Like every year, temperatures soared in Washington, DC and the debate continued at the 2019 340B Summer Coalition Conference. This year’s event drew more than 1,700 attendees and 66 exhibitors from various sectors of the healthcare industry, in support of 340B covered entities. Additionally, Sentry was proud to be a premier sponsor of the charity run/walk for Community of Hope and a Pinnacle Leader exhibitor.
This year’s event held no real surprises; only further validation that audits and compliance are top of mind. One of the most valuable aspects of the event was being able to meet face-to-face with our customers, prospects and business partners and listen to their perspectives. Conversations and relationships are the true ROI at industry events.
Pre-conference kick-off with Sentry: Foundations Certificate
The conference had many opportunities for attendees to engage in learning and for CEs to check to-do items off their compliance list.
340B University hosted an all-day event before the official conference kickoff. At this event, Sentry offered a new training option for customers using our Sentrex and Sentinel tools, providing them the opportunity to complete courses and earn a Foundations Certificate for mastering our software.
Attendees were able to engage with Sentry staff from our training, audit and compliance, executive leadership and account management teams to learn about the new training options. The goal of the session was to let participants spend as much or as little time as they needed covering key topics of interest for each learner. Attendees made new connections with their peers and left with the opportunity to complete the Sentry Foundation Certificate training program in the future.
This session brought in Sentry’s largest attendance of any of our learning events to date—a clear sign that our customers are invested in maximizing the benefit of our products with the support of a strong foundational knowledge base.
Pre-conference and day one: continuing education
Attendees had several choices on day one, including a pre-conference workshop, a 340B University program, and a career workshop for 340B Health individual members. Pre-conference workshops are great as a refresher or for new staff looking to dip their toes in the water when it comes to learning 340B. Whether you’re looking for the basics or more advanced training in audit and compliance, there is something for everyone on opening day. The continuing education credits make it a perfect fit for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists, as well. It’s also a great way to meet program policy and procedure requirements for training and education of hospital staff.
The opening remarks of the conference set the tone for the various types of presentations that would be available in the coming days. Maureen Testoni, president and CEO of 340B Health, opened with remarks on the “state of 340B” and provided an overview of the multiple related issues currently being address by Congress and the Administration.
This was followed by remarks from spokespersons at HRSA’s Office of Pharmacy Affairs and their current government contractor for the Prime Vendor Program, Apexus. Their talk covered the successful launch and the continued improvement of the 340B drug pricing website.
The first day ended with breakouts for each stakeholder group, followed by a reception. During the reception, 340B Health announced the recipients of its annual Champions Recognition Program, which honors members who promote 340B advocacy and expertise.
Day two: best practices and government engagement
Sentry kicked off the morning with an executive briefing with 340B Health to share information on communications and policy updates. Simultaneously, Lisa Scholz, Sentry’s Head of Industry Relations, delivered a presentation titled, “Lessons in the Field: Transparency – is it Transfairency?” Lisa provided insight into 340B transparency requirements for all stakeholders, offering an overview of various software capabilities and tips on how to be great stewards of 340B.
Day two also saw a double hitter for keynote speakers—economist and political commentator perspectives that offered views on everything from healthcare economy to the art of politics to elections.
The day then transitioned to breakout sessions for attendees interested in different components of operations and policy, with a strong focus on Medicaid duplicate discount prevention. New guests this year included CMS’ division of pharmacy director, John Coster, as well as a representative from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), who discussed upcoming changes to the Submission Clarification Code (42Ø-DK). She shared that value 20 will change to AA in the next four to five years. At Sentry, we encourage CMS to continue working collaboratively with the industry. We are proud to be longstanding partners of NCPDP and to hold a seat on their committee, where we can be part of crucial 340B strategy discussions.
In another presentation, HRSA team members provided a comprehensive program integrity update, with tips for covered entities to ensure the Office of Pharmacy Affairs Information System (OPAIS) is accurately updated. Presenters reviewed how covered entities should look at the UB-04 form for lines 56 and 57, to identify how the CE bills Medicaid, and reminded CEs to include NPI or other state provider identification. They also provided insight into audit trends and best practices to help entities focus on integrity provisions, discussing contract pharmacy oversight, auditable record requirements, tracers and more. HRSA was eager to share insights and provide support to both covered entities and manufacturers.
Lastly, Sentry team members facilitated two separate product demos. The first focused on innovations in 340B technology, highlighting our latest product functionality and the evolution of claims management using our tools, Claims Manager Plus and eRx Eligibility Check. The second featured Sentry’s Apexus Certified Expert (ACE) audit and compliance team walking attendees through our integrity and reporting capabilities to help them prepare for a federal government or manufacturer audit.
We celebrated with a customer appreciation event that evening and introduced our new customer recognition program, which highlights individuals in three categories: The Learner, The Advocate and The Innovator. We were pleased to announce the recipients of each award and celebrate their achievements with fellow peers, guests and business partners.
Day three: Sentry takes the lead
We were off to the charity races for the last day—in the lead! Sentry once again was a proud premier sponsor, and our team participated in the run/walk bright and early on this warm morning. We were also able to raise more than $600 by donating an additional $5 above our premier sponsorship level for every person who stopped by our booth. This year’s fundraiser supported Community of Hope and their efforts to help low-income families who struggle with homelessness and poverty live healthier lives.
The final day ended with a legislative perspective on what to expect in the next 18 months. Based on past experience and what we’ve seen in terms of draft 340B legislation so far in 2019, there is a strong need for continued program advocacy and for educating members of Congress. Our voices must continue to be heard, as we practice vigilance, persistence, and consistency.
At Sentry, the in-person experiences the 340B conference provides offer us the opportunity to listen to the challenges entities face and discover how we can deliver solutions. From Medicare Part B claims management to covered entity designation changes, Centralized Compliance, market evolution, and eRx Eligibility Check, we listen and break through the noise to bring the necessary solutions to the industry, with our customers by our side. We look forward to engaging with all of you again at the Winter Conference, in San Diego, California next year. Because of Sentry’s transparency focus, our vision is 2020.