The group of private nursing homes Orpea announced on Tuesday that it had finally agreed to reimburse all of the 55.8 million euros in public money claimed from it for its past bad practices, and which it disputed until most of it now. “Anxious to turn the page on the mistakes of the past and to resume full cooperation with the authorities, Orpea has decided to reimburse the full amount due to the CNSA”, the National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy (CNSA), has indicated in a press release the company, in financial difficulties.
“A widespread practice in private and public nursing homes”
In July, the group announced that it only agreed to reimburse 25.7 million euros, out of the 55.8 million claimed. This sum corresponded to the end-of-year discounts granted by its suppliers for purchases that had been financed by Social Security, but also to the amount of two taxes and insurance costs that the group had included in its calculations to claim public subsidies. On the other hand, Orpea has so far contested the rest of the restitution claimed, i.e. 30.1 million euros, corresponding to the remuneration of certain employees of the group who “acted as” caregivers without having the qualification.
The CNSA considers that these salaries cannot be paid for by the public authorities since the people concerned are not caregivers. The company, on the other hand, has so far maintained that there was no other solution than to hire people without qualifications, “in a general context of a shortage of caregivers”. And that it was therefore legitimate for their salaries to be financed by Social Security, especially since it is, according to her, “a generalized practice in private and public nursing homes”.
800 people hired on permanent contracts each month
The new management of Orpea, which on November 15 presented a plan to get the group of private retirement homes back on track, has therefore decided to give in on this second point as well, while announcing that it wants to “implement solutions to provide a long-term response to the problem of carers ‘acting’ as caregivers”.
Since September, the company has managed to hire 800 people on permanent contracts each month, which is much more than the 550 hoped for, she adds in the press release. Orpea also intends to train 1,000 apprentices on a work-study program in 2024, against 200 this year and will “support and take charge of the training” of its current “working people”, so that they become caregivers via learning or validation. acquired experience (VAE), detailed management.