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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Veterans see delays in medication deliveries from USPS

The VA started requiring prescription medications to be mailed out three years ago and since then veterans have seen delays with the postal service.
Credit: KFSM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Veterans say they are seeing delays in getting mail-order prescriptions from the VA delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

“Certainly, it’s frustrating but it’s fearful too,” said veteran Greg Carney said.

The VA started requiring prescription medications to be mailed out to veterans three years ago. Carney says since then his prescriptions either get put in the wrong mailbox at his apartment complex or just 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.

Carney says the root of the problem is at the postal service. He’s fortunate that a patient advocate at the Veteran’s Health Care System of the Ozarks was able to help him get his medications at their pharmacy since they never came in the mail. 

Carney says he is fearful that if something doesn’t change at the post office this is just going to continue happening to he and other veterans.

“USPS should be privatized," he said. "Either UPS or FedEx take it over. Otherwise, if you are going to throw money at it, there has to be some great oversight, quality control oversight at each post office to make sure that what’s occurring to me just doesn’t happen."

President Donald Trump says that he opposes funding for the postal service because he is against it being used for mail-in ballots. 

Senator Chuck Schumer disagrees saying we need the postal service now more than ever.

“People need their medicines delivered," Schumer said. "Lots of people with preexisting conditions, lots of elderly people don't want to go out, they depend on the mails to give them vital stuff."

Congressman Steve Womack released the following statement about this ongoing issue.

“My top priority is helping Arkansans, and constituent services is a core function of our office. If any Third District veteran is experiencing an issue with a federal agency, I encourage them to reach out to my office immediately. We will continue to serve those who have served us.”

Also, any Third District resident having an issue with a federal agency can reach out to our office for help with casework.

The USPS released the following statement Friday (Aug. 14).

“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. We also appreciate the efforts of employees as conditions change on a day-to-day basis.

The Postal Service has long-standing processes to align workforce to workload, including contingencies to respond to events like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Postal Service maintains steady communications with mailers during events that require specific responses and advises residential customers and business mailers with regard to postal facility disruptions that may impact delivery in an affected area via its USPS Service Alerts webpage at about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/.

As the Postmaster General recently reiterated, the Postal Service is in a financially unsustainable position, stemming from substantial declines in mail volume, and a broken business model. We are currently unable to balance our costs with available funding sources to fulfill both our universal service mission and other legal obligations. Because of this, the Postal Service has experienced over a decade of financial losses, with no end in sight, and we face an impending liquidity crisis.

As we have repeatedly stated, Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission must enact legislative and regulatory reforms to help address the situation. At the same time, it is imperative for the Postal Service to operate efficiently and effectively, while continuing to provide service that meets the needs of our customers. We recognize that there are alternatives to every product that we offer, and for that reason high-quality, reasonably-priced service is an imperative, but it is equally important to note that high quality service and efficient service are not mutually exclusive, but in fact necessarily go hand-in hand if we are to be self-sustaining as required by law. Indeed, achieving both is the only way that the Postal Service can continue to survive as a self-funded entity and to provide prompt, reliable, and reasonably-priced universal postal services for all Americans over the long-term.

As such, we are vigorously focusing on the efficiency of our operations as a fundamental strategy to enable the provision of high-quality service in a financially sustainable manner. To start with, we have taken immediate steps to better adhere to our existing operating plans, which were developed precisely to ensure that we meet our present service standards in an efficient and effective manner. By running our operations on time and on schedule, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable and to be able to continue to provide high-quality, affordable service. Of course, we acknowledge that temporary service impacts can occur as we redouble our efforts to conform to the current operating plans, but any such impacts will be monitored and temporary as the root causes of any issues will be addressed as necessary and corrected as appropriate. Further, we will also continually review our operational practices and make adjustments as required to ensure that we operate in an efficient and effective manner.”