WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues, led by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in demanding immediate action following reports of significant delays in veterans’ prescription medications through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the Senators are urging USPS to correct operational changes that are needlessly delaying veterans’ access to life-saving prescriptions.
“Veterans and the VA should be able to count on USPS for the timely delivery of essential prescription drugs,” the Senators wrote. “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.”
The Senators continued, “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.”
The VA fills about 80 percent of its prescriptions through their Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP), which primarily uses the U.S. Postal Service to deliver to veterans’ homes. The VA CMOP fills almost 120 million prescriptions a year, with deliveries arriving daily to about 330,000 veterans across the country. According to the VA website, “prescriptions usually arrive within 3 to 5 days.” Reports from veterans and VA staff have said that recently these medications are sometimes taking weeks to be delivered and causing veterans to miss doses of vital medications.
Earlier this month, Senator Baldwin called for answers from Postmaster General DeJoy about recent operational changes and directives from him that have resulted in mail being left behind at distribution centers in Wisconsin, and mail delivery being delayed to Wisconsinites. Baldwin also recently joined the entire Democratic caucus in urging Postmaster General DeJoy to provide answers regarding these reports of recent changes to long-standing practices at USPS that are resulting in these increased delivery times.
Read the Senators’ full letter here.
An online version of this release is available here.