NCCHCA Member Login

September 20, 2021.
Raleigh, NC: The Medication Cost Transparency Act (Senate Bill 257) was signed into law today by Governor Roy Cooper after unanimously passing both chambers of the NC General Assembly earlier this month. This critical legislation protects North Carolinians’ access to care in rural and underserved communities of the state by outlawing discrimination by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) against Community Health Centers’ (CHCs’) pharmacy programs over their participation in the 340B Drug Discount program. Thanks to these efforts, North Carolina’s CHCs can continue doing what they do best—provide comprehensive primary care services, including medical, behavioral health, dental, and pharmacy care, to North Carolinians in rural and underserved communities without regard for their insurance status or ability to pay.

The 340B Drug Discount program enables CHCs to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more patients and providing more comprehensive health care services. By discounting the cost of medications for health centers, the 340B program enables health centers to provide affordable medications for their patients and reinvest savings into other key services, like behavioral health, dental, and school-based health programs.

In recent years, PBMs found ways to “pickpocket” CHCs’ 340B savings through discriminatory contracts, boosting PBMs’ bottom lines by forcing CHCs to give up the savings that were meant to benefit their vulnerable patients. If not for Senate Bill 257, 94% of participating Community Health Centers may have to cut patient services supported by 340B savings

On behalf of the state’s 42 Community Health Center organizations that cared for over 685,000 patients in 2020, the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) thanks Governor Cooper for signing this bill into law, and we extend our gratitude to our leaders in the NC General Assembly, especially Senator Jim Perry and Representative Wayne Sasser, for protecting the primary care safety net as part of this legislative effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: December 15, 2020

Contact: Leslie Wolcott
wolcottl@ncchca.org

Raleigh: In a joint letter sent yesterday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and a bipartisan coalition of 27 other state Attorneys General urged the agency to protect patients from drug manufacturers’ unlawful refusal to provide required discounts on life-saving medications to community health centers and other safety net providers.

“While our health care heroes are on the frontlines of this pandemic, drug companies are taking aim at a program that makes medications affordable for patients and provides much-needed financial savings to community health centers,” said Chris Shank, CEO and President of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association.

The 340B Drug Discount Program requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide discounted outpatient medications to community health centers, allowing them to stretch scarce federal resources to care for more North Carolinians and offer affordable medications to vulnerable patients at no cost to taxpayers. North Carolina’s community health centers leverage the pharmacies they own and operate as well as partnerships with other community-based pharmacies, called contract pharmacies, to make medications accessible to patients. “North Carolina’s 42 community health center organizations could not have served 631,000 patients—43% of whom were uninsured—in 2019 if it were not for the 340B program,” Shank added.

However, in the past few months, a growing list of drug manufacturers have unilaterally cut off the legally required 340B discounts to these contract pharmacies, jeopardizing patients’ access & causing financial losses for these nonprofit safety net providers—in the middle of a public health crisis. “By law and by mission, community health centers reinvest every penny of 340B savings into activities that expand health care access for their medically underserved patients,” said Shank. “If these restrictions continue, patients in underserved communities will suffer further as health centers would be forced to reduce their discount pharmacy programs, reduce health center staff and hours, and even scale back other services they offer to patients.”

In a press release from his office, Attorney General Stein said, “It’s wrong for drug companies to break the rules and make it harder for North Carolinians to afford the medications they need to stay healthy, especially while we face the added health and economic burdens of this pandemic.” “I urge HHS to take action immediately so people can continue to get the health care they need,” said Stein.

On behalf of the state’s community health centers and the communities they serve, the North Carolina Community Health Center Association thanks Attorney General Stein for his leadership.

For Immediate Release
Contact Leslie Wolcott
NCCHCA
wolcottl@ncchca.org

 

Raleigh, NC and Washington DC: On October 21, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) filed suit in the D.C. District Court to respond to drug manufacturers’ actions that dismantle the health center federal 340B drug discount program.

“We strongly support this action to protect the 340B drug discount program, which is essential to our community health centers and their patients,” said Chris Shank, CEO and President of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA). “Without these discounts, health center patients could not access affordable medications, and our state’s safety net providers would lose vital savings that enable them to provide other needed services to their communities.”

By requiring drug manufacturers to offer discounted medications to critical safety net providers like Community Health Centers, the 340B program reduces costs of medications for underserved communities without spending a dime of tax dollars.  Yet, some major drug companies are violating the 340B statute by abruptly cutting off discounted drugs to health centers’ contracted pharmacies.

“For the rural communities of Caswell and Rockingham Counties that we serve, the 340B drug discount program is a lifeline,” said William Crumpton, CEO of Caswell Family Medical Center, one of NCCHCA’s member community health centers. “Recent threats to the program threaten our ability to make medications affordable, respond to COVID-19, and generally care for our patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.”

Most of North Carolina’s CHCs rely on contract pharmacy partners to increase access to pharmacy services for their patients throughout the state. These contract pharmacy arrangements, which have been targeted by drug manufacturers’ restrictions, reduce patients’ barriers to accessing life-saving medications, including cost, travel time and distance, and operating hours.

Thanks to the 340B Drug Discount Program, NC CHCs are able to provide these life-saving medicines through in-house pharmacies and contract pharmacy partners, as well as leverage savings to furnish other services. Without the 340B program, North Carolina’s 42 Community Health Center (CHC) organizations would not have been able to serve over 631,000 patients across over 270 care delivery sites in 85 North Carolina counties in 2019.

NCCHCA calls on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to heed the calls of bipartisan members of Congress, including Senator Thom Tillis, Representative G.K. Butterfield, Representative David Price, Representative David Rouzer, and Representative Alma Adams, to take action immediately to protect patients’ and health centers’ access to affordable medications.

Health Insurance for Children

Speak with someone about health insurance for you and your child.  Hablar con alguien sobre las opciones de seguro médico para usted o su hijo,

 

 

learn more/ aprende más