Providers get their chance this week to tell federal officials what they think of a plan to curtail spending in a popular, yet controversial, drug discount program.The Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment is holding a meeting Monday at CMS headquarters. It plans to discuss the agency's proposal to reimburse hospitals 22.5% less than the average sales price for drugs acquired under the 340B program. The current payment calculation mimics Medicare's long-standing policy—6% on top of the average sales price.
Providers now use savings from the federal program to provide ongoing care management for conditions ranging from HIV to diabetes. The proposed cut, which was suggested in a July proposed rulemaking, would essentially reimburse hospitals what they are paying drug companies for products under the program thus eliminating the surplus funds intended to create and sustain care programs for the poor. The move would save the government approximately $900 million in 2018.
Officials from MedStar Health, which has hospitals in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, will be speaking on behalf of the industry on the potential impact of the proposed cut.
The health system will argue that the reduction "harms the very hospitals that serve our most vulnerable citizens," according to a copy of their remarks posted on the CMS website.
The panel consists of up to 15 members who represent the provider community. They will make a recommendation at the meeting based on feedback from MedStar and others who may speak on what the CMS should do with the 340B program.