USPS problems cause delays in medication deliveries

The problems facing the U.S. Postal Service are also impacting veterans.

The national non-profit Disabled American Veterans (DAV) reports delays in medicines from the Department of Veterans Affairs Mail Order Pharmacy.

"[Veterans Affairs] has now confirmed to us that the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is responsible for delivering about 90% of all VA mail-order prescriptions, has indeed been delayed in delivering these critical medications by an average of almost 25% over the past year, with many locations experiencing much more significant delays," said DAV National Commander Stephen “Butch” Whitehead

Petros Jaferis and his wife, both U.S. Army veterans, are trying to cope as best they can with weeks or even months-long delays in getting their mail-order prescriptions.

"I've been having to cut my dose in half so that I'm still keeping myself under control but I'm not going be in few days or anything like that," Jaferis told FOX 26.

He says, they're managing by reducing or skipping doses but he worries other veterans, especially those treated for mental illness, cannot.

"They're going to come off psych med like that, they're going to come apart at the seams," he added. "No amount of push-ups in a viral video is going to help their family."

With the increased attention on USPS, Jaferis hopes people will see how it's impacting veterans.

"A lot of veterans who rely on medicine are becoming collateral damage," he said.

He hopes the issue will stop being politicized.

"We need to invest in ourselves and our infrastructure and the post office is vital piece of our infrastructure," Jaferis said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service sent FOX 26 the following statement:

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.