Orpea nursing home scandal: an independent report confirms malfunctions

After the release of an investigation book, then a damning administrative investigation report, it is the turn of the private nursing home group Orpea itself to make public, this Tuesday, the first conclusions of an external audit confirming malfunctions, particularly in its use of public funds.

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

Orpea, present in 23 countries and which manages more than 350 establishments for dependent elderly people in France, had mandated the independent firms Grant Thornton and Alvarez & Marsal in February to assess the accusations in the investigative book “Les Fossoyeurs” by journalist Victor Castanet. He denounced mistreatment of residents, misuse of public funds, breaches in social matters and conflicts of interest.

Final conclusions expected by the end of June

At this stage of their investigations, however, the two audit firms believe that they cannot “confirm the existence of a system leading to regular situations of shortages in the supply of protection or a rationing system in catering”. .

Nor the existence of “a system aimed at deliberately organizing an understaffing situation in order to optimize the profits of the group”. Their work continues to publish final conclusions by the end of June. Without waiting, the board of directors of Orpea asked the general management to propose to it, as soon as possible, “an ambitious plan for improvement and transformation”.

A report commissioned by the government from the General Inspectorates of Finance (IGF) and Social Affairs (Igas), published in early April, had already pointed to serious dysfunctions and the government announced that it would take legal action. Orpea also announced in a press release on Tuesday the postponement to May 13 of the publication of its 2021 annual results and its turnover for the first quarter of 2022.

Following these announcements, the group was heckled on the Paris Stock Exchange, falling 8.27% to 31.60 euros. It has lost 64% of its value since the start of the year.