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Coalition Targets Proposed Drug Fund ‘Carve-Out’

The Chautauqua Center is part of a health care provider coalition campaigning to stop a proposed state policy change on a drug pricing program.

Gov. Kathy Hochul reportedly wants to “carve out” New York’s allotment of federal money for the 340B drug program, to help fund the 2023 state budget.

This “would be devastating to safety net healthcare providers across the state and in Western New York. Without it, care will be ripped away from those truly in need,” according to a press release from the coalition, called WNY Community Health Centers.

“The goal of the coalition effort is to bring the patient voice into the conversation … 340B enables community health centers to stretch scarce resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients, and providing more comprehensive services,” the coalition stated.

The campaign, called “Leave 340B,” is doing a website with a video series and a social media program, to let patients share what 340B means to their health and wellbeing.

Chautauqua Center has facilities in Dunkirk and Jamestown. The state senator for the area, George Borrello, backs the coalition’s campaign.

“While we should explore ways to improve the current process, we should reject the state’s takeover of 340B,” he said. “Moving this process into the state’s enormous Medicaid bureaucracy is not likely to achieve the touted improvements in ‘efficiency’ and will only hurt front-line providers delivering care to our most vulnerable.”

WNY Community Health Care Centers listed three negative effects if Hochul’s proposal goes through:

¯ It endangers health outcomes. “340B funding makes health programs possible that would not otherwise be financially viable — primary care, specialty care, and wraparound services… Patients who’ve come to rely on programs like this will be turned away; these are programs that are minimally covered by insurance, or not covered by insurance at all.”

¯ Devastating economic impacts. “Hundreds of health care jobs would be lost in Western New York. … Tens of millions of dollars will be ripped away from safety net providers’ budgets, jobs and programs slashed to close the gap.”

¯ Undeserved populations will be hurt the most. “340B is a ‘safety net’ program for the underserved; pulling it away ONLY targets those in need.”

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