WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today applauded the Obama administration for implementing provisions he wrote that make prescription medications more affordable for patients served by rural hospitals and other safety-net hospitals.
Safety-net providers – health care providers that treat a high percentage of low-income and uninsured patients – and their patients are able to purchase outpatient medications for discounted prices through the 340B Drug Discount Program. These facilities and patients can save an average of 20 percent to 50 percent of the cost for covered outpatient medications.
Before the new health insurance reform law was enacted, these safety-net providers only included high-Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals (DSH), community health centers, and federally funded programs such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and urban clinics for Native Americans. Bingaman wrote a provision into the law that expands the definition of eligible hospitals to include rural hospitals, children’s hospitals and cancer hospitals. The administration announced today that these new providers may apply to participate in the 340B program.
“Under the new law, rural hospitals and their patients can save up to 50 percent on the cost of prescription medications,” Bingaman said. “This is great news for many New Mexicans, whose prescription drugs will now be more affordable.”
The newly eligible rural hospitals include: critical access hospitals, and certain sole community hospitals and rural referral centers.