While the document is careful to recall its still provisional nature on numerous occasions, the conclusions of the “independent assessment mission relating to the charges of the work The gravediggers “entrusted by Orpea to the auditing firms Grant Thornton and Alvarez & Marsal are however, once again, overwhelming for the retirement home group.
To respond to the crisis caused by the publication, at the end of January, of the investigative book by journalist Victor Castanet (The gravediggers, Fayard, 400 pages, € 22.90) denouncing internal abuse, neglect and obsession with profit, Orpea, European leader in accommodation facilities for non self-sufficient elderly (Ehpad), had announced an audit mission, entrusted to two renowned studies. They were able to conduct their investigations for two months, in the form of unannounced visits to the factories, interviews with employees of the group or even examinations of financial and accounting records.
If their final report is not expected by the end of June, the two companies already confirm most of the revelations on Mr. Castanet, supported by the administrative investigation carried out by the general inspection of finances and by the general inspection of Social Affairs. Particularly “the existence of rebates, rebates and rebates also granted by suppliers of products financed with public funds, incorrect declarations of the work accounts to the supervisory authorities, non-compliance in the negotiation of fixed-term contracts and recourse to intermediaries, including former prefect”, to carry out lobbying activities.
Managers encouraged to make profits
Some significant elements of Mr Castanet’s work are however not confirmed by Grant Thomson and Alvarez & Marsal, such as the lack of urinary protection. The company confirms a ratio of 2.2 exchanges per resident per day, but believes, in light of the interviews with the staff, that this figure seems sufficient, as not all residents need these protections.
Similarly, the insufficiency of food rations, cited in the book and yet confirmed by the administrative investigation made public in early March by the government, is not detected by the audit. Believes that the “daily cost” per resident “Does not qualify a situation of rationing or insufficient coverage of the nutritional needs of residents”, even if it specifies that the investigation “Do not allow to evaluate the taste or nutritional quality of the meals served”. Another element to the detriment: if it points to a “very binding budget process”the audit cannot confirm the systematic policy of refusal by the central office of purchase requests made by facility managers beyond the foreseen budgets.
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