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  • Last modified 58 days ago (Feb. 22, 2024)

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Pharmacy, hospital resolve dispute

Agree pharmacy’s share of drug program was shorted

Staff writer

A long-running dispute between St. Luke Hospital and Lanning Pharmacy over a federal drug program meant to support hospitals that serve low-income patients was resolved Monday.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the pharmacy and the hospital said the hospital had changed its third-party program administrator and plans to change its auditor and distributor.

The pharmacy expressed concern last year about inconsistent reports and invoices from the administrator that processed claims under the so-called 340B program.

The hospital had received a credit because of an incorrect price file from the hospital’s distributor. After a year of reviewing details, the hospital and pharmacy determined that a percentage of the credit was owed to the pharmacy.

“We are confident these changes will prevent a recurrence of the issues we saw last year, and we look forward to working together to provide the 340B service to our community for many years to come,” the joint statement said.

The statement also acknowledged that the community was affected by conflict between the two.

“We understand that the process of getting to this conclusion was not absent of some conflict between the two organizations and even the community as a whole,” the statement said. “Therefore, we have made some changes to the program to help prevent this issue from causing future division.”

The dispute began last April after the pharmacy received an unexpectedly large bill from the hospital, which buys prescription medications at discounts of up to 50% for dispensing by contracting pharmacies.

After getting the bill, pharmacy co-owner Traci Lanning asked for an audit.

The 340B program is meant to enable covered hospitals and clinics to stretch federal resources as far as possible, reach more vulnerable uninsured and underinsured patients, and provide more comprehensive services.

When patients with medical insurance fill a prescription, they pay a price set by their insurance company.

Profit from of the discount is split between the hospital and its contracting pharmacy. Lanning Pharmacy’s contract began Jan. 1, 2016.

“We are grateful to (St. Luke chief executive) Alex Haines and the board for finally addressing our concerns and approving the data be reviewed so we could receive the credit we were due,” Lanning said. “It was a longer process than it needed to be, but today we can finally put this situation behind us and move forward in partnership with St. Luke to continue providing excellent services to our community.”

Last modified Feb. 22, 2024

 

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