” said Sen. Baldwin. “The 340B program has served Wisconsin well by helping to lower drug prices for hospitals and health clinics serving vulnerable communities that would otherwise not be able to afford prescription drugs.”
While the legislation was originally introduced in the middle of the pandemic amidst more uncertainty, the hope is it will be able to pass as an upcoming bill or in an upcoming larger package to provide more certainty as hospitals emerge from the worst of the pandemic.
“The 340B prescription drug discount program helps hospitals stretch scarce federal resources, better enabling them to fulfill their missions of providing life-saving care to their communities. Given the immense challenges COVID has created for hospitals and health systems, more than ever our members are now looking for certainty that important federal programs like 340B will not go away,” said Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “This legislation will give hospitals one less thing to worry about as they continue to fight an unprecedented pandemic by ensuring fluctuations in patient mixes caused by COVID will not threaten their 340B savings. WHA greatly appreciates Senator Baldwin’s leadership on this important issue.”
For more information, contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter