“When it comes to delivery, we’re required to provide universal service and delivery to every address. If there’s a consolidation in a particular city, that doesn’t affect the way deliveries are taken care of,” he said.
“Typically with post office closure, you’re dealing with retail and the interface with the public at the counter. That’s not what the postal model relies on. Our reliance is actually on the residential delivery of these medications. As long as universal service remains our mandate, we won’t see that affect our reach as far as delivery is concerned.”
In fact, despite bleak postal service headlines, the program seems to be progressing at a steady pace under federally supplied grants. Minneapolis-St. Paul has a plan in place that would allow it to respond in 20 zip codes and in Louisville, Kentucky, the USPS is in the process of putting together a volunteer corps that would cover 23 zip codes in Kentucky.
Within a year’s time, USPS hopes to be operational (having people screened, trained, and ready to respond) in San Diego, Philadelphia, and Boston.
“The model can be applied anywhere, but right now we’re going where we have the grant money to go. It’s a bottom up approach. We want to integrate our response with local and state public health response so it supplements what they already have in the can,” Plessas said.
“This program’s continued existence depends on continued funding….So as long as we continue to see funding we’ll be able to maintain our presence in cities where it’s been deployed and hopefully expand out,” he said.
For more information, see the National Postal Model for the Delivery Of Medical Countermeasures.
photo by Noize Photography/flickr