Posts tagged with "Postmaster General Louis DeJoy"

More than 5,000 mail-order prescriptions delayed at Cook County Health amid USPS changes

August 17, 2020

More than 5,000 prescriptions usually filled by the Cook County [Illinois] Health’s mail-order pharmacy were delayed in July, following upheaval at the U.S. Postal Service, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The pharmacy regularly fills more than 20,000 prescriptions each month, said Cook County Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Claudia Fegan. In July, 23% of those prescriptions were delayed, she said. That was up from less than 1% delayed in March. Delays were up in April and May as well, and reached 18% in June.

In sme ZIP codes, about half of the system’s mail-order prescriptions in July were delayed, Fegan said. Some of the ZIP codes most affected by the delays are those that include the South Side neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham, Roseland, Pullman, and South Shore.

“This is yet another example of the impact that policy changes have on our vulnerable populations,” Fegan said at a news conference Monday. “Our patients deserve high-quality care and continuity of care. They deserve to be able to receive their medication and not have to worry about how they’ll get to the pharmacy during a pandemic to get their medications.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump crony who was appointed in early May, implemented a series of policy changes that slowed down and delayed the mail, including canceling overtime and limiting mail transportation runs, according to the American Postal Workers Union.

Those changes were called out and criticized by Democrats—who saw them as an attempt to make it more difficult for people to vote by mail in the November election.

DeJoy said in a statement last week that he would hold off on certain changes until after the November election “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure to send $25 billion in additional funds to the Postal Service but that measure is not expected to be taken up in the Senate, the Tribune said.

Cook County Health leaders said Monday they continue to hear complaints about delayed medications from patients.

“This has severely impacted seniors and other individuals who have high risk of exposure to COVID-19 and depend on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their mail-order prescriptions on time,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Patricia Moore, a patient at Cook County Health who spoke at the news conference,

said she had never had a problem getting her mail-order prescriptions delivered on time before now. But she recently ran low on her medication for high blood pressure when it didn’t arrive on time. She ended up making a trip to Provident Hospital to pick it up. When she again ran low, she stood in line at her local post office for an hour-and-a-half to try to pick it up, only to be told that she’d have to come back another time.

When she finally received her medication, she was down to her last pill, she said.

“Finally, I got my medication, but I hope and pray in the future, I don’t have to go through all these changes again,” Moore said.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Pelosi to recall House for USPS vote, as Democrats press for Postmaster General DeJoy to testify

August 18, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on August 16 that she would call members of the House back from their annual summer recess for a vote this week on legislation to block changes at the U.S. Postal Service, according to a report by The New York Times.

Changes drawing ire and fire from Pelosi include the recent, surreptitious removal of crucial mail sorting equipment nationwide—a move that, voting advocates warn, could disenfranchise Americans casting ballots by mail during the pandemic.

The removal of the sorting equipment was executed under orders from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor appointed in May.

The announcement came after Chief of Staff  Mark Meadows signaled that the White House might be open to providing emergency funding for the USPS to handle a surge in mail-in ballots—if that financing accompanied a package of coronavirus stimulus measures desired by the Administration.

It also came, the Times said, as Democratic state attorneys general said that they were exploring legal action against cutbacks and changes at the Postal Service.

The moves underscored rising concern across the country over the integrity of the November election and how the Postal Service will handle as many as 80 million ballots cast by Americans worried about venturing to polling stations because of the coronavirus. President Trump has repeatedly derided mail voting as vulnerable to fraud, without evidence (and while he has publicly requested a mail-in ballot from Florida, himself), and the issue had become a prominent sticking point in negotiations over the next round of coronavirus relief.

The House was not scheduled to return for votes until September 14, but is now expected to consider a Postal Service bill as soon as Saturday, August 22, according to information received by the Times from a senior Democratic aide familiar with the plans. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, is expected to announce the final schedule on Monday.

“Lives, livelihoods and the life of our American democracy are under threat from the president,” Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers. “That is why I am calling upon the House to return to session later this week.”

According to the Times, the abrupt return to Washington was announced just hours after Democrats called on top Postal Service officials to testify on Capitol Hill this month about recent policies that they warned pose “a grave threat to the integrity of the election.

“ It also demonstrates the growing alarm over changes the Postal Service is enforcing under its leader, Louis DeJoy … less than three months before a general election. Some of the changes, which Mr. DeJoy describes as cost-cutting measures, include ending overtime pay and the removal or transfer of some sorting machines.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, demanded on Sunday that Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, bring senators back to Capitol Hill to take up the House measure that he said in a statement “will undo the extensive damage Mr. DeJoy has done at the Postal Service.”

Research contact: @nytimes