USPS delays leaving some patients without their prescriptions

Operational changes at the United States Postal Service are causing some patients to go without their medications as mail-order prescriptions are delayed, KHOU, a Houston-based CBS affiliate, reported. 

USPS said Aug. 7 that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who started in the role in June, modified the organizational structure of the postal service to "align functions based on core business operations" and "provide more clarity and focus on what the Postal Service does best: collect, process, move and deliver mail and packages."

Mr. DeJoy acknowledged that the changes had "unintended consequences," CNN reported. The restructuring has slowed deliveries and limited the postal service's capacity.

A Texas man told KHOU that delivery delays caused him to go a week without his daily heart medication. He said he tracked his package and it sat at a mail-processing facility in north Houston for 10 days. 

The Veterans Affairs Department began requiring medications to be mailed three years ago, and some veterans are now seeing delays in their prescriptions, KSFM 5News, a local news station in Northwest Arkansas, reported. 

Veteran Greg Carney told 5News that his prescriptions tend to either get put in the wrong mailbox at his apartment complex, or they don't show up. 

"I would finally get the medication weeks, up to three weeks later, at the rental office, but that takes control of my healthcare at home away from me by virtue of unreliability," he said.

The American College of Physicians released a statement saying: "A delay in receiving a necessary prescription could be life-threatening. My patients who rely on their insulin, or their inhalers, or any other type of medication can’t wait weeks to see whether or not their prescription will be delivered. Mail-order prescriptions can be particularly important in rural areas where the local pharmacy may be a long distance away ... Any prescription medication can only be as effective as a patient’s ability to access it. We need to ensure that patients can continue to rely on the U.S. Postal Service to receive their critical medications."

USPS released a statement saying: "The Postal Service is flexing its available resources to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We appreciate the patience of our customers and apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced."

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