Orpea will repay tens of millions of euros in public subsidies

JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP Orpea finally agrees to reimburse all the public subsidies claimed (Illustration photo).

JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

Orpea finally agrees to reimburse all the public subsidies claimed (Illustration photo).

ECONOMY – It’s a turnaround. The group of private nursing homes Orpea announced on Tuesday, November 22 that it finally agreed to reimburse all of the 55.8 million euros in public money claimed from it for its past bad practices, and of which it contested most of it so far.

“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), said in a press release the company, in financial difficulties.

In July, the group announced that it only agreed to reimburse 25.7 million euros, out of the 55.8 million claimed. This amount 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.

A new direction

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 “functioned” of nursing assistants 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 maintained until now that there was no other solution than to hire people without qualifications, “in a general context of 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, “of a generalized practice in private and public nursing homes”.

The new management of Orpea, which on November 15 presented a plan to put 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 “implement solutions to sustainably address the issue of life support workers ‘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 plans to train 1,000 work-study apprentices in 2024, compared to 200 this year and will “accompany and take charge of training” of its “operating” current, so that they become caregivers via learning or validation of acquired experience (VAE), detailed management.

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