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How to Advocate for 340B

From March 8-12, TPCA is celebrating state Advocacy Week, a time for community health centers to celebrate the work they do and promote their priorities during Tennessee's legislative session. For 2021, Tennessee's community health centers identified protecting the 340B program as one of the issues they wanted to address through policy. Today, March 9, health centers will be focusing advocacy on the 340B program. 

Read on to learn how to advocate for 340B.
 
Why is protecting 340B so important to community health centers?
The 340B program has been a critical component of health centers' ability to provide affordable medications to their patients and expand access to other services, since the program's inception. 

However, in recent years, an increase in actions from third parties, including Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), insurers, and contract pharmacies have undermined the 340B program. Third parties have found ways to keep savings from the program for themselves, a practice known as discriminatory reimbursement, which has prompted community health centers to take a more active role to defend the program from new threats.
 
What does 340B advocacy look like at the state level?
TPCA's Advocacy Week is rooted in policy priorities that can be addressed at the state level. This includes two pieces of legislation to prevent discriminatory reimbursement in the 340B program.  

SB1206/HB1349, sponsored by Senator Briggs and Representative Helton and SB1617/HB1398 sponsored by Senator Reeves and Representative Helton would prohibit discriminatory reimbursement in Tennessee. 
 
This week, community health centers are making arrangements to meet with members of the Tennessee General Assembly to discuss the importance of the 340B program to their health centers and explain the key role the state government can play in protecting the program. Health centers will be asking the legislators to support the passage of SB1206/HB1349 and SB1617/HB1398.
 
What is the status of the legislation right now?
Each piece of legislation has now been referred to committees, which will consider the legislation. The current status of each bill can be found below:
 
SB1206/HB1349 sponsored by Senator Briggs and Representative Helton:
  • Senate: Referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • House: Caption bill held on the House Clerk's desk 
SB1617/HB1398 sponsored by Senator Reeves and Representative Helton:
  • Senate: Referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • House: Referred to the House Insurance Subcommittee
Members of the Tennessee General Assembly can show their support for the legislation by signing on as a co-sponsor of the legislation, passing the legislation out of their respective committees, or voting for the legislation once it comes up before the full House or Senate. 
 

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