The Jihlava Alzheimer’s Center is the third case where the Czech army is helping staff from nursing homes to cope with the covid-19 mass infection. And this is also the second case with the same owner. This is the Unicapital financial group of the Olomouc billionaire and owner of the Creditas bank, Pavel Hubáček. Already in April, 14 professional soldiers helped in another Hubáček social facility – Alzheimercentrum Ostrava.
The third rescue operation also concerned a private entity. At the end of April and almost the whole of May, the army (25 soldiers) was deployed in the LDN at the Mariánské Lázně Hospital, whose majority owner through the company Zdravotní zdravotní is, according to earlier unofficial information, the North Bohemian businessman Jakub Zavoral.
In Jihlava, 15 soldiers help to fight the outbreak, and they have been working at the Alzheimer’s Center for at least two weeks. It is not about nursing work, but about help in operation, for example with laundry, also the transfer of patients and heavy loads.
On the one hand, the army’s help during the pandemic is understandable, on the other hand, the question arises as to who pays for the deployment of soldiers and how much the owners of social and medical facilities contribute to the costs. Especially when he is one of the richest men in the country.
The aforementioned Pavel Hubáček is ranked 21st in the national ranking of Forbes magazine with an estimated asset of 10 billion crowns.
They provide them with food and supplies
General Staff spokeswoman Magdalena Dvořáková said that, in general, in similar cases, the army pays for accommodation and meals, formally the soldiers are on a business trip. “In the case of Alzheimercentrum Jihlava, the operator of the facility participates in the costs of catering for soldiers,” the spokeswoman added.
Soldiers sleep in Jihlava’s civilian accommodation facilities for military money. “It is a hostel and boarding house,” Dvořáková added.
Representatives of the Alzheimer’s Center, however, see the current situation in such a way that they pay for the military operation for the most part. “Alzheimercentrum Jihlava pays most of the costs associated with the work of soldiers in the facility. We provide them with all-day food and all protective equipment, “said Martina Svobodová, a spokeswoman for the nationwide network.
“We are very sorry that the coronavirus has spread in one of our facilities, despite the maximum possible measures and prevention. It is a really difficult situation and we very much appreciate the commitment of all our employees and any help, “added a spokesperson for Hubáček’s network, which includes a total of 13 Alzheimer’s centers in the Czech Republic and one in Slovakia in Piešťany.
He belongs to the big three, he also does business “at Babiš”
Together with the Alzheimer Home group (controlled by the Penta financial group) and the multinational SeneCura group, the Alzheimercentrum network is one of the three largest domestic non-state providers of similar social services.
Hubáček entered this business as a property in 2017, when he bought shares from the original owners and founders, Aleš Kulich and Jaroslava Jůzová.
The group also includes the Alzheimer’s Center in Průhonice. The local building belongs to the Imoba group founded by the current Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Babiš bought the complex in Průhonice more than ten years ago at auction, for 140 million crowns, and leased it to Alzheimercentrum for a long time.
If you would like to accommodate your relative affected by Alzheimer’s disease in Průhonice, for example, you will pay 19.5 thousand to 25 thousand crowns a month for your stay, meals and services. Depending on whether it is a double, triple or quadruple room. Such is the current price list, which indicates that these facilities serve a more affluent clientele and the activities of entrepreneurs in this sector do not have the character of a non-profit activity.
He stuck out: I didn’t know who it belonged to
The owner of the Alzheimer’s Center, Pavel Hubáček, is known as a close friend of the second man of the YES government movement, Jaroslav Faltínek, but the deputy chairman of the ODS and the head of the Senate, Miloš Vystrčil, was the one who pushed for the help of soldiers in Jihlava.
“Truth be told, when I dealt with it, I didn’t even find out who the Alzheimer’s Center belonged to. It was in a situation where the Jihlava outbreak threatened to expand further, “said Vystrčil when asked.
However, he agrees that the private owner should cover the costs associated with the work of the soldiers, including accommodation. “The point is that the soldiers today are de facto working for their own quarantined personnel. I will definitely deal with it again, “also responded the head of the Senate, who lives in the Vysočina region and was previously the governor there.
The deployment of soldiers in Jihlava surprised the workers of other similar facilities a bit. “The fact that a coronavirus gets in there can happen to anyone today, it can never be 100% prevented, but it is a little surprising that they could not solve it on their own when they have a nationwide network. In any case, it does not do a very good name for our entire field, “says one of the doctors, who did not want to be named in this context.
The Jihlava Alzheimer’s Center originally asked for help from volunteers, but this recruitment was not successful. Only then did it use the services of the army.
Sometimes soldiers do not heed the request
In April, the Babiš government decided on the possibility of deploying soldiers to ensure the operation of social service homes in which infection with a new type of coronavirus is proven. According to the then statement of the Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar (for YES), up to 360 soldiers will be able to be called.
So far, as already mentioned, the army has been sent to three homes. However, there were also cases when the army did not listen to the SOS signal. “Some requests were not granted due to a procedural mistake in requesting forces and resources of the Army of the Czech Republic,” said Magdalena Dvořáková, a spokeswoman for the General Staff, without further details.
Already in March (before the government’s decision), the Vysočina Region asked in vain for help from the soldiers for the Home with a Special Regime in Břevnice in the Havlíčkův Brod Region. The military then rejected it for “capacity reasons”. In the end, firefighters helped out in the home, which belongs to the Vysočina Region.
The second and last time?
According to the network’s representatives, Hubáček’s Alzheimer’s centers are doing their best to ensure that the covid-19 mass infection does not recur elsewhere. The company told the Editor of the List of Reports what measures are currently in place for them.
Measures in relation to clients:
– Health monitoring twice a day, monitoring of physiological functions.
– Avoidance of public relations – blanket ban on visits to all Alzheimer’s centers.
– Restrictions on external inputs – students, trainees, hairdressers, pedicurists.
– Departures from the facility are allowed to clients only for health reasons.
– Limitation of activations – barrier system of providing care.
– Testing clients for the presence of the virus at admission and after hospitalizations.
Measures in relation to employees:
– Regime measures for alternating day and night shifts, separation of operations, separation of shifts within stations.
– Adherence to protective equipment.
– Follow-up control of the implementation of hygienic-epidemiological measures in practice and regular and ongoing training of staff.
– Increased disinfection of rooms and common areas (contact points – laundries, locker rooms, handles, switches).
End of CEO
At a time when the soldiers were working in the Alzheimer’s Center in Jihlava, there was a fundamental personnel change in the Prague headquarters of Hubáček’s company. According to information from the List of Reports, Marek Cita is resigning as the General Director of the nationwide network after about a year. According to some, his departure is related to the “failure” of the fight against coronavirus.
But the company itself rejects these reasons. “Marek Cita left by mutual agreement, it has nothing to do with the infection in Jihlava,” said Alzheimercentrum spokeswoman Martina Svobodová. Cita himself did not respond to the editors’ question.