Phil Roe

VA defends work to fix troubled veteran suicide hotline

Grilled by lawmakers, the Department of Veterans Affairs insisted Tuesday it was well on its way to fixing problems with its suicide hotline and largely brushed aside the worst criticisms in an internal watchdog report released two weeks ago.

A March 20 audit by the VA inspector general had found that nearly a third of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line as recently as November were bounced to backup centers run by an outside contractor, as well as other problems including weak leadership and inadequate data to measure the quality of calls. The rollover calls happen when phone lines are busy, leading to possible waits of 30 minutes or more.

It was an early test for new VA...

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