WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) ), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), which has jurisdiction over the United States Postal Service (USPS),  announced she has joined Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Gary Peters (D-MI) in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy concerning the impact of recent operational changes at USPS on veterans’ ability to receive timely medication deliveries from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Even when ordering early as VA suggests, reports indicate that some veterans are waiting weeks for their medications to arrive, and some are missing doses.

“Millions of veterans rely on timely deliveries from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to receive their prescription medications from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),” wrote the Senators. “Recent operational changes you ordered at USPS are needlessly delaying veterans’ access to life-saving prescriptions, when the health and lives of Americans are already at high risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“… Since you directed USPS to institute harmful operational changes that have restricted mail movement and limited carriers’ ability to timely deliver mail, we have received many troubling reports from veterans waiting weeks for their prescriptions to arrive due to delays at USPS. VA’s website states that ‘prescriptions usually arrive within 3 to 5 days,’ ” the Senators’ letter continued. “Veterans and VA staff have said that as of recently, these medications are often taking weeks to be delivered and causing veterans to miss doses of vital medications. Most troubling is that these delays appear to be entirely avoidable. Veterans and the VA should be able to count on USPS for the timely delivery of essential prescription drugs.”

Read the Senators’ full letter here or below:

Dear Postmaster DeJoy,

Millions of veterans rely on timely deliveries from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to receive their prescription medications from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recent operational changes you ordered at USPS are needlessly delaying veterans’ access to life-saving prescriptions, when the health and lives of Americans are already at high risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

VA fills about 80 percent of veteran prescriptions by mail, due to the high accuracy and lower processing costs of the Department’s mail-order pharmacy service, the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP). The VA CMOP fills almost 120 million prescriptions a year, with deliveries arriving daily to about 330,000 veterans across the country. Veterans and the VA rely on USPS for timely delivery of these prescriptions, since approximately 90 percent of CMOP packages are shipped to veterans by the Postal Service. VA’s mail-order pharmacy service is also extremely popular among veterans, with an “among the best” rating in customer satisfaction according to the J.D. Power U.S. Pharmacy Study.

However, since you directed USPS to institute harmful operational changes that have restricted mail movement and limited carriers’ ability to timely deliver mail, we have received many troubling reports from veterans waiting weeks for their prescriptions to arrive due to delays at USPS. VA’s website states that “prescriptions usually arrive within 3 to 5 days.” Veterans and VA staff have said that as of recently, these medications are often taking weeks to be delivered and causing veterans to miss doses of vital medications. Most troubling is that these delays appear to be entirely avoidable. Veterans and the VA should be able to count on USPS for the timely delivery of essential prescription drugs.

Access to prescription medications is especially integral during the COVID-19 pandemic when routine health care appointments may be delayed or cancelled. No veteran should have to wonder when their antidepressant or blood pressure medication may arrive – and the effects can be devastating if doses are missed. Thousands of veterans, including more than 2,200 veterans who were VA patients, have already died from the novel coronavirus. USPS needs to immediately cease operational changes that are causing mail delays so that veterans do not needlessly suffer from illnesses exacerbated by delayed medication deliveries.

Those who gave so much to serve this country should be able to count on the nation’s Postal Service to deliver their medications in a timely manner. We request that the Postal Service examine the impact of its recent operational and policy changes on veterans’ access to prescription drugs, and work with VA to ensure no veteran suffers from further medication delivery delays.

Sincerely,

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