Mainland nurse gets off-hours calls to VA
Why are after-hour calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs here answered by someone on the mainland?
Answer: The telephone system is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a registered nurse. On Oahu or the neighbor islands the number is (808) 433-0852. The nurse will interview the caller and provide them with immediate advice according to VA procedures. During the week, the line is answered by a nurse on Oahu. After clinic hours, the line is answered by a nurse on the mainland who has access to all medical records. A notation is made in the caller's record and forwarded to his or her primary care provider. During the week, all calls requesting advice and/or appointments from Oahu and the neighbor islands are channeled to the nurse. The purpose of this is to provide consistent VA response to the call. On Oahu, the nurse will make an appropriate appointment if necessary. On the neighbor islands, the nurse will forward the note regarding the call to the staff who will contact the veteran with appointment information if needed. For emergency situations, the veteran is instructed to call 911.
If a veteran walks into a clinic without a scheduled appointment and needs assistance, every effort is made to assess the veteran's needs at the clinic, and he or she be given an appointment or treated based on health status. When the clinic is closed and on weekends and holidays, veterans who need assistance are asked to call the telephone advice line.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.