Birmingham VA phone service…

Does this sound familiar?

I’ve made 5 calls to the Birmingham VA this morning and aside from operators, I haven’t spoken to a single human being…

Call 1…Operator transferred me to Cardiology …Rang for 4 full minutes and then line went dead…

Call 2…Operator transferred me to Cardiology …Rang for 2-3 minutes and then line went dead…

Call 3…asked for PA  she transferred me to PA line…left message…no return call

Call 3…Again transferred to PA …left message…no return call

Call 4…Asked for Directors office…Again transferred to PA…  left message…no return call

There are times at the Bham VA that you can’t even get to an operator (Monday, especially after  holiday. Friday, anytime they don’t want to answer the phone…)without a 10 -15 minute wait…

So…Here’s my question…How does the VA expect to be able to care for Vets…when they can’t  even answer the phone?

Or is this part of the VA’s cost cutting measures…JUST..DON’T… ANSWER… THE… PHONE…

I wonder if this is not a major contributor to the frustration that many Vets feel when dealing with the VA…I know that right now. I’m furious…and I haven’t even spoken to a nurse or doctor or clerk…

When I first started dealing with the VA in Tucson in 2010…I was a reasonable, calm person…It wasn’t too long before I became very frustrated…I finally got to the point that almost every contact ended in chosing between exploding with anger and frustration or disengaging…neither of which is very productive…

I eventually voluntarily went to the Psych unit and asking for help dealing with the situation…I’ve been under treatment by them ever since…

But the problem still remains…Every time I try to do the simplest things, like making an appointment, sometimes even getting a refill, or in this case even getting through to  a human being on the phone, The total incompetance of the VA gets in the way…

I have two calls in, one to each of my Representatives…I wonder if they will have an easier time getting through…I’ll let you know what happens..

Had similar problems with your VA?   Leave your story in comments below…

Update…Friday…

I was having trouble with swelling because of my heart and tried to get in touch Wed. with my cardiologist at the Bham VA…4 calls and I wasn’t able to talk to a human other than an operator…Finally got fed up and called Both Senators from AL offices…At 5:45 pm Wed. (most VA offices close at 4:00 pm) I got a call from a Nurse Practitioner saying she had a note to call me…Now since I hadn’t talked to anyone other than an operator at the VA…You know they had heard from one of the Senator’s office…Upshot is I had an appt with my doctor in Gunt. yesterday and have another next Thurs…Did labs and adjusted my both heart meds and diuretics…AND I now have the name and extention # for the nurse and she said call her directly any time I’m having problems getting through…Sad that it takes an act of congess to get something done at the VA…

5 thoughts on “Birmingham VA phone service…”

  1. Let’s talk the crap that veterans served by outlying clinics that feed the Birmingham Hosp have had f’ed up telephone service for over 10 yrs. EXAMPLE: my therapist was tunning late, wanted to call clinic, got put in hold with automated management of the wait time. He stayed on hold for 18 min, kept hearing it would take 2 minutes, and was still on hold when he walked past the reception desk, with the Birmingham hospitals automated reception system was controlling the calls to the Huntsville clinic. When the phones act up if I’m attempting to call into my Huntsville clinic & it’s a mess getting through, I call the Operator in Birmingham and push 0 for an operator, wait in line for a human, THEN I ask them to connect me to the telecommunications tech in Guntersville, who is the one that’s supposed to respond to problems for Huntsville clinic , and invariably, he had no idea the system was acting up. I know most other vets just go stir-crazy over the system and have no idea turning around and comPlaining to Birmingham communications authorities will at least for once be notified of the continuous FUBAR that callers to Huntsville experience. Ok, off my soapbox. Sorry for the rant but I’m aware if specifics like my Social Worker for at least 11 years.

  2. To make matters worse, try phoning a Veterans Service Officer for help. They don’t answer either.

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