Front Page New York Times Article on 340B Program Raises Alarms

Two articles published in the New York Times this past Saturday—including one on the front page of the newspaper—are generating extensive discussion and concern among policymakers, 340B stakeholders, and the media, and raising concerns that Community Health Centers could be “painted with the same brush” as the hospitals in the articles. The first article, entitled How a Hospital Chain Used a Poor Neighborhood to Turn Huge Profits, was featured on the front page under the heading “Profits over Patients.” It claims that the hospital used 340B to generate hundreds of millions of dollars, which it directed to facilities in wealthier neighborhoods areas while removing services from underserved neighborhoods. On Monday, NACHC sent a response to the Times stating, “Bon Secours has chosen to put profits over patients, and the community suffered as a result. Despite the tragic circumstances of this case, it is essential to note that 340B has been instrumental in expanding access to life-saving care in low-income communities. Community Health Centers rely on 340B to provide critical drugs to patients who are typically low-income, uninsured, and members of racial and ethnic minorities.” The second article, entitled “They were Entitled to Free Care. Hospitals Hounded them to Pay,” discussed how a large non-profit, 340B-eligible hospital system “trained staff to wring money out of patients, even those eligible for free care.” While the article did not explicitly mention 340B, some 340B opponents are linking the two articles together as examples of how 340B providers abuse the program.