Women leading growth at the White House VA Hotline

New agents ready to help Veterans and their families


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The White House VA Hotline’s (1-855-948-2311) newest graduating class of agents started taking live calls this week and immediately put to use their weeks of extensive VA benefits and health care training. This class, a group of seven talented women, began listening to the concerns and experiences of Veterans and their families nationwide—and quickly fit right in. This seamless ‘right fit’ integration is by design. The consensus among Veterans is they want to talk to other Veterans. Each of these new agents is either a Veteran themselves, the spouse of a Veteran, or a close family member of a Veteran.

Janice receives her graduation certificate from Martinsburg VA Medical Center Interim Director Kenneth Allensworth

Janice receives her graduation certificate from Martinsburg VA Medical Center Interim Director Kenneth Allensworth

This Veteran-to-Veteran approach matters. “I think to us it’s not just a story,” said Janice, a U.S. Air Force retiree. “We have lived it: The ups, the downs, the whole package. While our experiences are not the same, we know the culture and can build from that foundation a level of understanding and trust.”

The hotline provides our nation’s Veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line staffed by highly trained agents 24-hours a day, 365-days a year.

A first of its kind for VA, this non-clinical contact center provides Veterans an outlet to voice their concerns, recommendations and compliments. Agents answer questions, guide Veterans and their families to the resources available, and if necessary, create a case for follow up. Of the 400,000 calls since launching in 2017, 97% of cases created have been resolved.

Dr. Lynda Davis, VA’s Chief Veterans Experience Officer, visits with staff and welcomes new agents.

It is fitting that this group of women begin their watch at the hotline during Women’s History Month. While the entire staff reflects and celebrates the vital role of women in America’s history, these women will be vital in relaying their Veteran experience as well. As VA continues to develop programs and services specific to women Veterans, this group now stands front and center, eager to hear from women Veterans about their service to our country and how they feel about the services provided by VA. The positive experiences and opportunities for improvement captured during these conversations will be instrumental as VA works to build trust in this growing population.

Janice noticed another advantage from her all female graduating class: A generational perspective will help all Veterans. “When you think about Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans and then troops coming home now, the differences jump out right away, but there are a lot of similarities too.“

As each new class graduates and joins the hotline team, there is one constant: growth. Whether it’s building up staff levels to limit hold time for Veterans calling (which averaged 11 seconds in February 2020), implementing new products to engage with Veterans, or efforts to streamline and improve internal processes, the hotline’s impact continues to grow.

“Since we began 24-hour operations in 2017, our priority has been for Veterans and their families to get right through to our agents,” said Supervisory Program Analyst Susan Taylor. “We have a lot of pride in the fact that when they call, they get to speak with an agent quickly and are very proud that we measure that hold time in seconds not minutes.”

Next steps for the hotline includes opening new channels for Veterans like chat and text, as well as standing up additional analytic capabilities to share insights and drive additional program improvements. The hotline is growing and agent positions have been very popular to applicants. Rebecca Keough, Director of the hotline and Enterprise Contact Center Operations with the Veterans Experience Office accredits that to, “There isn’t a more honorable job than taking care of those who’ve served.”

The White House VA Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-855-948-2311.

Author

Steven Clipp

Steve Clipp joined VA in 2017 with the White House/VA Hotline and has worked as a communications specialist with the Veteran Experience Office. Steve, a Navy Veteran, served as an electronics technician in Fighter Squadron 31 (VF 31-F/14s) on-board the USS Abraham Lincoln. Using the GI Bill, he graduated from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

Comments

  1. Raymond Richmond    

    Can the VA recommend a good attorney firm for taking on vet claims as a group?

  2. FRED R McNULTY    

    DEAR UNCLE DONALD (AKA) MR PRESIDENT I WOULD LIKE TO ASK FOR YOUR HELP I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET A HEPPA GRANT TO HAVE A WALK IN TUB IN MY HOME. I AM A 100% DISABLED VETERAN I AM 75 YEARS OLD AND I AM AFRAID OF FALLING .I CANNOT STAND UP FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME. THE DOOR TO THE BATHROOM IS TO SMALL FOR ME TOO GET MY WHEELCHAIR THROUGH .I NO LONGER FEEL SAFE GETTING IN AND OUT OF MY REGULAR TUB , BUT A WALK IN TUB WOULD HELP ME TO TAKE A BATH .THE VA HAS SAID THAT THEY WON’T HELP ME GET A WALK IN TUB , BUT THEY WANT TOO STICK A WALK IN SHOWER THAT I CAN’T EVEN GET NEAR IT WITH OUT FEAR OF FALLING. i called the hot line to get help with my complaint and to file a grievance but they offered no way to solve my problem .

  3. william a bolam    

    Wake Up, Mr Trump, this is another slap in face for Vet’s that have been wronged so many times. Just had another Vet been denied, because the VSO held records back over 3 years, but bragged to other co-workers about how her and husband will have a great Vacation this year on her bonus for cases closed, really. Stop these that are in system preying on the most that are on their last $1. and family members are also dragged down with them. There should be a HOTLINE to report VA Workers like this, that double their salary off bonus. You can close this Hotline, due to EVERYONE I know that used it in past 3 years got no help, just thrown back to the same VA reps that causing problems in first place. Two of the people that used it after years of red tape with claims are now at rest, in a untimely manner, so that wifes and or children, could at least collect Life Ins. and move on. Also when AG gets involved, on these VSO praying on Vets, they cover it up and whistle blowers seem to be gone, yet VSO is still there, at least that how it works in Fed Bldg Pittsburgh, PA.

