A federal judge begins hearing testimony in a lawsuit filed by the California-based Disability Rights Advocates against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday in San Francisco. The suit seeks to force the VA to provide immediate mental health services to suicidal veterans.
The VA sought to have the suit tossed out on the grounds that the VA has the right to prioritize its health care without outside "civilian" interference.
The judge — a conservative World War II veteran himself — overruled the VA on that point and, starting Monday, he will hear testimony from experts on PTSD and other veterans' mental health issues.
Scott Shafer reports from member station KQED.