Most public nursing homes are in the red in France: the Hospital Federation warns and calls for price increases

Most public nursing homes are in the red in France: the Hospital Federation warns and calls for price increases

Des Ehpad “étranglés” par l’inflation et secoués par l’affaire Orpea. MAXPPP – Vincent VOEGTLIN

The financial situation of nursing homes continues to deteriorate, warns the French Hospital Federation (FHF). Establishments are in the red and must recruit.

The financial situation of nursing homes continues to worsen, warns the French Hospital Federation (FHF) in a study published Thursday, calling on the authorities to increase all prices by 5% , in order to recruit.

"Despite activity which continues to progress, public nursing homes are facing a massive, rapid and profound deterioration in their budgetary balances", underlines in a press release the federation which brings together public hospitals and medical-social establishments.

An observation based on a survey carried out in February and March in more than 730 public sector nursing homes, with more than 100,000 permanent beds.

An "alarming record figure"

Its conclusions are eloquent: nearly 85% of public nursing homes recorded a deficit for the 2023 financial year, a gap which is widening and reaching 800M  euro; (+ 42 % in one year), an alarming "record figure". Five years ago, only 42% of establishments were in the red.

Another sign of the deterioration of the situation, a third of public establishments admit to having encountered cash flow difficulties last year, 30% even had to postpone the payment of certain charges. Many of them were also forced to request emergency aid from the Regional Health Agency (ARS) to keep their heads above water.

"It's urgent"

The rise in the cost of living (food, energy, water, medicines, insurance, laundry, salaries) explains, for many, these difficulties, with costs which have exploded by 21% over three years, where the price of residents' rooms increased by an average of 4%.

Nursing homes are also suffering the consequences of the Orpea scandal. The cases of mistreatment and embezzlement revealed, on January 26, 2022, by the book Les Fossoyeurs, from the pen of journalist Victor Castanet, shed harsh light on this private group since renamed Emeis and passed, on 19 ;December 2023, under the control of the Caisse des Dépôts.

Inflation and the Orpea scandal

These revelations also shook the entire sector, creating a crisis of confidence in establishments at the same time “strangled" by inflation, to the point of finding themselves today ;rsquo;today in a "critical situation", according to the FHF.

This is therefore asking, today, from the State "a 5 % increase in the care package for nursing homes  quot;, financed by Social Security, the dependency package" from the departmental councils, as well as the “accommodation” paid by residents. Prices, however, are often already high.

But "there is an emergency" to face the &amp ;quot;unprecedented demographic wave of old age", underlines the French Hospital Federation.

To achieve the government commitment of 50,000 additional positions by 2030, she underlines, 6,000 annual recruitments are necessary in nursing homes. Here too, money will be needed to finance them.

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