The House Energy and Commerce Committee has advanced legislation that would have major impacts on payments in the 340B drug discount program, and providers are not pleased with the potential changes.
A pair of bills include provisions that would mandate additional reporting requirements for providers in the 340B program. Hospitals would now have to report by location the total number of patients who receive 340B drugs by payer, payments, total cost and savings.
The Department of Health and Human Services could impose penalties on providers that do not comply with the reporting requirements. The American Hospital Association (AHA) said in a statement that these changes, if implemented, would be "onerous."
"The proposal would impose new and burdensome reporting requirements that would require hospitals to implement a number of new programs and systems to collect data at each outpatient location where 340B drugs may be dispensed or administered," the group said in a statement.
"None of these data points individually or collectively will tell the full story of how 340B hospitals use the program to benefit the patients and communities they serve," the AHA added.
340B Health, a group that counts providers in the program as its members, also called the proposed reporting requirements "burdensome and misleading."
“340B hospitals strongly oppose House legislation imposing burdensome reporting requirements because they will undermine the program’s mission and provide a misleading picture of the real impact that savings have on care for patients and vulnerable communities in need," Maureen Testoni, CEO of 340B Health, said in a statement. "We will work with lawmakers to ensure they fully understand the adverse implications of these onerous requirements and urge them to reject them if they come to the House floor.”
The AHA also pushed back on other provisions in these pieces of legislation. For one, the organization said phased-in site-neutral payments would equal a $54.2 million cut to hospitals in the first year and $3 billion over the next decade.
The proposal builds on existing site-neutral payment policies the AHA said have already hobbled hospitals' finances.
"This legislation also fails to account for the fundamental differences between [hospital outpatient departments] and other sites of care," the AHA said. "The cost of care delivered in hospitals and health systems takes into account the unique benefits that they provide to their communities."
Hospitals also treat patients who are sicker and who have more chronic conditions compared to physicians' offices or ambulatory surgical centers, according to the statement.
"Hospitals are better equipped to handle complications and emergencies, but this often requires the use of additional resources that other settings do not typically provide," the organization added. "Hospital facilities also must comply with a much more comprehensive scope of licensing, accreditation and other regulatory requirements compared to other sites of care."