Tester Demands USPS Postmaster Take Swift Action to Protect Veterans’ Access to Critical Medications

Chairman presses USPS to ensure Montana veterans receive accurate and timely prescription medications following reports of processing errors

Continuing his push to improve mail delivery for Montanans, U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is calling on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to fix issues at the United States Postal Service (USPS) and ensure Montana veterans who receive medications through USPS delivery get their medications in an accurate and timely manner.

“Rural Montanans rely on USPS to pay their bills, run their small businesses, and receive their prescription medications,” wrote Tester in a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy. “For many veterans living in rural Montana, USPS is the only way to receive their VA medications, especially when the nearest VA pharmacy might be several hundred miles away. USPS must ensure that veterans in Montana and across the country can trust that their prescription medications will make it to their door on time and unimpeded by processing errors.”

Tester’s letter follows a report from the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) detailing several processing and distribution errors of VA medication packages, including improper handling of medication packages, employees’ lack of awareness of the policies and procedures for handling damaged pharmacy packages, and inconsistent and inaccurate scanning of packages and mail at USPS facilities.

Urging USPS to “do more” to ensure veterans get the medication they need in time and intact, Tester continued: “Veterans should not have to wonder if their medication will survive USPS processing, let alone be presented with empty packages while waiting for their much-needed medications.”

Tester also pressed USPS to implement the OIG’s recommendations to protect veterans’ access to timely prescriptions: “In my time on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I have found that if something is happening at one VA facility it is almost certainly happening at other facilities, and I imagine the same can be said for USPS. Veterans rely on USPS for on-time medication deliveries, so it is imperative that USPS employees around the country are in full compliance with the policies and procedures pertaining to damaged packages and loose medications…Please provide an update on the development and implementation of these [OIG] recommendations.”

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion holding the USPS accountable. Earlier this month, he demanded that USPS halt its proposal to relocate the Missoula Processing and Distribution Center to Spokane, Washington, a move that would take away jobs from Montanans and possibly worsen timely mail delivery in the state. In December, Tester pressed the Biden Administration to address staffing challenges and fill upcoming openings in USPS leadership with people who have experience with postal matters in rural areas. In June, following months of discussions with Big Sky Post Office stakeholders and USPS, Tester secured a $229,000 per year increase in funding for the Big Sky Post Office to support continued services in the face of the area’s rapid population growth.

In April of 2022, his Postal Service Reform Act was signed into law, which ensures long-term, reliable mail service and put the USPS on sound financial footing. He has repeatedly pushed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. In 2020, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election. Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of Montanans have contacted Tester to express concerns about mail delays and their effects on Montana communities.

Read Tester’s full letter to DeJoy HERE.


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