The big thing right now in the 340B program is contract pharmacies, this article will discuss what we have been doing with 340B contract pharmacies.

First things first, an update: we have been looking for a regional pharmacy director for my region (my 400 bed hospital, and two additional smaller hospitals) for about 12 months. We did not find a match and they settled on me. Haha, I hope it was not settling and that I have proven my self over the last 10 months helping manage the pharmacy without a director. Of course, I had lots of help, but that is one of my reasons why we have been less active on this website. Rich and I talk regularly, and we almost always say stuff like, “that would be a great article” or “we have to talk about that.” Well, I am pretty close to back-filling my manager position and decided to get back to 340B. Another reason is that we have residents at my site, and I project pitched a 340B project and one of them accepted. I am very excited about the opportunity to mentor and work with a pharmacy resident with motivation and time to complete a thorough project. I will share the fruits of this labor here.

The project: To identify community/outpatient pharmacies near our hospital for 340B pharmacy contracting opportunity. Create a contract template to be used with each community pharmacy. Evaluate and choose a software vendor that will meet our needs for efficiently and effectively working with community pharmacies to provide split billing opportunity, data collection, and reporting. Enter into contract pharmacy agreements and measure net output as offset to expense (we are not for profit, so we do not call this profit). Once we have some dollars coming back to us from these contract pharmacy agreements, create a model for taking a percentage of the dollars and providing increased and expanded charity care through a voucher program. Finally, measure the net impact of charity care provided to the community and potential increased health (potentially resulting in overall lower healthcare cost).

Rich and I have also been talking about using some of the knowledge gained through this experience and creating a turnkey operation for our rural facilities (critical-access hospitals). We are in our contract negotiation phase with a retail pharmacy. Until it is over, I will withhold comment. I will share what I can, when we are through contracting and we turn it on for our facility. I am excited about increasing the charity care to our community, because we need it really bad. I know we are not the only ones. I brought this up with our Community Outreach Director and she was thoroughly excited over the prospect of having more dollars she can provide to those in need.

Stay tuned for updates on our first contract pharmacy (technically our second, since my hospital outpatient pharmacy has been doing this for a couple of years now). If we can share some of our experience through this process and it makes your implementation easier, then I will consider this a win. As a side note, I will be at ASHP Midyear (mostly recruiting for our residency program), but if you have some experience to share or want to learn more about what we are doing, use the “contact us” page to send me your email and let’s set something up. As always, thanks for visiting. -Rob

Click here to see the Federal Register update in May 2010 on multiple contract pharmacies