Orpea case: independent audits confirm the embezzlement of public money

Posted Apr 26, 2022, 12:12 PM

The independent audit commissioned by Orpea on the management of its nursing homes will not be its lifeline: its first conclusions confirm the accusations of embezzlement of public money, according to the progress report posted by the group on its site this tuesday. This independent audit is carried out by the firms Grant Thornton and Alvarez & Marsal in order to assess the accusations made by “Les fossoyeurs”, the book by Victor Castanet, on the mistreatment of residents, the misuse of public funds, the existence conflicts of interest and breaches in social/union matters.

The conclusions were due in April. Finally “we are continuing our work with the objective of bringing definitive conclusions to as many allegations as possible by the end of June”, write the auditors in the progress report. But already, their findings join some of the points of the damning investigation report commissioned by the State from the IGAS and the IGF, which was unveiled on April 5.

Erroneous declarations

The investigations, which relate to the period 2019 – 2021, “lead to identifying the existence of rebates, rebates and rebates granted including by suppliers of products financed with public funds, erroneous declarations of employment accounts to the supervisory authorities , non-compliance in the contracting of fixed-term contracts and the use of intermediaries, including a former prefect”, write the auditors.

Regarding end-of-year rebates on purchases financed by public funds that unduly benefit, Brigitte Bourguignon, Minister Delegate for Autonomy, announced on March 26 at the microphone of “France Inter” that “not only we file a complaint but we also grant ourselves the right to request the return of public funds that have not been used for residents of Orpea nursing homes. »

No system identified at this stage

On the other hand, the auditors appointed by the group put a damper on what could constitute the most direct accusation against its leaders: there would be no organized system. Their investigations, they write, “do not allow to date to confirm the existence of a system leading to regular situations of shortages on the supply of protections [urinaires, NDLR] or a rationing system on catering”.

The responsibility for the slippages would therefore fall on the directors of Ehpad, according to this analysis. The IGAS/IGF report had identified chronic problems in the establishments checked, such as a lack of protein in meals, up to 42% below the recommended daily intake of meat. Regarding the level of staff available to take care of residents, likewise, no organized system, according to the auditors appointed by Orpea.

Exceptional circumstances

“Our findings do not confirm to date the existence, over the period 2019 to 2021, of a system aimed at deliberately organizing an understaffing situation in order to optimize the group’s profits”, continue- they while noting that “targets of margin and control of the total wage bill of nursing homes, lead to a level of constraint for the establishments regularly causing situations of understaffing. »

Faced with the exceptional circumstances currently being experienced, which have led the teams to contribute to the investigations of the public authorities, to the preparation of the hearing in the Senate as well as to the work carried out by the independent firms, “Orpea has decided to postpone the publication of its annual accounts being audited as of Friday May 13, 2022,” the group said on Tuesday. It will also ask the commercial court for an extension of the deadline to hold its annual general meeting at the end of July 2022.

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