Drug program

A federal drug program at Memorial Health System is saving patients on prescriptions to the tune of $1 million per year.

A federally funded prescription drug program saved patients at Memorial Health System $1 million last year.

Harold Courtois, chief executive officer at Memorial, updated the Board of Directors of Memorial Health System on the 340D Program at its regular meeting Monday.

“This is a very important program, Courtois said.

He called in an “ethical program.” He said some larger hospitals say “that’s not what it was intended for.”

“It’s possible but the patients of those physicians still get the discounts. That is what is important,” he said. “If we can save a little over $1 million in Abilene, think what a larger population can save with 340B.”

Federal dollars

The 340B Program enables covered entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.

Manufacturers participating in Medicaid agree to provide outpatient drugs to covered entities at significantly reduced prices.

To participate in the 340B Program, eligible organizations/covered entities must register and be enrolled with the 340B program and comply with all 340B Program requirements. Once enrolled, covered entities are assigned a 340B identification number that vendors verify before allowing an organization to purchase 340B discounted drugs.

DSH

Courtois said Memorial is receiving funds through Medicate Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH), a program intended to help offset the lack of Medicaid expansion.

“It’s for the disproportionate share of people that come in that we do not get reimbursed for, or get reimbursed poorly,” he said.

The benefit to Memorial Health System this year is $135,000.

Elgin Glanzer, chief financial officer, said the range has been between $40,000 and $45,000.

“This is a new formula,” he said.

“This is good news. But if they fail to kick the DSH can down the road on the 21st of November and the 19th of December which we expect to be the case, then this is going to hurt us. For fiscal year 2020 they are going to cut the program by $4 billion.”

He said that will cut the DSH payments in half.

“Then they want to cut it another $8 million in fiscal year ‘21. That becomes a real problem because without Medicaid expansion in Kansas, DSH is what covers some of that. Without that we are really losing money on those people that don’t qualify for Medicaid,” Courtois said.

The intent was to make cuts to DSH on Oct. 1, the start of the government’s fiscal year, but the House of Representatives last September passed a continuing resolution to delay cuts until Nov. 21.

KanCare expansion

Courtois said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s Council on Medicaid Expansion is expected to meet three times before the Legislative session starts.

“We really need to get it passed this session because it won’t take affect until 2021,” he said.

The council is to analyze other state models of expansion, inform and advise the governor on the most effective models of expansion in other states, and by using updated data define three to five goals for an expansion plan, he said.

“As I’ve made clear, Medicaid expansion tops my 2020 priority list,” Kelly said in announcing the council. “I was encouraged that both chambers and both parties ended the last session in agreement: 2020 will be the year we finally get this done.

In the 2019 legislative session, Governor Kelly presented a Medicaid expansion plan with bipartisan support that mirrored a similar bill that passed both chambers in 2017, but the bill was ultimately vetoed by then-Governor Sam Brownback.

Last session the House of Representatives passed the Governor’s bill, but the Senate did not allow a vote. Instead, the Senate promised to vote on a Medicaid expansion bill in the early months of the 2020 legislative session.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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