VA Nurse Advice Lines: A Problem of Access and Accountability
Our proposal seeks to:
- Improve national standards for VA nurse helplines by requiring all helplines to meet URAC accreditationstandards, including mandating wait times of less than one minute and requiring a follow-up report of the call to be sent to the veteran’s primary care physician.
- Connect regional and local helplines to ensure that veterans are transferred to a nearby call center if theyone nearest them is experiencing longer-than-normal wait times.
- Simplify access by eliminating complicated phone trees and connecting nurse helplines to general VA Medical Center phone numbers.
- Develop a comprehensive advertising campaign of VA nursing hotlines so that all veterans know they are available.
- Mandate an annual report to Congress by the VA detailing their progress on implementing the URACstandards and explaining whether current staffing levels are sufficient to meet the standards.