Bilirakis Questions Officials on Veterans Crisis Line Improvements
Washington, D.C. – During a key hearing today, House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) questioned VA officials about ongoing concerns at the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), the suicide prevention and crisis intervention hotline for Veterans and their loved ones. Please click here for more information about the hearing.
“It’s a sobering statistic: an average of 20 Veterans die by suicide each day. The Veterans Crisis Line is the VA’s first line of defense for Veterans during their darkest moments, and we must make sure it is working at the optimal level to save lives. Today’s hearing was an important step to ensure the VA is working to solve the serious problems we’ve identified with the VCL. This is a matter of life or death. The stakes are too high for even one call to go unanswered,” said Bilirakis.
Recent investigations by the VA Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office found that some calls placed to the VCL were met with busy phone lines, waits of up to 30 minutes or more, and were routed to backup call centers. A number of VCL staff were found to have not received proper training, and overall the VA has failed to address these serious deficiencies in VCL’s operations.