340B UpdateThis is Turnkey’s first year participating in the HCCA Compliance Institute annual meeting. Interestingly, I spoke about 340B at this conference two years ago and while there was a fair amount of interest at that time, 340B was still relatively unknown to most attendees. That was not surprising, however, given that the HCCA institute is really directed to health care compliance in general, with topics like patient privacy /protected health information (PHI), Stark Law, Fraud, Waste & Abuse, physician compliance, and quality of care auditing getting most of the attention from the compliance officers, health care leaders, and compliance professionals in attendance. While this focus has not changed significantly, it is interesting to see that there is more focus on the 340B program this year. For example, today there is a session specifically directed to enforcement of 340B by HRSA. Given the number of HRSA audits that our team has been on-site for in the last 18 months (approximately 50 covered entity audits and 10 HRSA audits), this should prove to be an interesting discussion for us to participate in. So far, we have been hard pressed to find anyone (other than HRSA auditors themselves!) that has been involved with as many HRSA audits as we have. In addition to the 340B enforcement session this afternoon, later this week there are a couple of sessions directed to 340B in general planned. These should be interesting, and of course there will be more to come from us reflecting on these sessions.

Regarding compliance in general, one of the most interesting sessions here so far was the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) update during the general session. Speaking was Inspector General Daniel Levinson, of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Mr. Levinson’s discussion focused on the concept of a “knowledge worker” and Peter Drucker’s work regarding our shift to a knowledge society. Of particular interest was Mr. Levinson’s focus on a knowledge worker’s ability to take raw data and transform it into meaningful information that can be put to practical use with respect to maintaining compliance. In the context of 340B, this is very relevant to what covered entities often struggle with. All too often our clients are faced with the dilemma of having a great deal of information about their 340B operations, whether it be from vendors or their own internal processes, that they are unable to put to practical use. This is not surprising, however, given the fact that transforming these data into meaningful information typically requires 340B-dedicated resources with significant experience and training. While this may include internal resources, such as pharmacy and compliance staff, an outside perspective that can be provided by 340B-focused is essential. This is where Turnkey comes in; with close to 50 covered entity audits and on-site support of 10 actual HRSA audits, we can help transform your 340B data into meaningful information and strategies for compliance. More to come as this HCCA conference progresses!

Thank you, -Rich Bucher (from the HCCA Conference in Lake Buena Vista, FL)