Report Reveals the Need for Improvements to the VA Suicide Hotline

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 21, 2017 – According to the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the suicide hotline for veterans requires some improvements.

A report issued by the department this year stated that several veterans who phoned the hotline were connected to overflow call centers, and some were put in a queue for a maximum of 30 minutes while they waited for someone to answer their call.

In 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line was created. It answers approximately 500,000 calls annually. The objective was to have no more than 10 percent of calls sent to overflow call centers. However, the rate was almost 30 percent last November. The high rollover rate is problematic because callers who were sent to two of the overflow call centers were placed in a queue where they could be waiting up to 30 minutes for someone to respond to their call. However, the staff did not deem this to be the same as being “on hold” because no one had answered the call. But, as the report indicates, there is no difference to the caller.

David W. Magann, a veterans’ disability lawyer, based in Tampa, Florida, states, “Individuals, such as veterans, who have suffered severe medical problems, should not be required to wait indefinitely for someone to answer their call on a suicide prevention hotline.” “They deserve to receive a timely response to their call for help,” Magann added.

Other problems that the audit revealed are inefficient leadership and insufficient data to evaluate the quality of calls. The rollover calls occur when phone lines are busy, thereby resulting in potential wait times of 30 minutes or more.

The new VA Secretary David Shulkin has made suicide prevention a major issue at the agency, which has been marked by scandal in recent years since there were reports of delays in treatment at veterans’ hospitals. As part his campaign, President Trump said he would work to improve the lives of veterans. This crisis presents him with an opportunity to remedy the troubling state of the veterans’ suicide prevention hotline.

Learn more at David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548