WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded an announcement by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to include free-standing children’s hospitals as part of the 340 B Drug Pricing Program. Created in 1992, the program provides access to outpatient discount drug prices for certain hospitals that largely serve low-income patients. The program helps hospitals cover costs for patients who cannot afford to pay for care.

Initially excluded from the program, legislation enacted by Congress in 2005 allowed free-standing children’s hospitals to participate. Since that time, Brown has been working with HRSA to expedite publication in the Federal Register of final guidelines to allow children’s hospitals to benefit from the program. Five hospitals in Ohio – University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; Akron Children’s Hospital; Columbus Children’s Hospital; and Dayton Children’s Hospital – would benefit.

In response to HRSA’s announcement, Senator Brown issued the following statement:

“This is a major victory for children’s hospitals and the families they serve in Ohio and across the nation.  There is no greater worry for a parent than when his or her child is ill. This program will help ensure that children’s hospitals can continue providing outstanding care and services and that children will get the medications they need, regardless of family income.”

The National Association of Children’s Hospitals estimates that eligible children’s hospitals could each save $1 million annually. The effort to include children’s hospitals as part of the 340 B Drug Pricing Program was first introduced by the late Ohio Congressman Paul Gillmor (OH-5).