This year’s 340B Winter Conference was bursting at the seams with attendees. There were over 1,630 registrants for the conference representing a 12% growth over last year’s numbers. It was standing room only in the “340B Lessons from the Field” sessions led by many of our covered entity partners. In fact, there is so much sustained interest in the conference that it has outgrown the available footprint at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. While we’ll miss the gorgeous “Hotel Del,” we are looking forward to having more space at the conference next winter when it moves to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

The growth in the conference is indicative of an organization aligning more closely with its constituents and members while grappling with very real concerns about potential legislative modifications to the program that will shape its future for years to come. The most common concern we heard from attendees involved those potential modifications and associated unintended effects or ramifications that could place too many underserved patient populations and their care providers at risk of reduction to resources needed for care provision.

For example, there seems to be significant focus on levels of “charity care” provision, which we believe demonstrates an incomplete view of benefits 340B covered entities provide. From the American Hospital Association, “It is more accurate to look at a hospital’s total uncompensated care rather than just its charity care numbers, as charity care alone does not account for the myriad programs and services that hospitals provide to their communities. Hospitals participating in the 340B program provided $28.4 billion in uncompensated care in 2012. This represents 62 percent of all uncompensated care provided by America’s hospitals in 2012. Uncompensated care includes “bad debt” (services for which hospitals anticipated but did not receive payment) and charity care (services for which hospitals neither received nor expected payment because they determined, with help from the patient, the patient’s inability to pay). It does not include Medicaid and Medicare underpayment.”

The current M.O. for covered entities appears to be wait and see: continue to do what they do to the best of their ability and try not to be distracted knowing there are legal resources focused on legislation and lobbying to help. Many are taking a “stay in your lane” approach. And if there is something more to do, telling stories about 340B done right has value.

Matthew Bare, Assistant Director VCU Ryan White Program, shared with us a few of the top ways Curant Health fills gaps in care coordination for providers of all types including 340B covered entities and university hospitals.“VCU ID Clinic partnered with Curant Health four years ago and during that time, I have really come to appreciate 3 specific aspects of our partnership.” Read more from Matt here.

If you’re interested in telling your story with us, we want to connect! We will be happy to help build communication tools to illustrate 340B done right.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to sponsor the Ryan White Part C dinner on Thursday evening. This dinner allowed almost 80 Ryan White Part C grantees to talk among themselves, discuss best practices and address common struggles. Given the immensity of the 340B conference, the opportunity to connect for this specific segment of the 340B provider population was of high value for attendees. We want to thank everyone who joined us!

If you would like to know more about how our 340B program delivers improvements in medication adherence, patient outcomes and audit compliance support services, email Kristin Lindsey, klindsey@curanthealth.com.