Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital 340B Benefits
FY18 savings: $1.94M
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital is a member of Northern Light Health, and as a member, we are committed to building a better healthcare system for all the people of Maine. Our mission is to improve the health of the people and communities we serve. Participation in the 340B program helps us to provide comprehensive healthcare services and life-saving prescriptions to our community.
As a 340B hospital, we purchase medications for qualified patients at a reduced rate from drug companies. The savings are reinvested in services and programs that benefit the patients we serve. While some services are covered by insurance, Medicare and MaineCare reimburse us at a payment rate far below the actual cost to provide care. Other services provide significant benefit to our patients but are not covered by any insurance program. In addition to programs and services in the areas identified below, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital experienced losses associated to free “charity” care provided last fiscal year amounting to more than $1 million dollars. We are committed to our patients, their families, and each other and will provide the care needed, no matter what the situation.
Please see a list below of some of the benefits provided to our community through this program.
340B Program Benefits
As a critical access hospital, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, strives to meet the needs of the communities it serves. The geography of the service area is widely spread, including remote peninsulas and islands with pockets of the population struggling with poverty, transportation challenges, chronic disease, and healthcare literacy barriers. The hospital operates small primary care clinics in Stonington and Castine to keep care “closer to home” and remove common barriers to access in remote areas. A full-time financial counselor is onsite at the hospital to ensure our patients have easy access to help with financial assistance applications, enrolling in the insurance exchange, filling out Medicaid applications, and questions with billing.
Results of the Community Health Needs Assessment show that behavioral health is a growing need in Hancock County, and Blue Hill Hospital is working to remove the stigma of mental health and improve access to these services. The hospital has Licensed Clinical Social Workers embedded in all of its primary care practices and access to Northern Light Health Tele-Psych services. Having behavioral health services in the same space allows for convenient, warm “hand-offs” between primary care providers and counseling services. Blue Hill Hospital has also arranged for on-site counseling in the services area’s largest high school to reach young adults in a convenient, low-pressure setting.
Collaborations with Community Partners
340B funds are also helping to fund vital community partnerships and collaborations. Working together with local organizations with health and wellness related missions, such as Healthy Peninsula, Health Acadia, and At Home Downeast, the hospital can participate in and support more community education and outreach programming, community health services, and public health initiatives. Specifically, this past year, support and funding for the Downeast Treatment Center has been a critical focus as the hospital strives to play an active role in combating the opioid crisis and substance use disorders.
The Importance of Maintaining the 340B Program
As Mainers, we are in this together. And, at Northern Light Health, we are dedicated to ensuring our communities have access to the very best in healthcare. We tirelessly advocate to make sure essential services are maintained close to home for you. Reducing or eliminating our participation in the 340B program would greatly increase the risk of not be able to provide these services to our patients.