DURHAM: Tip line established for vets not getting care they need - WRBL

NC Veterans Affairs establishes tip line for vets not getting care

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Two emploees at the Durham VA were accused of "inappropriate scheduling practices." Two emploees at the Durham VA were accused of "inappropriate scheduling practices."

The North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs launched a tip line Monday to help veterans and employees report misconduct at VA medical facilities.

The Vet Tip Hotline is confidential and will connect the tipster directly to NCVA executive staff, the NCVA said.

"Our goal with the Vet Tip Hotline is to be constructive, systematic and transparent," said NCVA Director Ilario Pantano. "We are not looking for scapegoats but rather solutions to get our veterans the care they deserve."

The NCVA said it established the tip line after it received allegations of misconduct at VA medical facilities in North Carolina.

Last month, two Durham VA Medical Center employees were placed on administrative leave after it was learned they may have "engaged in inappropriate scheduling practices at some point between 2009 and 2012."

The latest allegations come as the federal department defends itself against claims of potentially deadly delays at other facilities throughout the nation, including secret waitlists at some VA medical centers.

Audrey Dundee, who is head of American Legion of North Carolina and a 22-year U.S. Army veteran herself, said she’s heard complaint after complaint about veterans not being scheduled or having their appointments canceled without notice.

"It's amazing they survived the war, and then they come home and then die because they're not able to get medical treatment on time?" Harris explained.

The VA's official policy is that all patients should be able to see a doctor, dentist or some other medical professional within 14 days of their requested/preferred date. But many veterans end up waiting longer and the delays are never reported, veterans and their advocates say.

The Vet Tip Hotline follows a restructuring already underway that will locate NCVA offices within all 17 USVA medical facilities in North Carolina by 2016.

The Vet Tip Hotline can be contacted at (844)-NC4-Vets or VetTips@DOA.NC.GOV.


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