North Carolina sets up hotline for veterans’ medical complaints

From staff reportsJune 2, 2014 

— The state of North Carolina is offering its ear in the ongoing controversy about long delays at federal hospitals for veterans.

The N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that it has launched a “tip hotline” for veterans, aiming to collect confidential reports of misconduct at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities in the state.

In the statement, the state Veterans Affairs Director Ilario Pantano praised the federal VA for caring for “hundreds of thousands of veterans” in North Carolina.

“Our goal, first and foremost, is to care for our North Carolina veterans, and as their advocate, I want to help the USVA get back on track,” Pantano said.

The hotline, available at 844-624-8387 or VetTips@doa.nc.gov, connects “directly to NCVA executive staff,” according to the division. The state staff will then forward the confidential tips to “appropriate authorities” within the federal program.

The state agency started the hotline because it received “specific allegations of misconduct at USVA medical facilities in North Carolina,” which the state agency investigated, found to be credible and referred to federal authorities.

“Our goal with the Vet Tip Hotline is to be constructive, systematic and transparent,” Pantano said. “We are not looking for scapegoats but rather solutions to get our veterans the care they deserve.”

The federal VA department also accepts tips through its Office of the Inspector General, though it is selective about which tips it pursues. The federal hotline is available at 800-488-8244 or aoighotline@va.gov.

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