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Tenney and Collins Call on VA Secretary to Address Ongoing Problems with Veterans Crisis Line

Veterans Crisis Line Must be Improved to Better Serve our At-Risk Veterans

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Washington, DC, March 28, 2017 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) joined together to call on the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate ongoing problems with the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL). In a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of the VA, Tenney and Collins requested that the VA provide information on changes being made to the VCL to ensure deficiencies in the program are overcome efficiently. The letter was signed by 86 Members of Congress.

In operation since 2007, the VCL provides around-the-clock crisis intervention services to veterans. The VCL has proven to be a valuable resource for at-risk veterans in need of help and emergency assistance.

A report released by the VA Office of Inspector General found ongoing issues with the crisis line, including that the crisis line has not responded adequately to veterans’ calls. The report made clear that continued issues at the VCL stem from a lack of leadership, oversight, structural deficiencies and management of incoming telephone calls. Findings in the report also revealed that the VCL remained without a director for 10 months, and that as of December, 2016 there was still no permanent director. In the letter, Tenney and Collins also called on the Secretary of the VA to assign a permanent director to the VCL to ensure that meaningful reforms are implemented.

“When our veterans come home from selflessly serving our nation, it is imperative that the VA provide them with the most efficient service and highest quality of care possible. As the parent of an active duty Marine officer, I commend the employees of the VA for their commitment to our veterans. However, in their mission to provide high-quality care to our veterans, it is crucial that all services, especially the crisis line, are functioning at the highest level to ensure care is easily accessible to our veterans. With the recent finding that 20 veterans commit suicide each day, it is vitally important, now more than ever, that the VA work to ensure that the VCL is fully functional for our at-risk veterans in need of immediate assistance,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.

“Ensuring the health and safety of our most at-risk veterans should be the VA’s most basic commitment,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “It is deeply disturbing that there are ongoing problems with our nation’s Veterans Crisis Line that are potentially putting our veteran’s in harm’s way. I am glad to partner with Congresswoman Tenney to address the continuing issues at the crisis line, and am committed to alleviating any and all problems plaguing this crucial resource.”

View the letter here: Veterans Crisis Line.pdf

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Tags: Veterans

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