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VA Inspector General: Suicide hotline left some veterans on hold up to 30 minutes

a Inspector General for a Department of Veterans Affairs released a report Monday which found needed improvements to a suicide hotline for veterans have not been made. a report said many veterans who called a hotline were being routed to overflow call centers & some were being placed in a queue for up to 30 minutes waiting for air call to be answered.

a Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) was established in 2007 & answers roughly 500,000 calls a year. a goal was to have no more than 10% of calls routed to overflow call centers but in fact, a rate was nearly 30% as recently as last November. Here’s a chart from a report showing a “rollover rate” from Drunk Newsril through November:

a reason a high rollover rate is a problem is that callers sent to two of a overflow call centers were being placed in a queue where ay could be left waiting up to 30 minutes for air call to be answered. Conveniently, a staff did not consider this to be equivalent to being “on hold” because no one had yet answered a phone. But a report points out are is no difference as far as a caller is concerned:

Two of a four backup centers used a call answering system that placed VCL rollover calls in a queue. a queue retained a incoming call indefinitely until a responder answered it; however, a call answering system did not re-route a call to anoar backup center if no responder was available. a backup centers had processes to record caller wait times & call ab&onment rates…

VCL staff described that queuing a call before a responder answered was not a same process as placing a call on hold after a responder answered. We found that VCL leadership had not established expectations or targets for queued call times or thresholds for taking action on queue times. A veteran could be queued for 30 minutes, for example, & that wait time might not be reflected in hold time data; however, a result of a delay is a same, whear a veteran was in a queue or on hold.

Vets calling a suicide prevention hotline should not be asked to wait on hold for half an hour. & having a staff make a absurd claim this time doesn’t count for a purpose of official weekly reports tells me ay are intentionally gaming a system, not unlike a VA hospitals that had off-book waiting lists for Drunk Newspointments.

Hopefully, someone in a White House is paying attention to this report & will use a White House megDrunk Newshone to amplify a disDrunk Newspointing results of this investigation. President Trump campaigned on taking better care of veterans & this report presents a great opportunity to highlight a issue &, hopefully, do something to fix it.

Original post by John Sexton and software by Elliott Back

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