VA Trial Concludes with Contrasting Views of Vet Care

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San Francisco (AP) A San Francisco judge hearing a trial on the quality of veterans' health care is questioning whether the entire case could be moot.

Two veterans groups sued the Department Of Veterans Affairs, claiming it has failed to adequately provide mental health care and takes too long to process claims.

A Justice Department Attorney argues the veterans groups should be taking the case to congress, not the courts.

The judge acknowledges the case is tricky and says he feels tied by statutes and case law. He's ordering lawyers for both sides to file additional legal documents on the issue.

Last year, the VA processed 840,000 claims. That's an increase of 165,000 from 2001. The VA attributes most of that to the health needs of aging Vietnam veterans.

The veterans groups claim the VA is unprepared to care for troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.