Tuesday, March 21

France announces control of nursing homes after scandal

France announced on Tuesday that it will present proposals to prevent mistreatment in nursing homes and a “wide control operation” of the Orpea group’s nursing homes, following the publication of a book denouncing its management.

The book “Les fossoyeurs” (The Gravediggers), by investigative journalist Victor Castanet, describes a system where hygiene, medical care and even food are “rationed” to improve the company’s profitability.

The private group denies these accusations and tried to appease the controversy unleashed last week and the stock market crashes with the dismissal on Sunday night of its CEO for more than 10 years, Yves Le Masne.

However, the French government announced on Tuesday, before a meeting with the group’s leaders to express their “anger”, the start of two administrative investigations by the general inspectorates of Social Affairs and Finance.

“You have to hit hard to show that you can’t do anything” in nursing homes, the minister in charge of the Autonomy of the Elderly, Brigitte Bourguignon, told France Inter radio.

The minister assured that if the facts are confirmed, the leaders of Orpea “will have to answer to justice”. In addition, the government is preparing proposals to “prevent” situations such as those reported.

At the end of the meeting, the new executive president of the group, Philippe Charrier, told the press that he supports these inspections and controls so that all the accusations in the book are clarified, several of which are, in his opinion, “unfounded”.

Orpea announced in a statement that it had hired two expert audit cabinets to “evaluate the published accusations with total independence” and whose conclusions “will be made available to the competent authorities.”

In the judicial field, the group could face a collective complaint by the families of the residents. Their lawyer, Sarah Saldmann, indicated that, depending on the case, the accusations could go as far as “involuntary homicide.”

The private group is present in 23 countries, mainly in Europe, but also in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico.

cac-ab-tjc / mb