Barb Hoersten and Randy Ruge (right) from Paulding County Hospital went to Washington, D.C. to encourage support for the medication discount program 340B. Among the legislators they spoke to was Ohio Congressman Bob Latta.
PAULDING – Paulding County Hospital (PCH) representatives Randy Ruge, CEO, and Barb Hoersten, VP Pharmacy and Radiology, met with elected officials in Washington, D.C. to request that lawmakers keep the medication discount program known as 340B.

This program, enacted by Congress, allows certain healthcare providers serving high volumes of low-income and rural patients to access discounted drugs and use the savings to provide lifesaving care.

The savings from 340B enable the hospitals receiving the discounts to provide services that would otherwise be unaffordable.

“For Paulding County Hospital, the total benefit from 340B is $200,000 a year,” said Ruge. He added, “Those dollars are then applied to services such as physician practices and the emergency department. The program enables the hospital to provide those vital services without operating at a loss.”

Hoersten said, “The beauty of the program is that it does not cost the government or taxpayers anything. The dollars are derived from reductions in the amount of money paid to drug companies. The discount impacts less than 2 percent of the total dollars spent on medications across the nation.”

340B has come under scrutiny as more hospitals have become eligible to participate in the program. This prompted hearings on July 11 in the nation’s capital to discuss the issue. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee has oversight of the program. Ohio Congressman Robert Latta is a member of that committee.

“It was important for us to share with Congressman Latta the importance that this program holds not only for the hospital, but for the community,” Ruge stated. “Without regard for political party, Congressman Latta (R), Senator (Sherrod) Brown (D) and Senator (Rob) Portman (R) have been supportive of this program and rural healthcare.”