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July 10, 2015 News Headlines

GAO Report Critical of 340B Program Fails to Account for Basic Characteristics of Patients and Providers

This week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the 340B Drug Pricing Program, arguing that it creates incentives among participating hospitals to drive up drug spending.   HANYS’ examination of the GAO report and its methodology concludes that the study is faulty in fundamental ways, as it fails to account for patient and provider characteristics central to the question of the purpose and benefits of the 340B program.

The American Hospital Association (AHA), in a recent blog post, joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in comments made to GAO, in expressing concern that GAO’s methodology has serious flaws, including inadequately accounting for patient health status and outcomes.

AHA aptly points out that given “the increasingly high-cost of pharmaceuticals, the 340B program is crucial to helping provide low-cost pharmacy services to vulnerable patients, and it remains a critical component of helping safety-net healthcare providers create healthier communities.”

The GAO report does indicate that 340B-participating hospitals as a class have lower outpatient Medicare margins and provide more uncompensated care than other hospitals.

The report was developed at the request of a member of Congress the GAO does not name.  The 340B program has been under scrutiny on Capitol Hill as of late.  During deliberations of the 21st Century Cures bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee there was debate about increased oversight of the program, augmented audits, and tightened eligibility and benefits.   The full House passed the Cures bill today and the 340B amendments were not included, thanks to advocacy by HANYS, members, and advocacy partners.

HANYS strongly encourages members who participate in the 340B program to tell members of Congress how the program benefits patients and communities at a time when drug prices continue to increase. For more on 340B program basics, members may access HANYS’ 340B issue paper. Contact: Susan Van Meter


Doctors Across New York Cycle 4 RFA Released; July 31 Deadline

The Department of Health (DOH) has released the request for applications (RFA) for Cycle 4 of the Doctors Across New York (DANY) program.  Approximately 105 Practice Support awards and 71 Loan Repayment awards are anticipated.  HANYS successfully advocated for the funds in this year’s state budget.

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and will be accepted from July 8 through July 31. Applicants must email applications to gme@health.ny.gov.   Unlike previous solicitations, there is no “blackout” period and DOH can answer questions about the application.

Hospitals/health systems are permitted to submit two applications per operating certificate.  All applications must be submitted by an individual physician, with the exception of Practice Support Program applications to recruit new physicians.

The DANY program was created in 2008 to help recruit and retain eligible physicians who are willing to work in under-served parts of the state. The Physician Practice Support Program provides $100,000 for a two-year commitment and can be used for things such as loan repayment, sign-on bonuses, and equipment purchases.  The Physician Loan Repayment Program provides up to $150,000 for a five-year commitment. Contact:  Sherry Chorost


NYS Triple Aim: HANYS Highlights How Eastern Long Island Hospital Offers Services for Seniors

Eastern Long Island Hospital offers the Senior Options and Solutions (SOS) program to meet the needs of the vulnerable residents in their community who need assistance with independent living.  This program provides assistance to older adults, families, and caregivers who need help answering healthcare questions, identifying patient needs, and accessing necessary services. To learn more, read the full story here.  This story is just one of the many initiatives profiled on HANYS’ NYS Triple Aim website that demonstrate how New York healthcare providers are improving population health, enhancing the quality of patient care, and reducing the cost of healthcare despite fiscal constraints.  Contact: Shannon Hutton