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  • Last modified 245 days ago (Sept. 28, 2023)

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Hospital conflicts lessen: Progress on rebates to pharmacy

Staff writer

A month ago, St. Luke Hospital chief executive Alex Haines said he would look into contention between the hospital and Lanning Pharmacy over a federal drug program.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Haines said he’d met with Traci and Gene Lanning to hear examples of what they’d like to have investigated to help resolve the dispute.

The contention sprang from billing related to the so-called 340B federal program in which a hospital purchases outpatient medication at a reduced wholesale price and supplies it to a pharmacy.

The pharmacy dispenses the drugs to qualifying patients. Additional profit that results from the lower wholesale price is split between the hospital and the pharmacy.

Haines said he also spoke to Macrohelix, a third-party program administrator formerly used by the program.

“We know the company that does the medicine distribution had an incorrect price file,” Haines said.

Although he wouldn’t say an error had been made, he said he thought Macrohelix would issue a credit rebate. He’s not sure whether that rebate will be issued to the hospital or the pharmacy.

Pharmacy co-owner Traci Lanning spoke to hospital board members April 25 and asked for an independent audit of the program.

She was critical of former CEO Jeremy Ensey’s lack of communication. She pressed for an independent audit.

“It has been our goal in the past to work together with the hospital to make the program a success to all parties,” she said. “However, over the last couple of years, we feel that the hospital has taken advantage of the program and manipulated certain aspects of it to their advantage.

“When we have questioned these actions, we have been met with hostility or a complete lack of communication.”

The pharmacy had questions and concerns about November and December invoices.

“Due to past experience, we told the CEO we were not going to pay these invoices until our questions and concerns were addressed,” she said. “We received no response back from the CEO, but we did receive a demand letter from St. Luke’s attorney and were put on notice that the hospital board was to have no contact with us or any representative of our business.”

The pharmacy paid St. Luke in April, but Lanning said she thought the hospital owed the pharmacy money.

Co-owner Gene Lanning said they appreciate Haines coming to talk to them.

“We are heading in the right direction, finally,” he said.

Last modified Sept. 28, 2023

 

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