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Capitol Correspondence - 09.15.20

Senate Report Finds Mail Delays Particularly Affect People with Disabilities, Aging Populations

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People with disabilities, particularly in rural areas, often rely on mail delivery of prescription medicines because it is a more accessible system. This Senate report commissioned by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) stresses that mail delays have had a more significant impact on people with disabilities and the aged. As reported by Politico Pro:

“Americans of all ages depend on the USPS to deliver mail-order prescriptions, but this reliance is especially prevalent among seniors and people with disabilities, and more acutely so during the pandemic. The respondents indicated that seniors are particularly reliant on timely delivery of mail-order prescriptions, accounting for more than half of all patients receiving mail-order prescriptions. Patient advocacy groups echoed this fact and noted that the COIVD-19 pandemic has increased the reliance on mail-order delivery of prescriptions by seniors and people with disabilities. According to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, ‘[t]he current COVID-19 public health emergency has had a disproportionately harmful impact on older adults, and necessitates minimizing contact with other people. As more people avoid picking up their drugs and supplies at pharmacies and other places of business, older adults and individuals with disabilities are even more dependent upon the Postal Service to provide a bridge to the outside world.’ Further, the Medicare Rights Center noted that ‘[a]ny USPS operational changes that result in delivery delays could put [older adults and people with disabilities] at risk.’

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Pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers agreed that delays in prescription delivery could have serious consequences for patients. Each of the respondents indicated that – absent additional efforts to get patients their prescriptions in a timely manner – delays in delivery of mail-order prescription drugs could pose serious threats to the health of their customers and patients.”