Low-income medical patients could benefit from proposed deal

MANISTEE COUNTY — An agreement targeting “indigent, uninsured and underinsured” residents of Manistee County is set to go to the County Board of Commissioners.

Billy Evans, director of pharmacy at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital, is set to appear before the board to seek approval of a deal that would allow Manistee County residents to participate in the 340B program, according to the agenda. Of the reunion.

Congress created the 340B drug pricing program in 1992 to help provide health care services to uninsured and low-income patients who need discounts from drug manufacturers.

The program allows select health care providers and hospitals to purchase covered outpatient medications at discounted prices from drug manufacturers, according to information on Munson’s website.

“The program — which is not federally funded — is intended to allow providers to stretch scarce federal resources as much as possible to provide more patient care,” part of the website reads.

Under the program, drugmakers must offer 340B rebates to certain entities so that their drugs are covered by Medicaid.

In order to participate in the 340B program, hospitals must contract with a state or local government unit and commit to providing health care to those who are neither eligible for Medicare benefits nor eligible for Medicare benefits. help from Medicaid.

Critics of the program point to shortcomings that they say allowed healthcare providers to absorb those savings, rather than pass the discounts on to patients.

A national Pacific Research Institute study in November found that 340B nonprofit hospitals earn 37% more profits and donate 22% less of their net income to charitable patients than the average for all hospitals. The study looked in detail at four of Michigan’s 340B hospitals: Covenant Medical Center, Mid Michigan Medical Center, Munson Medical Center, and William Beaumont Hospital.

The American Hospital Association lists Munson Healthcare hospitals in Cadillac, Charlevoix, Grayling, Manistee, Otsego, and Munson Medical Center among those “committed to the 340B principles,” as of February 2020.

Munson Hospitals saved $30 million through the 340B program in 2019, which provided $2.5 million in charitable care to those who qualified and were unable to pay, according to its website. .

As part of the contract with the county, the hospital would agree to “continue its commitment to providing health care to indigent, uninsured and underinsured residents” of Manistee County, including those who are not eligible for Medicaid. or Medicare.

Lisa Sagala, County Comptroller/Administrator, said the Cadillac-based hospital is seeking an agreement with Manistee because the local hospital is not fully eligible for the program.

“Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital will ensure that all patients receive necessary care, as required by law, regardless of their ability to pay,” part of the agreement reads.

Other items the board could take action on at the meeting include:

• Approval of a request for quotation for the creation of an updated master plan for the county. The current plan was adopted in 2009.

• Approved a credit of $40,000 on behalf of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council for a period of three years to September 2024. Stacie Bytwork, President and CEO of the chamber, will present its annual report and make the request to the board.

• Approval of an agreement with Housing North to further fund a housing coordinator for the county.

• Approval of proposed ballot wording for the August primary election on behalf of the Tax Allocation Board. The allocation committee agreed to keep the limits the same, but for a period of two years only. The last time this was done was in 2016.

• Approval of a work agreement for the Emergency Management Coordinator which is due to expire in April. The coordinator, Mike Machen, asked for a raise. He is also an assistant director of 911. The current salary for the emergency management part of his job is $10,000 and he has asked for a raise to $20,000.

• Approval of a job description for a County Grants Administrator position. After discussion in the Ways and Means Committee, it was recommended that the Grant Writer take on a contract position.

• Approval of a letter of support on behalf of the county recreation commission for a grant from the Department of Natural Resources for the Bear Creek Bridge. The recreation commission is submitting a DNR grant application and has asked the county for a letter of support to send with the grant application.

Commissioners will also review candidates for vacancies on the Centra Wellness Board of Directors, Manistee County Jury Board and Betsie River Natural River Zoning Review Board.

Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room at the Manistee County Courthouse and Government Center, located at 415 Third St. in Manistee. To attend the meeting virtually, visit zoom.us/j/88131394486 with password 4153.

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