A national call center planned for the VA Black Hills Health Care System facility in Hot Springs is on track with employing staff and starting operations. The recently enacted freeze on hiring federal employees will not have an impact on the call center.
Matthew Eitutis is Acting Director of Member Services for the V.A. His department currently staffs 5 national call centers across the country.
Eitutis says President Trump’s recent freeze on federal hiring does not affect the sixth call center planned for Hot Springs.
“The main position that we’re hiring in the Hot Springs campus is a contact representative,” Eitutis explains. “There’s an exempt list that allows them Department of Veterans Affairs to hire certain positions and on that exempt list is our contact representative.”
Contact representatives at the Hot Springs call center will assist veterans across the country with refilling and renewing prescriptions. The representatives will also specialize in helping veterans to determine eligibility for VA health care and enrolling in the system.
Twenty-two employees have already been hired for the center and are currently in training. Hiring will cap at 120 by the end of April while the center will begin operations later this month.
Sixty-eight percent of the 600 candidates who’ve applied for the positions come from within 30 miles of Hot Springs, says Eitutis. He adds that the full staff of 120 is expected to put $4 million into the Hot Springs community annually.
The Acting Director has nothing but praise for the South Dakota work force. He notes that the Hot Springs campus will not only accommodate the call center’s current needs but will also provide enough space for growth in the future.