July 14, 2010 - Two pillars of the 340B drug discount program who announced their retirements early this year have been chosen to receive the 340B Coalition's highest honor.
Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) Director Jimmy Mitchell and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) Executive Director Christine (Chris) Burch will each be presented with the coalition's Lifetime Achievement Award during the group's July 19-21 annual meeting in Washington.
Mitchell has been OPA's director since 1999. He led the efforts to create the Health Resources and Services Administration's Prime Vendor Program, which negotiates pharmaceutical pricing below the 340B price on behalf of program participants, and the Pharmacy Services Support Center, which helps participants maximize the program's benefits through information, education and policy analysis. He also was a driving force behind OPA's Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative.
The long-time director plans to step down officially once his replacement is announced, which is expected to occur imminently.
Burch has served as NAPH's senior executive since 1990. NAPH is a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy support and educational services to more than 100 high-Medicaid urban hospitals. NAPH is widely respected by policymakers as a leading voice on issues related to uncompensated care, Medicaid reimbursement and other challenges facing safety-net hospitals. It is credited with ensuring that hospitals that provide large volumes of uncompensated care remain in business.
Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA) President and General Counsel William von Oehsen, who worked closely with Burch in making sure that hospitals were included in the original 340B law, said that "Chris's knowledge of health care policy and access to key government officials will be sorely missed." Like Mitchell, she too has agreed to assist in her replacement's transition.
Before joining NAPH, Burch was the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation's Washington representative and a senior health care staff member for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Burch has also been NAPH's representative on the governing board of SNHPA since 2007, when the hospital group's forerunner, NAPH's Public Hospital Pharmacy Coalition, was spun off as an independent nonprofit association.