340B Discounts Drive Interest in Ambulatory Care

Among the many reasons for hospitals to start or expand an on-site, ambulatory pharmacy is to take advantage of substantial drug discounts available under the federal government’s 340B program.

About one-third of U.S. hospitals are eligible for the program, which is intended to reduce the burden of outpatient pharmaceutical costs on organizations that provide a lot of uncompensated care and enable them to stretch scarce federal resources to serve additional eligible patients as well as provide more comprehensive health care services; they tend to be Disproportionate Share Hospitals, other safety net hospitals, academic medical centers, critical access hospitals and other organizations, such as federally qualified health centers. Under the program, these institutions are called covered entities.

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