  4. Mary    

    Honey, join the club. I have had a claim in for Homebound VETERANS allowance since 2009! Goes back and forth from my regional office to Washington.

  5. Mac McNeil    

    I called about Burial Benefits, and was cheerfully told that my REIMBURSEMENT for a veterans cremation would be processed in AUGUST.
    WTF? I paid all of the expenses associated with my best friend Lisa’s funeral directives, and forwarded all the paperwork/receipts/DPOA to Janesville, WI (although the paperwork indicated I should send it to Wichita, KS, where it would THEN be forwarded to Wisconsin).
    I am disgusted that a simple reimbursement would take 6 months.
    It would be different, in my mind, if I were asking for payment for expenditures…but your system makes that so difficult I have simply declined to request payment.
    The medical staff at our VA (Colmery O’Neil, Topeka, KS) are universally outstanding. The administration is overloaded with people who sit at desks for 8 hours a day and accomplish very little.
    It took FOUR people, THREE phone calls, and a hike through the halls of the hospital TWICE to get INFORMATION on what needed to be done for survivor benefits for expenses THAT WERE ALREADY PAID IN FULL BY ME. Forms, faxes, letters… the VA rides along on a sea of useless paper that clogs the system, delays care, prevents reimbursement of legitimate expenses because SOMEONE filed a form wrong.
    Electronic communication is HERE. Why am I compelled to fill out forms for things I should already have, like HER BURIAL FLAG. I had to go to the POST OFFICE for that,!!! With another stack of forms.

  6. Lisa Mattingly    

    There at problems at the va Some men have a lot to learn about acting acceptable in public the va accepts bad behavior and caters to there needs to be a place for them so thy do not effect women that have a hard time dealing with angry inappropriate behavior this has to happen to make women deal safe at the va we have a right to peace before they have a right to bad behavior needs to be work on making women stronger to accept it is not there fault and you cannot change the men or fix them or except the behavior it is the manegment and the va responsibility to make a peaceful environment one of pease

  7. Arnold Johnson    

    What the heck does the White House have to do with this? Looks like the VA got some orders to make the White House look good. Politics again gets in the way of just doing a good job.

  8. vic miller    

    To borrow from someone else, the Hotline is “symbolism over substance.” I’ve called several times to leave dissatisfied and disappointed. It may be an honorable effort but without securing C&P results for us, it’s useless. think all veterans who call 855-948-2311 think it’s connected with the White House (I did) but soon discover it’s nothing more than an expansion of the lethargic, VA bureaucracy.

  9. Jeff Stephens    

    You can publish my comments. I have nothing to hide. I read the story about the hotline above and again we’re (the government) pouring money in to another VA program when all that is really needed is for the VA to start looking at addressing the causes of problems rather than just the symptoms. It’s sort of like only treating patients with chronic stomach ulcers with nothing but antacids and pain killers. You’ve not addressed the cause! I’ve had numerous documented / logged / witnessed requests put in to have an actual hearing on acknowledged service connected disability health claims I have been submitting all the way back to 2013 for such items as a documented PTSD, Cancer, and lower back injury that has required three surgeries. I finally thought I had a hearing scheduled and it actually turned out to be a hearing to take away the few items I’ve actually been diagnosed with.
    If the government even spent half the money, time, and effort it does trying to avoid keeping its promises to Veterans and actually made the same effort in honoring the Veteran by recognizing their medically documented conditions – the VA might one day come to be recognized as a real promise kept and not a lie made!

  10. Earl B. Franks    

    It would be nice if in the article somewhere it was revealed that the White House Hotline has no connection whatsoever with the White House. The personnel answering the phones may be veterans but all of them are Department of Veteran Affairs EMPLOYEES.

  11. Victoria-Phu Nguyễn    

    Hi,
    I would like to help, but I cannot move to Washington DC. However, I am available from my house in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

  12. Robert Warner    

    So glad to see this message on my E-mail, I have come to the end of my rope, I don’t know where to turn ,maybe you can help me with this problem .I have been trying for almost a year to get a hospital bill paid, sorry I’ve got to go to bed I’ve got acute bronchitis and I got to take my medicine go to bed and I will talk to you tomorrow I I thank you for your help signed Robert Warner

  13. Guadalupe Adolphus    

    Thank you, thank you and thank you…this is a very positive way in trying to help our veterans that made so many sacrifices in protecting our freedom. I come from a long line of military family and I’m also the wife of a man that gave over 24 years of dedicated service in the Army infantry division retiring honorably. My husband suffers from ptsd as well as other emotional and physical issues but I am able to deal with his conditions. Unfortunately the VA failed him miserably to say the least. I was able to put him in my medical insurance in order to try to better his life which it has to an extend. I retired as a 911 dispatcher after more than 25 yrs of service and my experience has helped me to be able to deal with his condition in a positive way. But a lot of our veterans have no other choice but to deal with the VA system in which there has been time they deal with unsympathetic staff members that could care less.

  14. Jonathan Edwards    

    They resolve the call by forwarding everything to the National Call Center. There, WE take care of the Veteran. All the White House hotline workers need to do is know how to forward a call.

Comments are closed.