Skip to main content

Analysis

Primary Care Docs 'Alarmed' by USPS Chaos

By John Commins  
   August 17, 2020

The ACP warns that delivery delays at the USPS could harm millions of people who rely on the mail for prescription medications.

The ongoing disarray at the U.S. Postal Service have raised concerns among the nation's primary care doctors.

The American College of Physicians on Monday warned that "recent reports of changes" at USPS could worsen delivery delays with the potential to harm millions of people who rely on the mail for prescription medications.

"Any prescription medication can only be as effective as a patient’s ability to access it," ACP President Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, said in a media release.

"A delay in receiving a necessary prescription could be life-threatening," Fincher said. "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."

Earlier this month, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced a reorganization  "to operate in a more efficient and effective manner."

"The new organization will align functions based on core business operations and will provide more clarity and focus on what the Postal Service does best; collect, process, move and deliver mail and packages," USPS said.

However, the initiative has raised concerns among Democrats that the Trump administration is attempting to "kneecap" the post office ahead of the November elections, which will rely heavily upon mail-in ballots.

House Democrats have earmarked $25 billion for the USPS in their latest coronavirus relief package, but Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump oppose the funding.   

In an interview with Fox Business News last week, President Trump admitted that he was opposed to additional funding for the USPS as a means of limiting mail-in voting.

The president's comments prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to call the House back into session from summer recess to address the issue.  

ACP President Fincher said she's hearing reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs, which fills 80% of its prescriptions by mail, has already experienced "significant delays" in mail-order prescription drugs to veterans.

"Mail-order prescriptions can be particularly important in rural areas where the local pharmacy may be a long distance away," Fincher said. "We also know that increasingly insurance plans are moving patients to mail-order services."

The problem is exacerbated of late, Fincher said, by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed more Americans to transition to mail delivery of their prescription drugs.

"This may be most important for those with chronic conditions, who are more likely to need a prescription and are also more at risk from a COVID-19 infection," she said.

“Any prescription medication can only be as effective as a patient’s ability to access it.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Earlier this month, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced a reorganization  "to operate in a more efficient and effective manner."

However, the initiative has raised concerns among Democrats that the Trump administration is attempting to "kneecap" the post office ahead of the November elections.

House Democrats have earmarked $25 billion for the USPS in their latest coronavirus relief package, but Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump oppose the funding.  


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.