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News : TriWest Hiring 300 for Tempe Call Center
Phoenix, AZ, USA, July 6, 2015 -- TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a Phoenix-based company that arranges outsourced care for veterans, will hire 300 people to fill clinical and customer-service jobs at a call center in Tempe.
Phoenix-based TriWest arranges outsourced medical care under a Department of Veterans Affairs' program that aims to get veterans timely care.
TriWest secured a Veterans Health Administration contract in September 2013 to facilitate care at community hospitals and clinics. After reports emerged last year that veterans were dying as they were waiting for care and VA administrators falsified wait-time data, Congress passed a $16.3 billion reform bill meant to speed access to care.
Under the VA's Choice program, veterans who must wait more than 30 days for care or who live farther than a 40-mile drive from the nearest VA center can use cards that allow them to get care from community hospitals and doctors.
TriWest is charged with arranging the network of community doctors and hospitals in Arizona and 27 other states to provide outsourced care for veterans.
TriWest's Tempe call center is among more than a half-dozen customer service locations that the company plans to establish in local markets across its 28-state territory, TriWest CEO David McIntyre said. The company will establish one center in each local VA geographic region, called a veterans integrated service network.
TriWest, which maintains its corporate headquarters in Phoenix and an office in Puyallup, Wash., will recruit workers for its Tempe call center to handle inbound and outbound calls with veterans and health-care providers, schedule appointments and process VA-approved health care authorizations. People can browse and apply for job openings online.
McIntyre said the Choice program has experienced some growing pains as TriWest and another contractor, Health Net, attempt to meet the needs of veterans and the VA in each market. An audit from VA inspectors issued last week found that the outsourced care program has endured delays in care, improper patient scheduling practices, cost overruns and a shortage of providers.
Veterans in some regions are allowed to bypass the required 30-day wait period if the VA does not have a needed specialist on staff, such as a urologist or ophthalmologist. If a local VA center does not have a needed specialist on staff, TriWest helps veterans make appointments with a private-sector specialist.
McIntyre said the program is designed to avoid the type of problems that surfaced for urology patients at the Phoenix VA medical center.
During 2014, there was only one urologist on staff for much of the year, which resulted in delayed appointments with patients waiting months for diagnosis and potential treatment. In January, the Office of Inspector General reported that the department remained severely understaffed and clinical test results were mismanaged.
McIntyre said the "Choice First" program is intended to work to get veterans care they need in a timely manner.
"We have all come to an understanding that having people in a line isn't going to work," McIntyre said. "If there's no service available at a (VA) medical center, it doesn't make sense to put anybody on a list."
McIntyre said that TriWest now employs more than 1,000 full-time workers and could grow even larger than it was a few years ago when it employed about 1,800 and served the military in a different capacity — a contractor serving 20 Western states and part of Texas under the Department of Defense's Tricare program.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About TriWest Healthcare Alliance:
TriWest Healthcare Alliance is a Phoenix, Arizona based corporation that manages health benefits under the United States Department of Defense TRICARE program in the 21-state TRICARE West Region.
About Department Of Veterans Affairs:
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense. With a total 2009 budget of about $87.6 billion, VA employs nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. In 2012, the proposed budget for Veterans Affairs was $132 billion. The VA 2014 Budget request for 2014 is $152.7 billion. This includes $66.5 billion in discretionary resources and $86.1 billion in mandatory funding. The discretionary budget request represents an increase of $2.7 billion, or 4.3 percent, over the 2013 enacted level.
Published: Tuesday, July 7, 2015