Delta Health could cut up to $400,000 per month in expenses after gaining access to the 340B Drug Pricing Program earlier this summer. The federal program requires prescription drug manufacturers participating in Medicaid to provide outpatient drugs at reduced costs to covered health entities.
The hospital gained access on July 1, nearly three months earlier than initial projections. CEO Matt Heyn credited Pharmacy Director Cari Dillon for securing the long-sought win, citing her “in-house” expertise as one reason for the early access.
Additionally, Delta Health’s Sole Community Hospital designation in March not only increased Medicare reimbursements, but also increased the hospital’s chances of qualifying for the discount prescription drug program.
“That’s going to translate to pretty significant dollar savings in our drug costs and our drug spend across the organization,” Heyn told hospital board members during the Delta Health Board of Directors’ June meeting.
Heyn told the Delta County Independent on Thursday that the hospital is starting to see its drug costs “come down a little bit” each month.
“Really what that does for us is it’s an internal mechanism that allows us to buy drugs at a lower cost,” Heyn explained of the program. “That’s been a good benefit to the bottom line of the organization and definitely helping us on this path to financial recovery.”
Three hospital clinics, categorized as “rural healthcare clinics,” were adopted into the hospital-wide program: Delta Family Medicine, Adult Primary Care (Delta) and West Elk Hotchkiss.
For now, Heyn said, patients haven’t really seen the impact of the program. Overall, conversations around the cost of prescription drugs remains between
“They just have a healthier hospital financially because of that program.”
Delta Health is part of nearly 40 hospitals across the state who have joined the drug savings program, including Montrose Regional Health and St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center in Grand Junction.
“Although early in the 340B program, we are always working on ways to reduce costs to patients that we serve,” said hospital spokesperson Jacqueline Davis. Davis noted that the money spent from the program’s savings will be reflected in the reported monthly financial statements.
Although not all hospitals accept Medicare, the vast majority of hospitals–including Delta Health–do, making it so that most hospitals receive federal funds.
On the patient’s end, the cost of a prescription drug is dependent upon their individual insurance and how it’s filled at a retail pharmacy.
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