Did Atlanta’s veterans crisis hotline fall short in helping suicidal veterans?

11:35 am Sep. 19, 2017

VA officials touted a crisis hotline center launched in Atlanta last December as a cornerstone of a renewed push to curb the problem of veteran suicide.

More than 300 staff were hired and trained in Atlanta, and by April VA officials testified before Congress about the crisis line’s success answering the needs of suicidal veterans. The new center and the one operating for years outside Rochester, New York had

Investigation, reassignment for VA managers linked to Atlanta enrollment office

1:00 pm Aug. 29, 2017

Four VA managers linked to the veterans national health care enrollment office in Atlanta have been moved from their positions pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

VA on Tuesday did not disclose the nature of the inquiry. The move is another sign of deep dysfunction at the Atlanta-based Health Eligibility Center (HEC) that oversees the health care enrollment system for millions of veterans across the country.

One of the managers,

Atlanta VA employees reassigned pending investigation of racially charged messages

11:00 am Aug. 17, 2017

The VA reassigned the head of the agency’s national health enrollment office in Atlanta and another employee pending the outcome of an investigation into racially charged messages that included mention of sending people to “the ovens.”

The move comes after a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News this week about the messages between HEC Director Angel Lawrence and program analyst Nathan Jaco.

Lawrence earns $125,132 directing the

VA executive who exchanged offensive messages earns $100K+

12:58 pm Aug. 15, 2017

The VA executive who exchanged unprofessional and offensive instant messages with another VA employee earned $96,586 last year, according to the latest federal salary data available.

But that was before Angel Lawrence was elevated last fall to the top job at the national Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta. Past directors of the center were at a GS-15 pay grade that pays between $125,132 to $161,900, according the 2017 federal scale

VA health enrollment system in disarray, audit finds

12:04 pm Aug. 10, 2017

Filing an application for enrollment is the first step veterans must take to gain access to health care at the more than 150 VA hospitals across the country. But a scathing new federal review finds the health enrollment system overseen by a national VA office in Atlanta is in disarray.

Poor oversight and mismanagement of the enrollment system resulted in delays to health care access for some veterans and likely denied

Listen to audio of VA manager discuss withholding info for veteran enrollment project

12:00 pm Apr. 21, 2017

Audio recordings obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveal a VA manager overseeing a health care enrollment project intentionally withheld critical information from hospital staff across the country that would have made it easier for veterans to gain access to care.

The audio recordings involve internal discussions by VA leaders last year overseeing a project to clear up a backlog of hundreds of thousands of veterans health care applications.

The manager describes how he’s

Atlanta VA fails to conduct criminal checks on employees

7:30 am Feb. 3, 2017

The Atlanta VA Medical Center failed its obligation to complete timely background checks and drug tests for hundreds of new employees,The investigation by the VA’s Office of Inspector General does not directly address whether the

Whistleblower to VA secretary: Fix problems at veterans enrollment office

7:30 am Feb. 1, 2017

Dr. David J. Shulkin, who faces a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, is no stranger the major problems at the VA’s national health enrollment office in Atlanta.

Shortly after he became Under Secretary overseeing the Veterans Health Administration, Shulkin visited the national Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in DeKalb County in August 2015. The AJC reported in 2014 about a series