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Up to 40 percent of VA suicide hotline calls roll over, official says. The reason may leave you a bit annoyed.

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35 to 40 percent of crisis calls roll over to backup centers where workers have less training to deal with veterans' problems.

The seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs is seen on the building in Washington, Friday, June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than one-third of calls to a suicide hotline for troubled veterans are not being answered by front-line staffers because of poor work habits and other problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs is seen on the building in Washington, Friday, June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

That's according to the hotline's former director, who complained in emails that some workers handle fewer than five calls per day and leave before their shifts end even as call volumes increased.

Greg Hughes, the former director of the Veterans Crisis Line, said 35 to 40 percent of crisis calls roll over to backup centers where workers have less training to deal with veterans' problems.

Hughes left his post in June, weeks after sending the emails. The VA says it is increasing staff at the New York-based hotline and opening a new hub in Atlanta.

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