Patient Advocates can help with veterans’ needs

Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 9:01 PM

The Veterans’ Complaint Hotline is now live. President Donald Trump’s campaign promise of enacting a veterans’ complaint hotline has officially launched. The phone number is (855) 948-2311.

According to the VA, the objective is to “collect, process and respond to the complaints of individual veterans in a responsive, timely and accountable manner.” All calls to the hotline are confidential, but general information is shared with VA officials.

In some cases, callers may be asked for their personal information in order for the VA to provide specific responses. VA officials have said they’ll use the hotline as a way to improve their delivery of care and benefit services to veterans.

The Albuquerque VA Medical Center offers Patient Advocates as another avenue for veterans to voice their concerns. The Patient Advocate Program was established to promote positive experiences for all veterans. A fundamental value in the Veterans Health Administration is for all our veterans and their families, who are served in or through VHA facilities and clinics, to have their priorities and needs addressed in a proactive, convenient and timely manner. The advocates serve as a liaison between the patient and the VA. Patient rights and the Patient Advocate Program are strongly supported at the Albuquerque VA Medical Center.

Business Hours for the Patient Advocates are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in Building 41, Room 4B-102. You can call them directly at (505) 265-1711 or toll-free at (800) 465-8262 using one of these phone extensions: 2612, 2686, 5446 or 7766.

After business hours or on weekends and holidays, you can contact the Administrative Officer of the Day in the Emergency Room, Building 41. Phone: (505) 265-1711, ext. 2352.

If you or a veteran you care for has not been able to resolve important issues related to VA through other means of communication, you may want to consider contacting one of the patient advocates.

Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or

For more information

The La Plata County Veterans Service Office provides information and assis­tance to veterans and their families. For more information, visit the county website at and type “veterans services” in the search window. The Veterans Service Office and the Durango VA Clinic are located at 1970 East Third Ave. The office phone number is 759-0117. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays except holidays. Appointments are encouraged. To schedule an appoint­ment, call 382-6150. For clinic appointments, call 247-2214.
Help for vetsThe Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans, family and friends. Call (800) 273-8255 and press 1. You also can text professional responders at 838255 or chat online at
Health care van serviceDisabled American Veterans is running a VA health-care van from Durango to Albuquerque on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from Farmington to Albuquerque on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you want to use the DAV transportation network, contact DAV coordinators at:
Durango area – 442-0149Cortez area – (970) 676-1116Farmington/Aztec – (505) 793-1782