Thursday, March 19, 2015

SB 407

Chas Vincent

Revise tax-exempt status requirements for certain nonprofit pharmacy operations


  1. Sent the following to Senators Barrett and Malek:

    Missoula County strongly opposes Senate Bill 407 - Revise tax exempt status requirements for certain nonprofit pharmacy operations, in Senate Taxation this morning. The 340B Pharmacy program is vital for the patients of Partnership Health Center (PHC), supplying $4.4M annually in prescription discounts directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers to patients in need within our service area (48% of PHC’s patient population are at 150% of the federal poverty level or below). Under the program requirements of the 340B program, any income generated by 340B must be reallocated into direct patient care services, which in turn, allows our health center to provide a full envelope of medical and dental programs to our most vulnerable citizens. Furthermore, the proposal to reclassify the pharmacy revenue of our non-profit Community Health Center as taxable income is misguided. Only patients who have an established relationship with one of the health center’s providers and who also meet the financial requirements are eligible for 340B discounts. Treating an essential piece of care as unrelated income and taxing it as such is contrary to the foundation of our health center when it was granted non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service. Please oppose SB 407.
    Vickie Zeier on behalf of the Missoula County Commissioners

  2. The following email was sent by Anne Hughes to Senator Wolken on 3/26/15:

    Senator Wolken,
    I'm providing this message in an email as opposed to the online message form because, despite trying to be succinct, the subject matter is too complex and the message is too long.

    Missoula County opposes SB 407 - Revise tax-exempt status requirements for certain nonprofit pharmacy operations – in Senate Finance and Claims this evening. The crux of the matter is a local dispute between the Libby Community Health Center and private sector pharmacists; the Libby CHC, under federal law, is choosing to open an in-house pharmacy similar to the one Missoula County has at Partnership Health Center. During testimony on this bill in Senate Taxation earlier this week, a key component of how a contract pharmacy operates under the federal 340B program was omitted by the bill’s sponsor. Under 340B regulations, the non-profit organization (or “covered entity”) is required to maintain oversight of all contract pharmacies, thereby assuming the compliance and financial risks associated with the prescriptions issued by private pharmacy. The 340B program is complicated and compliance is difficult. Multiple OIG audits have expressed findings of non-compliance with contract pharmacies, putting the entire 340B program at risk for the covered entity. Considering the 340B program has a direct benefit of $4.4M in annual savings to eligible Missoula County residents, we must weigh the risk of non-compliance by a contract pharmacist against the risk of not having the program in place at all. By law, the choice to engage or not engage in a contract pharmacy rests on the business decisions of the covered entity. Imposing penalties on all covered entities in Montana due to a local dispute in Libby is simply misguided. Please oppose SB407.

    If you have questions on this issue or would like additional information, please feel fee to contact Partnership Health Center's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Seaton. His cell number is 802-274-2817. Our lobbyist, Linda Stoll is also aware of our position on this bill. I've cc'd them both on this message as well for your convenience.


  3. Senator Wolken responded to Anne Hughes, Jeff Seaton, Linda Stoll, and Vickie Zeier on 3/26/15 at 9:45 AM:

    I agree and oppose this bill. We will vote on it tomorrow at 5pm and hopefully it won't pass.


    Sent from my iPad


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