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how the leaders of Orpea internally organized the counter-attack

Philippe Charrier (on the left), CEO of Orpea, and Jean-Christophe Romersi (on the right), Managing Director France of Orpea, after their meeting with Brigitte Bourguignon, minister in charge of autonomy, who had summoned them, on February 1, 2022 in Paris.

Thursday March 17, in the heart of Saint-Quentin (Aisne), around twenty directors of accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad) are nervously waiting, in an activity room of an Orpea residence, for the arrival by Stephane Cohen. After the e-mails, press releases and videoconferences, the group’s director of medico-social operations France begins a national tour to meet its 226 directors in order to clear the ground. The time is serious: the final report of the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS) and the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) on this group implicated, in recent weeks, for its management of establishments for the elderly is about to be handed over to the government. Its content is still confidential, but the leaders of Orpea had access to a preliminary report in order to be able to present their “defence”. Everything indicates that the raised points are explosive, and the risk of internal bleeding is significant. Hence Mr. Cohen’s intervention.

Excerpts from “Gravediggers”: Article reserved for our subscribers “Already, there was this terrible smell of piss, from the entrance”

Around 10 a.m., this dynamic 50-year-old takes to the track. He knows how to capture his audience and is combative. Throughout his remarks, of which The world has been able to take cognizance, he will repeat several times: “We are not going to let it go! » and “We’ll have to stop whipping each other, there, to suffer! »

Before discussing the content of the report, Mr. Cohen does not hesitate to criticize the institutions: the government, the National Assembly’s social affairs commission, the regional health agencies (ARS), the IGF, the IGAS. All guilty, in his eyes, of lacking impartiality. He and his superior, the managing director France of Orpea, Jean-Christophe Romersi, have in particular kept a very bad memory of their hearing at the National Assembly. “We got slashed, but there was nothing we could do, says Mr. Cohen. We are in a game that is both political and theatrical. We answered but nobody listened to us. Everyone is in their role. The deputies of La République en Marche belong to a government that has done nothing for the sector. They have an expiatory victim there and say to themselves that it is necessary to charge it. »

“This report will leave traces”

Regarding the checks carried out by the ARS, Mr. Cohen reveals to his collaborators that twelve residences would have received injunctions – sanctions pronounced following malfunctions that could endanger the lives of residents – and announces that closures are to be expected. . But, according to him, these measures would not be justified and would be explained by the ambitions of certain directors of ARS: “There are regions where we feel that things are going to go wrong. In the DGs [directeurs généraux] of ARS, there are some who dream of going up to the ministry. There are elections soon. Mandates will be redistributed. And clearly, there is a region where we have a superfayot. This CEO says to himself: “I am going to do Orpea to be seen well.” »

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