For the second time in four months, the federal government has announced its intention to collect data from hospitals and other providers on what they pay for the prescription drugs they purchase through the section 340B prescription drug discount program.
Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a notice announcing its intention to collect this data. Previously, health care interests sued CMS when it attempted in 2018 to reduce payments to providers for drugs purchased through the 340B program and the court ruled against CMS, maintaining that the agency did not have enough data on hospitals’ acquisition costs for the drugs to justify the proposed payment reduction. The newly announced data collection effort seeks to rectify that shortcoming as the court considers CMS’s appeal of a similar decision in a lawsuit filed after CMS again proposed reducing 340B payments and was again rebuffed by the courts in 2019.
Under federal law, CMS must publish a notice declaring its intention to collect such data and seek input from stakeholders. For this particular notice, stakeholders have until March 9 to respond.
CMS published a similar notice in September of 2019 announcing its intention to collect similar data. That data collection never took place. NASH opposed that data collection proposal in a formal comment letter to CMS, writing on behalf of private safety-net hospitals that
NASH and the nation’s private safety-net hospitals oppose the proposed collection of data involving the section 340B prescription drug discount program for three reasons:
- we oppose CMS’s continued efforts to reduce 340B reimbursement to eligible hospitals;
- the proposed data collection would be exceptionally burdensome; and
- we disagree with attempting to address a matter still being litigated.
Most private safety-net hospitals participate in the 340B program and consider it a vital tool in serving the many low-income residents of the communities in which they are located.
See NASH’s complete comment letter here.
To learn more about CMS’s 340B data collection effort, see the notice it published in the Federal Register and read the Becker’s Hospital Review article “CMS ready to survey 340B hospitals about drug acquisition costs.”