In Reims, at 12, avenue de Laon, the curtain of the City Santé boutique (formerly Ophtalmologie Express) has been lowered for several days. Surprised, the onlookers who pass in front of the sign blurt out a few words, like Catherine: “Hey, is it closed? It’s a shame, it was very practical and close to home.” Others stop to consult the poster which provides little more explanation: “The center is temporarily closed. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.”
There may be some embarrassment because this center absorbed around a hundred patients per day. With the shortage of ophthalmology specialists, the office has been very successful since its opening in June 2019. Especially since it promised “appointments within ten days”. What its customers do not know is that the brand, which has nine branches in France, is the subject of an investigation for suspicion of fraud, as the weekly wrote this week Point.
A search was carried out last Tuesday, in the Reims center as well as in the premises of Metz and Lorient, where the equipment was seized by the gendarmes. It is the Reims research section of the gendarmerie which is responsible for the investigations, in conjunction with the Central Office for the Fight against Illegal Work, in Arcueil (Val-de-Marne). According to the group’s co-founder, Steeve Krief, only four centers (Lorient, Le Havre, Metz and Reims) are affected by these suspicions of fraud.
The latter was arrested at his home and placed in police custody on Monday with his associate, ophthalmologist Claude Aflalo. The courts suspect the centers of overbilling, fictitious acts and have noted quotation anomalies. Businessman Steeve Krief defends himself from these accusations. For the moment, no ban on exercise has been imposed but the four centers are temporarily closed.
In Reims, Ophthalmologie Express (renamed City santé in 2022) today has around a dozen employees including three orthoptists, six secretaries and several ophthalmologists. Last summer, Health Insurance had already sent a strong signal on this subject. She had unconventionally an entire network of Alliance Vision health centers established almost everywhere in France. Among the facts criticized by the Cnam: the invoicing of fictitious acts and non-compliance with rating rules. The damage then amounted to nearly 8 million euros, according to the complaints filed.