Cempa Community Care, a Chattanooga-based community health organization, applauds the Tennessee Legislature for passing SB1617/HB1398, a bill that, if signed by Governor Bill Lee, would protect patients and community health groups across the state by safeguarding the integrity of the federal government’s 340B Drug Pricing Program. This program, administered by the Health Resources & Services Administration, “enables covered entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”
Last year, Senator Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) and Rep. Esther Helton (R-East Ridge) paved the way to advance Section 1 of this bill, but it was designated to summer study for further review. SB1617/HB1398, a more comprehensive reform bill, was introduced in this legislative session by Senator Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) and Rep. Helton. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Lee and will await his signature to become law.
“I commend our legislators for passing this bill so that organizations like Cempa across our great state can continue to eliminate health barriers and disparities through the 340B program,” said Cempa Community Care CEO, Shannon Stephenson. “We have fought tooth and nail against predatory Pharmacy Benefit Managers who’ve wanted to undercut the program to capture revenue for their own coffers. I now urge Governor Lee to sign this bill into law so that we can continue to promote a safer and healthier Tennessee.”
The strength of this bill is built upon five key pillars, said officials. Those are:
Eliminating 340B discriminatory efforts potentially employed by PBMs that might undercut the financial benefits inherently delivered through the 340B program.
Safeguarding patient choice by (a) requiring health plans to accept coverage for prescription drugs; by (b) prohibiting a PBM from imposing coverage or benefit limitations; and by (c) ensuring that PBMs do not interfere in decisions regarding where a patient chooses to receive their drugs.
Protecting effective mechanisms that already allow medications to be acquired by patients at more affordable prices.
Cementing the fiduciary obligation PBMs have to report any entitlement benefit percentage to both the plan and covered person.
Ensuring heightened transparency by challenging the opaqueness within the healthcare system by freeing up data to provide accurate information at the point of care, empowering conversations and decisions about medicines a patient can afford.
For additional Cempa Community Care information, please visit www.cempa.org
For more information about the 340B program, click this link