340B hospitals balk at giving pricing, payment info to CMS

Hospitals participating in the 340B drug discount program are urging CMS to withdraw plans to collect pricing and payment information from them.

In September, CMS announced plans to collect drug acquisition cost data from 340B hospitals for specified covered outpatient drugs. The agency seeks to use the data to adjust payment rates for 340B-acquired drugs.

But 340B Health — which represents more than 1,400 public and nonprofit hospitals that participate in the federal drug pricing program — argues that the CMS plans violate the Medicare statute and would negatively affect 340B hospitals.

"We strongly oppose payment at average acquisition cost for 340B hospitals by Medicare, a move that reverses more than 20 years of Medicare payment policy," the membership organization wrote Nov. 27 in a letter to CMS. "Furthering this policy will continue to harm safety-net hospitals and the low-income patients they serve, as well as significantly undermine the 340B program, which has been supporting these hospitals and their patients for decades."

The "proposal would be particularly problematic for the 340B hospitals that CMS exempted from the Part B payment reductions due to the unique patient populations that these hospitals serve," 340B Health added.

The CMS plans to collect drug acquisition cost data came after a federal court in December ruled that the federal government isn't authorized to adjust payment rates for 340B-acquired drugs.

CMS appealed the decision and seeks the information regardless of whether it wins the appeal. 

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