CMS ready to survey 340B hospitals about drug acquisition costs


CMS has finalized a survey to collect information on drug acquisition costs for hospitals in the 340B drug-pricing program, a survey hospitals in the program have strongly opposed. 

CMS says the survey is to make sure Medicare "pays for specified covered outpatient drugs purchased under the 340B program at amounts that approximate what hospitals actually pay to acquire the drugs." 

In 2018, CMS tried to lower payment to hospitals in the 340B program, which allows hospitals to purchase drugs at a discounted rate so Medicare patients can afford them. 

A federal judge ruled that CMS didn't have the authority to change the payment rates because it hadn't collected enough data on hospitals' acquisition costs to justify the payment rates. In response, CMS proposed to conduct a survey of 340B hospitals to get that information. 

Hospitals in the program have argued that the survey is designed as a way for CMS to slash Medicare Part B reimbursement rates to levels below what is required by federal law. 

CMS must hold a public comment period on the proposed survey before it is given final permission to issue it. The public can comment on the proposed survey through March 9, the agency said in a Jan. 7 notice

In a prepared statement, 340B Health, a group that represents hospitals participating in the program said: "Instead of undermining the health care safety net, the agency should withdraw this plan, restore Medicare payments to their statutory levels, and reimburse all affected hospitals for the revenue they have lost since January 2018."

Read the full CMS notice here

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