Comment regarding Humana Assistans' revoked license to conduct businessPublished: 2023-02-01
On January 31, we received information that the Swedish Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO) has decided to revoke Humana Assistans' permit to conduct personal assistance. Humana Assistans AB is one of the Humana Group`s subsidiaries. The operations affected are personal assistance and accompanying person services. We think the decision is deeply unfair and wrong for both our customers and employees. As the industry's largest practitioner, we take great responsibility for quality assurance and for developing our operations.
We were of course aware of IVO's review process that has been going on for two years. IVO regularly reviews that assistance companies meet the suitability requirement, so this is thus nothing remarkable. However, we are extremely surprised by the result and the decision. The lengthy process has been characterized by a lack of communication and a lack of transparency on the part of IVO, despite the fact that we have asked for this several times.
IVO's decision is based on three parts and our view of the decisions
There have been 27 reclaims during the past 15 years, 22 of which the Swedish Social Insurance Agency has directed at Humana Assistans, and five directed at the customer or its fiduciary. So what is a reclaim – does it mean it’s fraud? No, these regard customers whose decisions for assistance have been questioned, in some cases 15 year old decisions. Each decision is preceded by a doctor's assessment that is made by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. It is not our duty to make these assessments, but the responsibility of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, something we also pointed out in a debate in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter in the autumn. It is important to bear in mind that 27 reclaims, of which only two have gained legal force, are to be seen against the background of a business with 2 000 customers and 11 000 employees – and during a period of 15 years. That's a few per mille of our business. We are the first to agree that rules and laws should be followed, but in a business as large as ours, mistakes will be made. The whole thing becomes even more strange given that the majority of cases are still pending decisions and we have won several of them in a first instance. Ultimately, we have good faith that we will get approval for the majority of them.
Responsibilities regarding foreign workers
In the last three years, 3 out of our 11,000 employees have lacked work permits. All three have been on site in Sweden with other employers or for studies. As soon as we learned that these people lacked work permits, we have acted and taken our responsibility, in one of the cases the person did not even get employed. Humana has a policy of not hiring people where a work permit is required and therefore, for obvious reasons, has no routine for this. The IVO confirm in their decision that this is not about labour exploitation or any irregularities.
The experience of previous unenforced IVO decisions
Since 2018, IVO has followed up four cases where IVO has investigated deficiencies in our operations. In all these cases, IVO has accepted the measures taken by Humana Assistans and then closed the cases.
It is a given that there will sometimes be shortcomings in a business. The important thing is that shortcomings are analysed and corrected. And this is what Humana Assistans has done. Despite the fact that IVO has closed its review of the current cases, Humana Assistans has continued to take further measures to ensure the quality of its operations. For us, it is an obvious part of our quality work. IVO's actions suggest that there must be no deficiencies in an activity at all, which would make it impossible to conduct personal assistance.
What we do about this and the process ahead
The decision will be appealed and we will also request a suspension, which means that the IVO's decision would not apply during the legal process. Financial implications will also be investigated.
Humana Assistans has been given a deadline until February 10 to wind down operations and we expect to have been notified of the suspension request before that date. A legal process in administrative law can take up to a year.
Humana's other business area operations will continue to operate as usual and will not be affected by the decision.