Investigating if 340B Led to Improved Care in Underserved Populations

In the years since its inception, debates around the 340B program have centered on whether savings actually benefit the underserved as intended. A new paper in The American Journal of Managed Care® analyzed secondary data on 340B participation and uncompensated care provision from general acute care and critical access hospitals between 2003 and 2015.

The 340 drug pricing program was first established in 1992 and allows participating hospitals to manufacture discounts on drugs used in an outpatient setting. In years since, federal agencies have clarified savings from the program should be directed at improving care for underserved patients. One method of doing this is providing uncompensated care, or charity care and other unreimbursed care, to uninsured or underinsured patients.

In the years since its inception, debates around the program have centered on whether savings actually benefit the underserved as intended.

To determine whether hospital provision of uncompensated care increased following hospital entry into the 340B program, Sunita M. Desai, PhD, and J. Michael McWilliams, MD, PhD, analyzed secondary data on 340B participation and uncompensated care provision from general acute care and critical access hospitals between 2003 and 2015.

Their study “340B Drug Pricing Program and Hospital Provision of Uncompensated Care,” was published in the October issue of The American Journal of Managed Care® and is now available online.

On this episode of Managed Care Cast, Desai discusses the study’s findings, what they mean, and next steps for the 340B program.

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