AAMC Statement on Cuts to Safety Net Providers in OPPS Final Rule

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement regarding the provisions in the CY 2018 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) affecting the Health Resources and Services Administration’s 340B Drug Pricing Program:

“The administration’s decision to dramatically reduce Medicare payments to teaching hospitals and many other safety net providers that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program ignores concerns about the plan expressed by a majority of members of the House and Senate.

This decision will penalize safety net hospitals, leading to a reduction in critical services and programs that they provide to the nation’s most vulnerable patients. Whether it is mobile clinics that provide preventive care in low-income communities, expanded access to vital specialty physicians for underserved patients, or multi-disciplinary substance intervention programs, the life-saving services supported by 340B savings have been put at risk by this regulatory change.

Let’s be clear. This rule does not address high drug prices. If policymakers want to address rising drug costs, they should do so directly—not by penalizing providers that help their communities through the 340B program. Our vulnerable patients deserve better.

We will pursue all options moving forward, including joining with the American Hospital Association and America’s Essential Hospitals in legal action to prevent this harmful cut from going into effect.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.