340B is not necessarily the most engaging topic in healthcare, or anywhere for that matter. I don't find myself having casual conversations with people (outside of work) about the patient definition, compliance practices, or the potential impact of CMS proposed rulings. With that said, I know about 340B because my company works in the 340B industry, and if you work for a provider or company that participates in 340B, you may want to educate your colleagues on the program, too. Providing education and training should be part of your 340B compliance strategy.
How an organization educates staff, how often, and to whom it educates on the 340B Drug Pricing Program is entirely up to the organization. However, it's important to ensure that key stakeholders are aware of why you participate in the 340B program and they should understand the program's requirements in terms of compliance.
Materials and training should be updated and communicated as often as there are changes to the program. Organizations that participate in the 340B program are notified of any updates or changes, but it is always best to be prepared for those changes ahead of time.
Here are six strategies and resources for 340B information, education, and training:
1. Access Up-to-Date Information about 340B on HRSA's Website.
The 340B program is administered and regulated by the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA), which operates under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Their website is a hub for information and news on the 340B Drug Pricing Program. It'll be a key resource for you and your program.
2. Create Google Alerts to get 340B News Delivered Right to Your Inbox.
As a 340B solution provider, employees at Equiscript have found that setting up google alerts for "340B" is a good way to get updates without having to remember to regularly seek information. Subscribing to 340B Health email updates and the The Exchange community has also helped us to stay current on 340B policies and best practices. 340B Health is "a membership organization of more than 1,300 public and private nonprofit hospitals and health systems in the federal 340B drug pricing program."
How to create a google alert:
1. Go to www.google.com/alerts.
2. Enter "340B" into the search bar.
3. Click on the pencil icon to the right of the alert to adjust the alert settings.
3. Provide Onboarding Training to New Team Members.
Another strategy we use at Equiscript is providing a "What is 340B" presentation in our onboarding training. The majority of people hired at Equiscript have had little to no experience working in 340B, so providing a high-level overview has proven to be a helpful introduction. We created a blog post with an overview of 340B and the benefits as well as a slide presentation for you to download here.
4. Get Other Free Training Materials and Updates from 340B Health.
340B Health has a couple of other great resources available in their media kit. The first is an explainer video, "About 340B". The video is a useful tool for visual learners and provides an excellent overview. The second resource is the 340B At a Glance one-page handout. 340B Health is a hospital advocacy organization, so the information is geared towards hospitals but still relevant and informative for all 340B covered entities.
5. Find More In-Depth Training for Your Employees Who Will be Working with 340B with Apexus 340B OnDemand.
A requirement for many Equiscript staff members is to complete the Apexus 340B OnDemand training. This training comes after the topical overview in the onboarding process and provides a more in-depth look at the integrity and compliance policies and requirements for the 340B program. The 340B OnDemand training is free and is provided by Apexus, HRSA's prime vendor for the 340B program. This will give a solid foundational overview of 340B that will be particularly helpful to your employees who will be working within the 340B program regularly (pharmacy staff, compliance, operations, finance). Again, the depth of knowledge you think your employees need is up to you.
6. Access the 340B Community to Stay Aware of New Developments and Discussions.
My final piece of advice is to lean on your peers. Whether you're just getting into 340B or have been a covered entity since 1992, chances are, another organization has gone through what you're going through. The 340B Health Exchange I mentioned in the first strategy is a great way to get in touch with others in the 340B community. There are 340B-specific groups on public sites like LinkedIn. State and national conferences are also an excellent way to meet other 340B covered entity employees and organizations to explore best practices, solutions, and new developments in the space. 340B Health, National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and your State Primary Care Associations are organizations that hold annual meetings. Oftentimes, they offer training and sessions dedicated to 340B.
Erika Pfeifer, Marketing and Client Success Representative
Erika Pfeifer is the liaison between Marketing and Client Success at Equiscript. She works with both teams to collaborate and come up with ways to better reach and serve our patients, clients, and communities. Erika is a graduate of the University of Arkansas where she studied communication and marketing.