Shaheen, Hassan demand Postal Service cease operational changes
August 16, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are 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, Shaheen, Hassan and a group of Senators urged 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.
Senators Shaheen and Hassan are fighting back against efforts to sabotage the Postal Service. In April, Shaheen and Hassan, together with the New Hampshire congressional delegation, sent a letter to congressional leadership, urging them to include relief for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in future COVID-19 relief legislation, calling President Trump’s plan to quadruple rates “outrageous.” Shaheen also sent a letter with her colleagues to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, urging him to reject politically motivated conditions on financial relief for the USPS, including privatization. The Senators have introduced a resolution outlining the importance of the USPS and urging increased funding in the next COVID-19 relief package to help the key agency offset losses incurred due to the pandemic. Following concerns raised by Granite Staters experiencing mail delivery delays, Shaheen and Hassan sent a letter earlier this week with the New Hampshire delegation calling for answers. Shaheen and Hassan have urged U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to answer questions about recent changes to long-standing practices at the USPS that would result in increased delivery times and costs for election mail, and called on him not to take any further action that makes it harder and more expensive for states and election jurisdictions to mail ballots.