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Efficiency, the fourth of five pillars for 340B program compliance

By Craig Frost

Craig Frost, President Sectyr®
Craig P. Frost, RPh, MBA, FACHE
President & COO, Sectyr

Regardless of the methods by which a covered entity complies with the 340B program, the best solutions rest atop five pillars: standardization, accountability, visibility, efficiency, and sustainability. In this blog post, the focus is on the fourth pillar, efficiency. When a covered entity employs spreadsheets and calendars to input, track, and monitor 340B program requirements, time becomes one of the first casualties. It is not uncommon to hear program directors lament how there is not enough time in their day to record, assign, and follow up on their program’s work. Much of the work is repetitive and tedious.

The manager of a Northeastern medical center’s 340B program recently said, “There’s no way to perform these compliance checks manually each day, and no way as a covered entity to set up a daily feed with the OPAIS.”

Most executives at a covered entity will also acknowledge the complexity of managing a 340B program. Although some program directors choose to manage a 340B program without compliance software, they, too, admit to spending a lot of time and energy managing the difficulties and intricacies. With the right technology, one that injects efficiency into the process, a 340B program can move from a position of having to always look back at what has (or has not been) accomplished to advancing the program in financially beneficial ways.

Changing the program posture in this way allows a 340B program team to pour themselves into financial matters such as growing a contract pharmacy benefit or enhancing their strategy for handling certain claims in-house. Imagine being able to allocate time to other activities instead of spending effort maintaining compliance. Reallocating time helps a team pursue, for example, whether an outpatient location is capturing everything it needs to be, or asking whether the 340B program is being too conservate with how it qualifies claims.

Digitizing the compliance process spells efficiency

One way to reallocate time is with compliance software. With software that automatically analyzes and tracks the data HRSA auditors require, managers gain efficiency while keeping their 340B program in good standing. With a software system keeping tabs on what must be done, 340 program managers can focus on strategies for enhancing their 340B program instead of shoring up compliance.

Compliance solutions like SectyrHub® 340B synchronize every day with OPAIS and automatically flag any discrepancies. SectyrHub 340B also includes collaboration and accountability tools. A 340B program manager can tap these tools to set up reviews or audit timing cycles along with prompts and tasks, which funnel into a dashboard offering the status of all the elements of compliance. Creating a digital dashboard for all stakeholders means no more guessing about the location of documents or what kind of records are on hand. Digitizing the compliance process automatically assigns tasks and notifies directors about their program’s status.

A 340B program manager at a Midwest university medical center said, “Once we develop our program plan, SectyrHub does the thinking and reminding to keep us true to that plan, so we’re audit-ready.

“The alternative would be relying on Excel spreadsheets and calendaring tools, which wouldn’t automatically alert us to changes to OPAIS the way SectyrHub can,” he added.

This kind of approach is the very definition of efficiency, and having an organizational infrastructure such as this in place enables a manager to know where he or she stands, so there’s no searching for data, reports, emails, or checklists. Stakeholders know in real time if their employer complies with the HRSA requirements and could pass a HRSA audit. In other words, a system like SectyrHub 340B will streamline the auditing process (i.e., managers are not spending time to support the audit with their resources) and ensure a much higher probability of a clean audit.

Some believe their talented employees alone can handle the job, but compliance software shines a light on shortcomings. And, ultimately, if there is technology available to help a manager reallocate the talent of his or her team for higher value tasks, why not avail oneself of that?

Craig Frost, RPh, MBA, FACHE, is the president and COO of Sectyr, LLC where he manages operations and facilitates an innovative team to develop and market tools that enable best practices for continuous compliance.

Sectyr Value Pillars - VisibilitySectyr Value Pillars - EfficiencySectyr Value Pillars - Sustainability
Five Pillars of 340B Program Compliance