Grey's Anatomy made VA scandal worse?

Did ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Make The VA Scandal Worse?

Did the long-running TV medical soap opera Grey’s Anatomy interfere with military veterans seeking medical treatment?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is engulfed in a corruption scandal involving secret waiting lists and other forms of alleged mismanagement at VA hospitals designed to conceal the true extent of the backlog for vets waiting for medical care, some of whom allegedly died while they were in limbo.

To make matters worse, log-rolling VA executives handed out fat performance bonuses to each other while this was going on. On the subject of those bonuses, according to CNN, “78% of VA senior managers qualified for extra pay or other compensation in fiscal year 2013 by receiving ratings of ‘outstanding’ or ‘exceeds fully successful’…”

One of the Grey’s Anatomy shooting locations is the Sepulveda VA Ambulatory Care Center in the Los Angeles area, a facility among 81 clinics across the country that are under further review by federal government auditors in connection with possible inappropriate scheduling practices or worse.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the production crew for the TV series takes up the entire second floor of the Sepulveda facility which is supposed to be devoted to patients and that “Veterans who need care are limited to the first floor of the facility.” The production also allegedly uses all the parking spaces outside.

A VA spokesman denied that the filming had any effect on veterans seeking healthcare services:

“The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System enjoys a productive relationship with the television series Grey’s Anatomy, which periodically films in portions of our Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center during evenings, weekends, and holidays (two to four times per year), and which never impacts our ability to provide exceptional care to our veterans. On the contrary, our relationship with Grey’s Anatomy has resulted in numerous improvements to the Sepulveda facility, as well as several instances of the production actually enhancing veterans’ access to care by purchasing medical equipment for our clinics. These are just a few examples of the direct benefits Veterans receive as a result of our engagement with the signature industry of our region.”

Separately, in an academic journal article, the show was accused of hurting organ donation rates because it among other things “depicts doctors as vultures, eager to transplant organs from their patients.”

Problems at the VA predated President Obama’s Democrat administration, but as part of his 2008 campaign, Obama vowed to fix the VA. Perhaps because of that unfulfilled promise, some elements in the Big Media are trying their best to avoid reporting on the VA scandal (or the IRS scandal), however, in a courtesy that would never be extended to a Republican administration:

Grey’s Anatomy premieres its 11th season on ABC this fall. Do you think there is any basis for concluding that the Grey’s Anatomy production delayed or impeded healthcare for veterans?

[image via s_bukley /]