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News release, July 31, 2020

Thousands of Arkansans benefit

from low cost RX drugs at CHCs

Savings touted in recent Executive Order already passed down to patients

LaShannon Spencer, Chief Executive Officer, CHCA
501.517.0842, lspencer@chc
Seth Blomeley, Communications and Policy Director, CHCA

Community Health Centers across Arkansas each day see the positive impact a federal prescription drug program offers low-income patients.

The program, known as 340B, enables Community Health Centers (CHCs) to offer low-cost prescription drugs to those in dire financial and health situations.

"Especially with COVID-19, we've had a lot of patients who have lost insurance and need help," said Victoria Hennessey, owner of a pharmacy contracted with Community Clinic, a CHC in Springdale. "We work closely with patients and their medical providers to ensure they continue to receive the medicine they need to survive at affordable prices. A lot of these patients would not have access to critical medication without 340B."

Last week, President Trump issued four executive orders with the aim of reducing prescription drug prices. One of those requires CHCs, as a condition of receiving federal grants, to make insulin and injectable epinephrine available at discounted prices to low-income patients.

"We're extremely pleased to say that CHCs in Arkansas already provide these discounts," said LaShannon Spencer, chief executive officer of CHCA. "We are in line with President Trump's goal on passing these savings on to low-income patients."

For example, Hennessey cites one particular couple she was proud to help. They had health insurance coverage through the wife's job until she was laid off due to COVID-19. The husband works at a sawmill that doesn't offer insurance. Through a close working relationship with their health care provider at Community Clinic, she was able to obtain diabetes and blood pressure medications courtesy of the 340B program for $13 a month out-of-pocket cost each.

Without 340B, the couple in Springdale was facing monthly prescription drug costs of more than $1,200. The program is a must at Community Clinic, which works hard to serve the Latinx and Marshallese populations in Northwest Arkansas, hit especially hard during the current pandemic.

In Arkansas last year, thanks to 340B, more than 110,000 prescriptions were distributed at significant discounts to under-insured and uninsured patients by the 10 member health centers of the CHCA. 

The average out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients in the 340B program at CHCs in Arkansas was about $12 per prescription.

Spencer said, "The 340B program is essential for providing low-cost prescriptions for Arkansans to live a high quality of life, and in some cases, simply survive. The program also enables CHCs to provide other necessary services to fulfill their mission of serving the most vulnerable in need of quality health care." 

Under 340B, CHCs receive significant discounts from drug manufacturers on medications that are dispensed to their patients through participating pharmacies. These discounts can be passed along to under-insured and uninsured patients. For the insured patients, who are generally ineligible for the deep discounts, revenue is collected by the CHC through the normal course of billing the prescriptions to insurance. This revenue must be used by CHCs to supplement activities to expand access to health care.   

"We are proud that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has in the past noted [CHCs'] longstanding 'track record of delivering quality care at a significantly lower cost,' a task made possible by programs such as 340B," said Tom Van Coverden, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Community Health Centers in a statement after the executive orders were announced.

About: CHCs are non-profit entities fueled by patient revenue and federal grants meant to expand health care access for low-income, minority, and rural populations. CHCs provide many services including primary care, dental, behavioral health, and health education. 

Altogether, CHCs in Arkansas serve more than 220,000 people a year at more than 140 sites.

For more information on Community Health Centers, please visit: and



 Community Health Centers of Arkansas, Inc.
119 South Izard Street, Little Rock, AR 72201 501-374-8225

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