The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Riviera-HospitalChablais presented its report on Tuesday. He did not find any reprehensible act or embezzlement, but several omissions, namely by the Council of State of Vaud, accused of having been slow to react.
Established on March 30, 2021, the CEP-HRC lists several findings in its 173-page report on Rennaz Hospital’s financial difficulties. She writes, in particular, that the Council of State and the Grand Council of Vaud were aware of the HRC’s “growing financial difficulties” and that “its inaction in the face of the situation is in part at the origin of the financial crisis” that erupted in April. of 2020.
“For such a large project, responsibilities are shared”, summarizes UDC deputy Dylan Karlen, chairman of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, with Keystone-ATS. “There are no private revelations, nor anything revolutionary” compared to the two summer 2020 audits that confirmed significant deficiencies in the financial management and current affairs of the Valdo-Valais establishment.
“With this CEP and the two previous audits, we have covered the issue,” Karlen said, without commenting on the report further. This was filed Tuesday at the Office of the Grand Council and will be presented to Parliament on 7 June. As a reminder, the Valais deputies refused to investigate the HRC, of which their canton has a quarter.
In the report, many recommendations were made to the government. Some of them will be monitored by the State Council:
Slowness of Parliament
The crisis forced the cantons of Vaud and Valais to react urgently by providing additional loan guarantees of 70 million francs (400 million in all). As regards the operation of the hospital, to allow it to absorb its losses and restore the balance of accounts in 2026, support of 125 million francs was also granted over 15 years.
According to the CEP-HRC report, the Council of State was informed “regularly”, starting in 2015, that the estimated final cost of the new Rennaz hospital would exceed the value of the guarantee. Despite this, “it has not taken adequate measures to remedy this situation”, we can read there. A remark not shared by the Minister of Health at Vaud:
The report also points to the fact that the Department of Health and Social Action (DSAS), responsible for the HRC project, “did not take over the Council of State when major problems, of a financial nature in particular, arose during the execution of the aforementioned project. “.
The Grand Council is also accused of a certain laxity. The critical financial situation of the CHR, reported by the Interparliamentary Commission for the control of the CHR, did not provoke a “particular reaction” from the Parliament of Vaud, underlines the CEP-HRC. At the same time, this Interparliamentary Commission also stands out: “it does not have sufficient powers and means to exercise real management control over the CHR”.
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry also indicates that it had to face resistance during its working year. She regrets the “proven” interference of the Finance Commission (COFIN) and the “likely” interference of the head of the Department of Finance and External Relations (DFIRE), Pascal Broulis. Denied by the government
No “business model”
The Board of Trustees and the management of the HRC remained deaf to the CFO’s warnings. “None of these bodies took the appropriate measures. By contracting two short-term loans of 10 million francs, the CFO prevented HRC from going into default”, says the CEP-HRC.
Among the other findings, it is also verified that the new hospital – which brought together five hospital units in the region – did not have a true “business model”. A tool that, however, accompanies any business creation to define its mission, its customers, its human resources or its financing.
Furthermore, the HRC Establishment Council did not have “a clear vision of the strategic directions desired” by the cantons of Vaud and Valais. Another criticism, HRC used amounts related to its operations to finance investments, “which increased the cash flow problems urgently addressed by the Grand Council”.
The Council of State takes note of the CEP-HRC report, indicated following the publication. The government notes that the PIU has not identified any irregularities or misuse of public money. He will follow several recommendations made, but does not share certain findings about the autonomy, monitoring and financial situation of the hospital, he reacts.
“The Council of State notes that the report does not reveal new facts that would be unknown to it or that it would not have communicated publicly or any serious fact that implicates the authorities”, observe the Vaud authorities.
The government of Valdenses also points out that construction costs were kept under control and that those linked to the operation were in line with forecasts until 2019, but that the drop in activity (linked in particular to the delay in moving) caused a drop in revenue. . The canton then said it had taken “immediate corrective measures” and ordered two audits to understand these difficulties.
The Council of State welcomes, however, the fact that the HRC is now developing positively on all fronts. The hospital “is on the right track: the better-than-expected 2021 financial result demonstrates that the measures taken to restore balance are having their effects. It has found its place in the region and plays an important role in covering the needs of the inhabitants.” from the cantons of Vaud and Valais”, he underlines.
Robin Jaunin with Keystone-ATS