Advocacy and Health Policy |
ACOG Weighs In On Importance of Timely Delivery of Mail for Women’s Health
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform this week held a hearing titled “Protecting the Timely Delivery of Mail, Medicine, and Mail-in Ballots” to examine operational and organizational changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS) that have resulted in mail delivery delays across the country. ACOG submitted a statement for the record to help inform the work of the Committee and share concerns with the impact of mail delays on women’s health.
In 2019, mail-order pharmacies delivered more than 171 million prescriptions. It is also estimated that approximately 80 percent of the outpatient prescriptions in the Department of Veterans Affairs health system are distributed by mail. Obstetric and gynecologic patients rely on mail delivery to get the prescribed medications they need, including contraception and maintenance medications to control chronic conditions including hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death among women in the United States and a major factor in the nation’s maternal mortality crisis. Moreover, mail order of prescription medications facilitates effective use of telehealth, improves rural access to care, aids in adherence to medication, and – especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic – helps patients obtain needed medication without the risks associated with entering a pharmacy.
Timely, reliable delivery of medication is critical to ensure that patients’ health and quality of life does not suffer. ACOG’s COVID-19 clinical guidance specifically recommends that physicians and clinicians encourage their patients to fill prescriptions through the mail as one strategy to mitigate risk to the virus and ensure continuity of care. ACOG is highly concerned by accounts from its members who have recently begun reporting patient complaints of delays in receiving prescribed medication through the mail and will continue to closely monitor the situation.