A Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General report highly critical of the Veterans Crisis Line's handling of a suicidal veteran sparked outrage this week from U.S. senators responsible for oversight of the VA.
The OIG report, released last week, detailed the failure of the Veterans Crisis Line, or VCL, to help the veteran, who died by suicide minutes after cutting off contact. The veteran reached out to the hotline by text, telling a responder they had tested out their planned means of suicide and were in a location where they had access to those materials.
The crisis line responder did not contact the veteran directly by phone or alert first responders, but instead directed the individual to enact a safety plan formulated with a nearby family member. The responder terminated the text thread without verifying that the plan had been enacted when the veteran did not respond.
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“This is an incredibly damning OIG report, incredibly damning,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said in a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday on suicide prevention at the VA. “I'm struck that the executive director who apparently interfered with the OIG report was not fired. She's reassigned, I presume, still receiving a paycheck.”
The report also appeared to outrage the committee chairman, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
“We've had so damn many…