Medical leaders from Lincoln County joined a chorus of voices advocating for the protection of rural health care during the Annual Rural Health Policy Institute, held in Washington D.C.
Lesley Ogden, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Samaritan North Lincoln and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospitals, among others, urged that long-running deep discounts on drug prices to hospitals be restored. Drug prices were raised by nearly thirty percent starting January 1st.
Under the “340B Drug Discount Program” drug manufacturers must provide outpatient drugs to certain health care entities at significantly reduced prices. The National Rural Health Association is working on two fronts to re-instate that discount through federal legislation and through a lawsuit against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
While in Washington D.C., the Samaritan physicians and members of the Oregon Office of Rural Health met with members of Oregon’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, to urge consideration of health care protections.
“The 340B program is critically important in our efforts to serve our patients, many of whom are low-income,” Dr. Ogden explained. “It enables us to make life-saving drugs available to people who otherwise would not be able to obtain them. As a non-profit hospital system, Samaritan reinvests the savings received through the program into additional programs and services to meet the health care needs of our communities. In the long-run, this program saves the federal government money.”