In the 1950s, VA became the first organization to mail prescription medications to its patients. Today, its Consolidated Mail Outpaitient Pharmacy (CMOP) accounts for more than 80 percent of outpatient prescriptions filled by VHA with 474,000 prescriptions mailed each day.

VA Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy

VA Secretary Bob McDonald and medical advisor Dr. Baligh Yehia tour the Northeast Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy with facility director Chris Conisha. (VA photo by Victoria Dillon)

“Patients can easily refill medicines online or over the phone, and have their medicines delivered right to their door,” said senior medical advisor to Sec. Bob McDonald, Dr. Baligh Yehia. “As a healthcare provider, mailing prescriptions is all about improving safety and increasing convenience for our patients.”

While VA’s mail order system can be seen as a successful program for the sheer volume of medication it sends to patients across the country ever year, it also provides higher accuracy and lower cost than manual systems, and reduces patient wait times and parking congestion at VA medical centers.

In fact, it’s been given the highest score for mail order pharmacies the past five years by J.D. Power and Associates’ National Pharmacy Study in customer service and cost competitiveness.

Recently, Sec. Bob McDonald toured the Northeast CMOP in Bedford, Mass., with facility Director Chris Conisha. He was especially eager to review the prescription tracking system brought on by CMOP director, and 2013 Presidential SAVE Award recipient, Kenneth Siehr in action.

“The employees of CMOP are the primary reason the program is so successful.  Their dedication and attention to detail every day ensures prescriptions are delivered to Veterans quickly and accurately.” said Conisha, who oversees distribution of more than 10 million prescriptions a year. “The use of automation is an additional level of safety that provides a strict adherence to standard processing procedures and helps ensure correct medication dispensing to the Veteran patients that CMOP serves.”

CMOP, and the work it does to make its patients’ lives better, is one of many bright spots in VA’s portfolio of customer service platforms, and leadership is trying to find ways to expand its Veteran-centric innovations.

“Seeing care and service through the lens of the Veteran is exactly what MyVA is about – delivering not only high quality care, but also creating positive patient experiences,” Yehia said. “It only makes sense to take a good program and see how it translates to other parts of VA.”

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Published on Mar. 30, 2015

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  1. danny giles March 30, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I use the mai order pharmacy almost exclusively. I have not had a problem in almost 10 years. In my opinion, the system is fantastic. Every time I have called in to speak with a pharmacist or pharmacy tech, I have been treated with care & respect. Long story short, YOU GUYS ROCK!!! Thank You

  2. Bill Lee March 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Many veterans do not use the mail order service because of the higher copay being charged for many generic drugs. Would be interesting to find out how any veterans are actually going outside of the VA system to fill their prescriptions. Also there is the issue of medication adherence va medication management. Having a prescription being filled automatically by mail order does not mean true compliance or medication management. there is the lack of a direct relationship or covenant being developed with the pharmacist by mail order which can affect outcome and potential unnecessary admissions/ readmissions.

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