President Trump’s long-promised hotline for veteran complaints officially launched on Thursday, but it is not exactly what was promised yet.
During the presidential campaign last year, then president hopeful Trump said the hotline would be way for veterans to have a direct line to the commander in chief 24 hours a day.
This is something the president had talked about,” VA Secretary David Shulkin told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re going to be testing that system starting tomorrow and fine-tuning it over the next several months.”
The system will only have live operators to answer calls during normal business hours of Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. VA Secretary Huilkin promised the hours would be extended to 24 hours a day by August 15.
During Trump’s campaign he suggested that he may even answer a call directly if the opportunity occurred. “This could keep me very busy at night, folks,” he told a crowd of supporters during a rally on July 26. “This will take the place of Twitter.”
During Trump’s campaign he stated the the call center would be a way to directly report issues to the White House without the interference of the Veterans Affairs. But when the hotline is called, a recorded voice clearly states “Thank You for calling the White House/VA veteran complaint hotline.”
According to Military Times:
Calls to the line will be kept confidential, but information will be shared with VA officials, and in some cases veterans will be asked to give personal information for responses to specific problems.
Information about how the complaints and/or information will be collected and used has been vague and almost non-existent so far. VA officials have only stated the information from the hotline will be used “improve the delivery of care and benefit services to all veterans, including their families, caregivers and survivors.”
The total cost of the program has yet to be calculated but the soft launch period is estimated to cost $190,000, which includes the setup costs.
The hotline is live now at 855-948-2311
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