CEO Message

340B and Multiple Federal Issues Simmering

As financial challenges continue to plague California’s hospitals, conversation at the federal level is heating up over 340B, the national discount drug program that serves the most vulnerable patients at nearly 200 hospitals in our state. 

In May, U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), introduced a bill influenced by the pharmaceutical industry’s agenda that would effectively dismantle the 340B program by limiting hospital eligibility, imposing unworkable conditions of participation, and creating onerous and punitive compliance requirements. CHA and the American Hospital Association are strongly opposing this bill.  

Two other bills, one that would strengthen the 340B program by protecting providers’ ability to use contract pharmacies to dispense 340B discounted drugs introduced by U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), and another that would broadly overhaul the mechanics of the 340B program, are at various stages of the federal legislative process. CHA and the American Hospital Association strongly support these measures. 

All of this is leading up to more intense activity around 340B this fall. Several other federal issues — any and all of which could have a significant impact on your ability to care for your community — will be part of the coming debate on Capitol Hill as well, including: 

  • Disproportionate share hospitals 
  • Prior authorization 
  • Rural health care 
  • Site-neutral payments 
  • More 

Be sure to check your inbox in early July for a CHA Alert asking hospital leaders to take time over the summer to meet with your members of Congress. It’s vital that your federal representatives understand how these programs support your ability to deliver care to Californians in need. 

If changes at the federal level get reform wrong, even the smallest changes could leave patients in the lurch.  

The financial challenges that have persisted since the pandemic have left hospital care at its most precarious in decades. Change is needed if these programs, which so many rely on, are to be protected.  

That’s why your engagement is essential — if members of Congress don’t hear the hospital story directly from those who live it every day, and the impact of any legislation on your patients, then decisions could be made in just a few months that will affect patient care for years or even decades.