With close to 25,000 health-system pharmacists from around the world in attendance, best practices in 340B and analytics were key topics of discussion at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting this year. The meeting largely attracts system directors, managers, and clinicians to share posters, presentations, and peer-to-peer dialogue to improve pharmacies’ footprints in healthcare. The forum also serves as a placement opportunity for pharmacy graduates seeking residency training programs focused in hospital and ambulatory care settings—in addition to specialties in oncology and information technology. Following are a few important topics that were on everyone’s mind at the event:
Technology—This year’s conference included special sessions dedicated to understanding how to pull data and turn it into meaningful information (analytics) to make evidence-based clinical decisions, and in turn reduce the cost of care.
Safety measures—Joint commission standards are always a focus of the conference to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place for improved patient outcomes. This year, one session focused on the 2018 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures. HEDIS is a tool used by more than 90 percent of America’s health plans to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service. The 2018 measures specifically target pharmacy and how to build programs that target opioid abuse, transitions of care, and vaccine monitoring, to name a few.
340B Health—The 340B Health association, which represents more than 1,300 hospitals utilizing 340B, held a two-hour breakfast program to review legislative and advocacy initiatives. Sentry customers were invited to join the meeting as our guests. 340B Health’s discussion focused on sharing the hospital’s community benefit and use of the program savings, upcoming legislation related to Medicare Part B, and the lawsuit between CMS and several organizations aimed to stop the Medicare Part B initiative. The conversation also covered operationalizing the Medicare Part B modifiers and efforts that hospitals were engaging in with finance/revenue cycle, to ensure compliance in the restricted timeline provided.
340B Health individual members were also able to gather to support 340B Health’s Policy Action Committee (PAC) initiatives with an evening mixer at the conference. The PAC enabled 340B Health to support more than 15 congressional fundraisers in 2017. Members were encouraged to donate to the initiative to continue efforts in 2018, during which 340B will continue to be a topic of interest on the Hill. To learn more, visit their website.
Other topics—Health systems also discussed the transition to shared-service models and the impact of managing multiple inventories (340B, non-340B), clinical service, population health, and drug monitoring programs. Another topic of concern, Medicare Part B payments, resulted in a highly attended workshop and spirited discussion of the new CMS 340B ruling expected to take effect January 1. The messaging focused on the delivery of reduced patient copays to help lower the cost of care to the Medicare population. The challenges associated with identifying 340B-acquired products and modifier attachments were discussed as challenges that needed further assessment on organizations’ capabilities to be compliant in the limited window provided by the government.
ACHE—After the ASHP events ended, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) held multiple cluster sessions on healthcare management topics, ranging from service line changes to leading and managing change. Sentry participated in the event and engaged with hospital and healthcare executives from around the country in a two-day program. Many of our staff members are actively engaged in ACHE, including the fellowship program and the upcoming national meeting to be held in March 2018.
Sentry participates in “340B University” at ASHP
I was fortunate to be a participant in the most recent 340B University, which included a record number of participants from 44 states and 242 organizations during ASHP. More than 350 pharmacists, technicians, compliance, and finance attendees joined Apexus 340B University on Sunday, December 3, with 40% of attendees having been in their current role less than one year.
Demand for 340B experts is higher than ever; a LinkedIn job search results in more than 300 postings for 340B-specific roles. In this environment, education and training are of paramount importance for building and maintaining a compliant 340B program. Breakout sessions focused on hospital-specific operations as they compare to other federally qualified entities.
In addition to pricing and contract pharmacy, Medicaid and GPO exclusion were key focuses for the first half of the day.
Another hot topic at 340B University was HRSA audit results from FY2012 to present; in that timeframe, there were 862 audits on record, and of those, 708 have been finalized. In FY2017 (October 2016-September 2017), HRSA audited a combination of 6,098 contract pharmacy and entity locations. FY2018 (October 2017 to present) has kicked off with 18 entities so far, at just under 1,000 contract pharmacy and entity locations.
Additional highlights of the all-day program included bulk replenishment program exclusion, not adjusting accumulators without the manufacturer acknowledging acceptance as repayment, maintenance of the Charge Description Master, understanding health-system data extract files, and the certainty in using e-prescribing for claim eligibility in the retail market—especially for same-day provider challenges between two competing covered entities. The legislative and regulatory standing items facing covered entities were not discussed or addressed in the question and answer sessions, in order to keep the focus on the known core program requirements and prohibitions.
Sentry was highly engaged at the various concurrent meetings over the five days in Florida, with an exhibit booth and customer appreciation event. We were able to meet with customers individually, holding one-on-one meetings to share information on our Senturion services and our development efforts surrounding Medicare Part B. We continue to help solve hospitals’ biggest challenges to prepare for the future of healthcare.