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New Reg Pushes Medicare Toward Site-Neutral Outpatient Payments

Medicare would make more payments for outpatient services on a site-neutral basis under a newly proposed regulation just released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The 2019 Medicare outpatient prospective payment system regulation, published in proposal form, calls for: paying physician fee schedule rates rather than hospital outpatient rates at excepted off-campus provider-based departments; slashing payments for office visits; extending this year’s 340B prescription drug discount payments, already cut nearly 30 percent this year, to additional providers; and raising ambulatory surgical center rates and expanding the list of procedures that can be performed in such facilities so they [&hellip

HHS Chief Says 340B Changes are Coming

Health care providers and drug manufacturers should expect changes in the section 340B prescription drug discount program in the near future. That was the message conveyed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a recent conference held by the 340B Coalition. The 340B program, which provides discounts on the prescription drugs dispensed on an outpatient basis by eligible providers to their low-income patients, has become increasing controversial in recent years as it has expanded and pharmaceutical companies have objected to the discounts they must provide. Among the changes Azar suggested are coming are greater accountability among participating hospitals [&hellip

Energy and Commerce to Look at 340B Today

The Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing today to review various proposals to alter the 340B prescription drug discount program. That program enables hospitals that care for especially large numbers of low-income patients to receive discounts on prescription drugs that they dispense on an outpatient basis to low-income patients. Among the issues the Health Subcommittee is expected to consider are whether hospitals are using these discounts to benefit their low-income patients and whether the extent of the discounts the pharmaceutical industry is required to provide result in increased prescription drug costs for others. [&hellip

GAO Recommends Changes in Oversight of 340B Program

The federal Government Accountability Office is recommending that the Department of Health and Human Services improve its oversight of the 340B prescription drug discount program. That program was created by Congress to help safety-net providers obtain discounts on prescription drugs they dispense to low-income patients on an outpatient basis.  Those discounts are provided by pharmaceutical companies and not paid for with taxpayer money. The 340B program has been controversial in recent years, and in response to a request from Congress for the GAO to look into the contract pharmacies that operate the 340B programs for many safety-net providers, the GAO [&hellip

NAUH Endorses 340B Bill

In a letter to the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, NAUH has endorsed H.R. 6071, the Stretching Entity Resources for Vulnerable Communities Act (SERV), which was introduced earlier this week by Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA). H.R. 6071 seeks to clarify the intent of the 340B prescription drug discount program and restore $1.6 billion in funding that was eliminated from the program effective January 1. See NAUH’s letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee here. &nbsp

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