(a)State institutions. Regional Counsels are authorized to cooperate with State courts, including the production of required records in the commitment of veterans to State hospitals or in their restoration to full civil rights.
(b)Department of Veterans Affairs institutions—
(1)Assistance to courts in commitment proceedings. The Regional Counsel will render assistance to the courts in cases involving the commitment of mentally ill veterans to the Department of Veterans Affairs. To this end, the Regional Counsel may:
(i) Produce Department of Veterans Affairs records.
(ii) Appear in court and present material facts.
(iii) When authorized to institute commitment proceedings under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, prepare and present all necessary legal papers, and arrange and authorize transportation costs of veterans and attendants at Department of Veterans Affairs expense (§§ 14.703 and 14.704).
(2)Commitment proceedings. If a mentally ill veteran will accept hospitalization voluntarily, no action will be initiated by any Department of Veterans Affairs employee to commit such veteran. If the veteran will not accept hospitalization, or after being voluntarily hospitalized by the Department of Veterans Affairs demands his or her release, and hospitalization is necessary for the veteran's safety or the safety of others, the Regional Counsel (if a relative of the veteran or other interested person has not done so) may institute proceedings to commit the veteran to the Department of Veterans Affairs subject to the following conditions:
(i) That the written consent of the veteran's nearest relative has been obtained. If the nearest relative cannot be readily contacted or refuses to consent, coupled with inability or refusal to offer adequate alternative care, the Regional Counsel may initiate the action if the petition is signed by another relative, a civil official or representative of a cooperating agency or other person authorized by State law.
(ii) If timely action cannot be taken under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, the Hospital or Clinic Director, or designee, may sign the petition if permissible under State law, and the Regional Counsel will then take any action necessary to bring the matter before the appropriate court.
(3)Illegal commitment. When a hospitalized veteran, previously committed to the Department of Veterans Affairs, demands release and continued hospitalization is necessary for the veteran's safety or the safety of others, and the Regional Counsel determines the commitment to be illegal, immediate action will be taken to obtain a legal commitment.
(4)Restoration proceedings. When a veteran has been a committed patient in a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital and is subsequently rated competent by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Regional Counsel upon request, may institute proceedings necessary to restore the veteran to full civil rights.
Title 38 published on 2014-07-01
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