Hospital board discusses 340B program

“It’s a very complex program but of great benefit to the hospital,” Marty Brown, director of pharmacy at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, told the board at its meeting Thursday.

Because of its complexity, however, the 340B Contract Pharmacy Program still has glitches being worked out, she continued. Once it is fully implemented more eligible patients will be able to get the drugs they need. Brown has been working on the startup of the program for a year.

The hospital has been part of the 340B program since 2005. The program allows hospitals that have a disproportionate number of indigent patients to buy drugs at a discounted price. Only last fall did BWWMH enter into contracts with CVS and the Wal-Mart stores in Demopolis and Thomasville. Those stores benefit from lower drug replacement prices.

The hospital opted to contract with local pharmacies instead of setting up its own to keep from competing with them, said Brown.

Confusion has arisen because of the restrictions on who is eligible and the how to identify them so that Capture RX, the company that administers the program, can review prescriptions and reimburse the providers.

No Medicaid patients are included in the program, and no generic drugs are eligible for reimbursement, she went on.

Prescriptions “must be written for our patients by our physicians,” she said.

So far the reimbursement figures from prescription drug sales has been “disappointing,” but when the kinks are worked out, the benefits should be realized.  She told the board the program’s promise is worth continuing for the next few months. Then it can be reviewed.

Because of a law passed by Congress last November, the hospital no longer can consider using John Essex School as a facility for the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). It now is housed in the Holified Clinic but is rapidly outgrowing the facility.

The law, which went into effect Nov. 2, prohibits setting up off-campus programs in buildings more than 250 yards from the hospital.

The law, said PHP Committee chair Rob Fleming, “snatched John Essex out from under our feet.”

The board approved the hospital’s pension plan updates required by the IRS and other agencies.

It also approved the following reappointments:

  • Active staff: Dr. Keith Roberts
  • Special limited staff: Pat Moore,CRNA, and Gayla Culpepper, CRNP
  • Courtesy staff: Dr. James Geyer
  • Consulting staff: Drs. Amit Shah, James Proctor, Shelby Sanford, Dmitry Zak, Ronald Stanton and Robert Williams.
  • Emergency room: Dr. Mohamed Khalaf through February.

The board also heard the following reports:

  • Judy Travis said the medical staff is reviewing its bylaws and will vote on them at its next meeting.
  • Assistant administrator Derrick Morrison said the hospital was inspected by the insurance carrier which recommended a roof inspection.
  • Morrison also reported that the guidelines on active shooter response was resent to all departments.
  • Thomas Moore said the Public Partnership Committee will discuss a strategic plan once all stakeholders are present. The committee’s next meeting is Feb. 10.
  • Hospital administrator Arthur Evans said a photo display of the Employee of the Month will be set up in the hall next to Human Resources.