Orpea: auditioned in the National Assembly, the leaders of the group delivered a “hollow speech” which did not convince the deputies

The new CEO of Orpea, Philippe Charrier, as well as the Director General France, Jean-Christophe Romersi, were heard before the Social Affairs Commission of the National Assembly, Wednesday, February 2. MPs pressed them with questions after the revelations of the investigative book The Gravediggers (ed. Fayard), which lists a series of malfunctions in the group’s establishments. Pressed with questions by the deputies, Philippe Charrier denied the existence of a system “consisting of optimizing profit to ration our services” within the group.

>> Suspicions of abuse at Orpea: we summarize the controversy in nine acts after the revelations of the book The Gravediggers

“I assure you: this system does not exist in any way at Orpea. The real Orpea system is that at all levels we try to take care of the people entrusted to us”. The CEO added that adverse events were closely monitored. “We report them to the health authorities, we carry out investigations and we correct them”assured Philippe Charrier, referring to 391 “adverse events” in 2021, of which “36 suspicions of abuse”. He also praised Orpea’s position, “a world leader” – “France does not have many. The most beautiful companies are fragile”he said, calling not to “destroy the finest companies with allegations”.

The leader of the group did not really convince the deputies present. “The national representation, I tell you frankly, is disappointed by the quality of your answers – or the absence of answers”, declared Fadila Khattabi (LREM), the president of the commission, who will soon receive the author of the investigation, the journalist Victor Castanet. Him too “outraged”Nicolas Turquois (Modem) criticized the two leaders for “hollow speech on great principles”followed by“technical-administrative arguments, figures that drowned the fish”.

“I was hoping for transparency and humility from you, which you owe to French taxpayers and their families. But honestly, what a disappointment!”

Laetitia Romeiro-Dias, LREM MP

National Assembly Social Commission

The investigation book The Gravediggers describes the rationing of medical supplies and food in establishments with very high prices, a chronic mistreatment of residents, financial objectives imposed on departments closely controlled by headquarters. Accusations that the group refutes en bloc. The authorities announced on Tuesday the opening of a “double investigation” administrative entrusted to the general inspectorates of social affairs (Igas) and finances (IGF). The group’s establishments will be subject to “random checks” carried out by the State services.

The government has promised proposals by the end of the month to prevent such excesses from happening again. The Secretary of State for Autonomy, Brigitte Bourguignon, wants to ensure that for-profit private establishments are considered “mission-based companies”, under the provisions of the 2019 Pacte law. This status assumes that a independent third-party organization verifies that the company meets the objectives of its mission, in this case “care, well-treatment”according to the minister.

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