Allen B. West

When you call the VA suicide hotline, THIS is what you hear…

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There are times when you can only shake your head in dismay and disgust – and this is definitely one… As reported by the Military Times, “At least 23 veterans, troops or family members who called the Veterans Crisis Line in fiscal 2014 were transferred to a voicemail system and their calls never returned, according to a Veterans Affairs Department Inspector General report.

The VA watchdog’s investigation into the hotline’s performance launched last year also found that the centers responsible for the voicemail errors, who were contractors hired to provide backup services when the VA-run Crisis Line is operating at peak, may not have trained their counselors adequately to answer calls from those experiencing a mental health crisis.

But because the VA does not train the backup center employees or monitor the centers’ training requirements, the department has no way of knowing whether their training is sufficient, the report noted.

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The Veterans Crisis Line was established in 2007 to address the growing problem of suicide among veterans and service members. It has fielded more than 2 million calls and is credited with saving more than 50,000 lives.

The VA OIG launched an investigation into the Veterans Crisis Line in early 2015 after receiving complaints from callers that they were placed on hold, didn’t receive immediate help or their calls went to voicemail.”

On my salute hand trigger finger I wear the plain black #22Kill ring. It’s a simple reminder that here in America, 22 veterans take their own lives every day. I want you to read that again, in America, 22 veterans a day commit suicide. And yet we still have senior leadership in the VA that hasn’t been fired. How did we get to this point, and when will we see the feigned righteous indignation from President Obama?

We’ve seen the Obama administration rescind the Veterans Choice Act, which he signed into law. And perhaps we need to have a serious debate with these presidential candidates about what specifically they’ll do to reform the ailing Veterans Administration. And for all you Bernie Sanders fans, this is what his socialist dream — universal, single-payer healthcare — looks like. Everything horrific we’ve seen from the VA system as of late will be replicated by a government-controlled healthcare system 100 times worse. The waiting lists, being put on hold — all of this will pale in comparison if our great Republic would trust the same government to control our entire healthcare system.

“The VA OIG staff made a number of recommendations to ensure that veterans receive better service from the Veterans Crisis Line.

They include:
• Resolving all problems related to calls routed to the backup centers.
• Improved tracking of calls at the backup centers.
• Establishing a quality assurance process for both the Veterans Crisis Line and the backup centers.
• Ensuring that contracts with the backup centers set expectations.

VA officials said they agreed with the recommendations and would implement all changes no later than Sept. 30.A VA spokeswoman also said a number of changes already were underway at the Veterans Crisis Line, to include that callers are never placed on hold while waiting for services or to be assessed for risk.”

We don’t need to wait until the end of the fiscal year to fix this problem. If these were unlawful enemy detainees in GITMO, the whole world would be decrying it as an injustice. It is a sad day in America where the enemy — or refugees — are treated far better than those who were willing to make “the last full measure of devotion.” Everyone likes to placate and patronize our veterans, but one thing is for certain, this country, and namely this current administration, has a huge black eye when it comes to caring for those who bore the burden of keeping us safe and secure.

Just gotta ask, has President Obama taken to the microphone to show any anger about this situation?

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