WNY Community Health Center Leaders: Brett Lawton, Chief Executive Officer, Universal Primary Care/Southern Tier Community Health Center Network; Joanne Haefner, MS, FNP, President and Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Health Center; Myron Glick, M.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jericho Road Community Health Center; Mike Pease, Chief Executive Officer, The Chautauqua Center; Dr. LaVonne Ansari, Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.; Raymond Ganoe, President & Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Health.
BUFFALO, NY – On Nov. 14, 2022, WNY community health centers launched a coalition campaign called “Leave340B.” The campaign effort is launched under the coalition of Western New York community health centers, which includes Evergreen Health, The Chautauqua Center, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Universal Primary Care, Jericho Road Community Health Center and Neighborhood Health Center.
The goal of the coalition effort is to bring the patient voice into the conversation surrounding a proposed “carve-out” to the 340B drug pricing program in New York State. 340B enables community health centers to stretch scarce resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services. Gov. Hochul is currently continuing a Cuomo-era budget policy that would cripple safety-net providers’ ability to treat our communities’ most at-risk patient populations. The proposed “340B carve-out” will 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.
The campaign seeks to bring the voice of patients into the Albany conversation through a website with a video series, a social media program, and a grassroots program to enable all local patients to share what 340B means to their lives, health, and wellbeing.
“The 340B program is federal, it’s been around for decades, and carving it out, as proposed by Gov. Hochul, would have devastating consequences including endangering health outcomes, causing devasting economic impacts and job loss, and ensuring only underserved populations will pay the price,” said Mike Lee, COO, Evergreen Health. “We have tried tirelessly to get Gov. Hochul and her administration to listen to and understand the impacts of this carve-out, hopefully, the voice of our patients will break through.”
“Our organization depends on 340b funding – literally – to survive,” said Dr. Myron Glick, founder, and CEO, of Jericho Road Community Health Center. “Programs that our patients, many of whom are refugees and asylum seekers, have come to rely on will be cut and dramatically reduced should the carve-out go through. This is a sad state of affairs, and hopefully now that patient and provider voices are heard, Gov. Hochul will do the right thing and retract the proposed 340B carve-out.”
What elected officials are saying about the proposed 340B “carve-out.”
Senator Tim Kennedy, 63rd Senate District
“The 340B program is a critical part of ensuring the long-term viability of hospitals and community-based providers that our most underserved communities depend on. I stand with my colleagues in opposing any efforts to weaken or dismantle this program. We should never balance our budget on the backs of low-income and uninsured patients.”
Senator Borrello, 57th Senate District
“Safety net health care providers have been able to enhance their positive impact on the communities they serve by reinvesting their 340b savings into other needed programs. While we should explore ways to improve the current process, we should reject the state’s proposed takeover of the 340B program. 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.”
Assemblymember Jon Rivera, 149th Assembly District
“Federally Qualified Health Centers like Evergreen Health provide critical services to low-income, LGBTQ, and refugee populations that they would simply not be able to access elsewhere. The Fee for Service carve out would result in massive budget cuts for community health centers and make it much harder for them to offer their patients treatments they couldn’t otherwise afford. This gutting of the 340B Drug Pricing Program must be reversed so that community health centers can continue to provide for our most vulnerable.”
Assemblymember Karen McMahon, 146th Assembly District
“The 340B program is a critically important resource, allowing safety net providers to purchase prescription drugs at a discounted rate and reinvest the savings into services that benefit the overall community, like food and housing programs and prescription drugs for uninsured individuals. I’m proud to stand with Evergreen Health and its partners to call for the preservation of the 340B program to ensure those that are most vulnerable aren’t left with inadequate resources and that safety net providers can continue to serve the groups that rely on them every day.”
Assemblymember Monica Wallace, 143rd Assembly District
“Federally Qualified Health Centers like Evergreen Health serve some of the most vulnerable people in society, including those struggling with chronic illness, substance use, poverty, and homelessness. The 340B program is a vital revenue source for these caregivers and allows them to better care for their patients. As we deliberate the state budget in the coming months, we must maintain support for these essential healthcare facilities.”
Eliminating 340B will have serious and negative consequences for WNY’s at-risk communities.
- ENDANGERS HEALTH OUTCOMES.340B funding makes health programs possible that would not otherwise be financially viable – primary care, specialty care, and wraparound services. Things like emergency housing, dental services, nutrition, care coordination would be decimated; mental and behavioral health services and more would be cut significantly. Patients who’ve come to rely on programs like this for health and wellbeing will be turned away; these are programs that are minimally covered by insurance, or not covered by insurance at all.
- DEVASTATING ECONOMIC IMPACTS.340B’s stable and predictable funding stretches already limited resources to be better able to serve patients and communities in WNY. Hundreds of healthcare jobs would be lost in WNY; and all the lost jobs serve vulnerable, marginalized communities that have no other options. Tens of millions of dollars will be ripped from safety net providers’ budgets, jobs and programs slashed to close the gap.
- ONLY UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS WILL PAY THE PRICE. 340B is a “safety net” program for the underserved; pulling it away ONLY targets those in need. A policy that ONLY negatively impacts those in need is not equitable and will harm WNYers. Don’t fix a state budget issue on the backs of those without a voice; 340B isn’t broken.
To learn more about how 340B supports needed care for patients, please visit www.leave340b.org.
The Leave340B coalition campaign is powered by Western New York’s community health centers, including Evergreen Health, The Chautauqua Center, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Universal Primary Care, Jericho Road Community Health Center, and Neighborhood Health Center. The coalition is committed to ensuring the federal drug pricing program, 340B, remains intact in New York. Specifically, the Leave340B coalition wants a proposed “carve-out” to the program removed from Gov. Hochul’s budget proposal. 340B enables community health centers to stretch scarce resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.
For further information:
Amy Usiak, Media Contact, Evergreen Health
[email protected] 716-847-2441