As a participant in the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program, Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) was able to funnel close to $1.6 million into services directly impacting patient care last year, including cancer and infusion therapy services.
The 340B Drug Pricing Program allows eligible health care entities to purchase outpatient drugs from pharmaceutical companies at significantly reduced costs. These health care entities can then roll the saved funds into patient care. At GRMC, the 340B program enables the hospital to provide specialty care, such as cancer and infusion services provided at the James and Shirley Bailey WVU Medicine Cancer Center at GRMC. The savings also support the hospital’s Caring Program, which provides uncompensated charity care for patients in need.
“The 340B program plays an important role in our ability to stretch our funding dollars to better meet the needs of our community,” says Lance Rhodes, GRMC’s Director of Pharmacy Services. “It’s had a significant and positive impact on the care we provide, and it’s critical that it continues.”
The 340B is a national program that has been available for use by eligible health care institutions since Congress passed legislation creating it in 1992. While its impact nationally is significant, as is the fact that it requires no tax dollars, each year Congress considers eliminating the program or reducing it significantly.
In 2019, GRMC provided close to $5 million in uncompensated and/or charity care for patients from throughout the hospital’s 8-county, 3-state service area. The loss of the 340B program would have a compelling and negative impact on the hospital moving forward.
“The 340B program is an example of federal legislation that helps the community without the use of tax dollars,” Mr. Rhodes concludes. “340B requires drug manufacturers to sell us pharmaceuticals at a greatly reduced rate, and we in turn take those savings and invest them in patient care. It’s a good program that has significantly impacted the community.”