Christian Hartmann via Reuters
HEALTH – “I am waiting to have factual elements, and if there is reason to open an investigation, I will open it. I will not tremble.” Here is what Olivier Véran promised this Tuesday, January 26 when the book-investigation entitled The Gravediggers which reveals the mistreatment suffered by the elderly in the Ehpad of the Orpea group.
“I take the book very seriously. I will nevertheless wait for factual elements from independent evaluation and control authorities and wait for what the group in question will answer us”, he declared on LCI, as you can see. in the video below from the 29th minute.
In The Gravediggers, the independent journalist Victor Castanet describes a system where hygiene care, medical care and even meals for residents are “rationed” to improve the profitability of the group of private nursing homes. And this while stays are charged at a high price – nearly 6,500 euros per month for an “entry level” room at the “Les Bords de Seine” residence in Neuilly, points out the author.
However, retirement homes, even private ones, benefit from significant public funding, from the State and departmental councils, underlines the journalist, for whom “at least indirectly, part of this public money does not go for the benefit of the elderly”.
A life assistant tells for example how much she had to “fight to obtain protections” for the residents. “We were rationed: it was three diapers a day maximum. (…) It does not matter that the resident is sick, that he has gastro, that there is an epidemic”, says this woman, Saïda Boulahyane.
After the publication of these accusations in The world Monday, January 24, the Orpea title on the Paris Stock Exchange fell by more than 16%, before its listing was suspended, at the request of the group. And other private managers of retirement homes have also borne the brunt of this controversy: during the session, the Korian share lost more than 14% and that of LNA health more than 5%, in a market generally in very sharp drop of almost 4%.
Orpea denounces “false accusations”
If the Ministry of Health is awaiting explanations from Orpea, the group has already denounced in a press release “accusations which we consider to be false, outrageous and prejudicial”. The group indicates that it has seized its lawyers to take “all the follow-up, including on the legal level”, to the publication of the book, in order “to restore the truth of the facts”.
“We have always placed quality before finance,” defended the group’s general manager, Yves Le Masne, during a press briefing. According to him, the prosecution testimonies listed in the book come from a minority of former employees of the company who harbored “resentment” against him after having left it.
The management also had to respond to other accusations published on Monday, this time by Mediapart: according to the online investigative media, the group has committed frequent irregularities in the recruitment of its employees on fixed-term contracts, mentioning on their contract, as a reason for hiring, the replacement of employees on permanent contracts, which, in fact , “would not exist”.
“It’s wrong, there have never been false employment contracts,” replied Yves Le Masne on Monday, for whom the company has no interest in favoring fixed-term hiring. In a recurring context of staff shortages, it is often the employees themselves who refuse a permanent contract to keep their freedom, according to him.
See also on The HuffPost: To break the loneliness of the elderly, this association encourages young people to write letters