Calls failing to serve

Many troubled military veterans turn to a crisis hotline operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It received more than 500,000 calls last year.

But often, hotline callers do not get the qualified counseling they need, according to Greg Hughes. He should know. He is the former director of the VA Veterans Crisis Line.

Hughes has said more than one-third of calls are not answered by people specially trained to help them but are “rolled over” to backup offices staffed with less-qualified people.

Why does that happen? Because some hotline employees answer fewer than five calls a day, Hughes said. Many “routinely request to leave early,” he added. Some staffers “spend very little time on the phone or engaged in assigned productive activity,” he added.

Any more questions about whether Congress should make it easier for the VA to fire people?