With the new year and the new decade now upon us, Sentry is making a concerted effort to attend and present at key conferences throughout 2020, to continue being a voice for covered entities.
We began with the 340B Coalition Winter Conference, held February 10-12 in San Diego, CA. This year’s conference had more than 1,900 attendees, 64% of which were from covered entities.
Sentry kicked off the event with a half-day customer training program before the official conference even began. Additionally, 340B Health hosted a reception for individual members in order to raise awareness of the organization’s Political Action Committee.
For the Sentry customer training, we offered customers two opportunities to attend a demo of our claims management solution, Claims Manager Plus, to help support Medicaid and Medicare claims modifier requirements. Our experts also shared how Sentry can offer additional professional expertise and guidance to covered entities to help them optimize their 340B program, addressing challenges including data integrity, audit preparation, and operational considerations.
On Tuesday, I delivered a “Lessons in the Field” presentation on behalf of Sentry, where I discussed 340B and healthcare trends over the decades and what to expect in the “roaring 20s.” I have now attended 35 340B conferences (winter and summer) since I began my 340B journey; it is always an honor to be part of the faculty and provide perspective gained over the years to help covered entities assess what the future holds.
State of 340B: That’s right, states are engaging!
This year’s conference had a few firsts: more sessions, more breakouts, a California round table, CEO sessions on 340B proposals and C-Suite engagement and more. One of these firsts was the addition of state-specific discussions relating to 340B, including what actions states are taking on issues such as discriminatory pricing, economic diversion, and prevention of duplicate discounts.
State presentations included experts from Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, South Dakota and California. Presenters discussed challenges with state legislation, tips to engage state associations, and how an upcoming Supreme Court hearing in Arkansas may impact current state legislation to manage PBMs. California presenters focused on the Governor’s proposal to transition back to fee-for-service beginning in 2021; efforts are in motion, including the forming of a Medi-Cal Rx Advisory Group.
Other notable conference moments
- HRSA/OPA – Another important highlight of the conference was hearing from Rear Admiral Krista Pedley, Director of HRSA’s Office of Pharmacy Affairs. Her emphasis was on the new 340B documentation requirements upon initial program registration, which demonstrate covered entities’ non-profit status, retention of documentation, and the improvement in the 340B drug pricing reporting by manufacturers. During her presentation, the organization shared how it set out to collect pricing. Originally, they only had a portion of NDC codes and labelers. By the fourth quarter of 2019, only 93 labelers had failed to report, with 670 labelers reporting 36,300 active NDCs. HRSA plans to have five manufacturer audits in 2020, and 200 covered entity audits. With an increase in manufacturer third-party engagement, HRSA encouraged transparency and good faith efforts for covered entities to work together with the industry.
- Apexus – For their presentation, Apexus provided updates on their recent contract award and stats on their success, including 29 distributor agreements, 110 volunteer manufacturer agreements, more than $1 billion in savings in 2019, 16,000 340B University attendees and 35,000 on-demand attendees and more than 30,000 website hits on their Medicaid link.
- Breakout sessions – The hospital breakout session provided time for hospitals to hear from 340B Health staff on several key reports and audit and compliance observations, including a significant decline in diversion findings. The session also covered legislative challenges expected in 2020. While hospitals met for this breakout session, other stakeholders held forums as well. For example, health centers discussed the impact PBMs are having on their 340B programs, state Medicaid challenges regarding carve-in versus carve-out and the importance of keeping the savings local to the state and what happens when rebates are sought as opposed to 340B price.
The last morning of the conference got off to a running start with the charity fun run/walk benefiting Veterans Village of San Diego, a nonprofit organization serving homeless military veterans. Sentry Data Systems was a sponsor and made an additional donation for each attendee that stopped by our booth, raising a record-breaking $1,450. In addition to raising money for the cause, Sentry staff also participated in the event, where we had the most staff participants since the fun run’s inception.
Overall, this year’s event centered on advocacy, state engagement, audit and compliance challenges. Stakeholders also seemed to take notice of the impending shift we’re seeing in recent government reports, which could point towards HRSA’s long-standing request for authority to fully administer the 340B program coming to fruition sometime in the near future.
Sentry was pleased to network with covered entities and other stakeholders, and we’re already counting the days until we meet again at the 340B Coalition Summer Conference in July!