The AAMC sent a letter to six bipartisan senators on July 13 thanking them for introducing legislation (S. 4160) to protect safety-net hospitals that participate in the 340B program throughout the duration of the public health emergency.
The bill, led by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), would allow 340B hospitals to temporarily maintain their eligibility in the program, even if their Medicare disproportionate share hospital adjustment percentage drops below the current threshold. Many hospitals, including teaching hospitals, could be at risk of losing their eligibility due to changes in payer mix as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the letter, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, says, “This would result in a substantial increase in drug costs for hospitals and a reduction in health care services to patients, all because these providers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased care to their communities.”
Over 120 members of the House of Representatives signed a bipartisan letter urging House leadership to support this issue in May [see Washington Highlights, May 15].