After the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) denotified nine private Covid hospitals last week, the case load in 62 private hospitals designated for Covid care has shot up from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.
Contrarily, the occupancy rate of the five government hospitals only went up from 21 to 23 per cent in the past two months.
The AMC denotified the hospitals on August 23 after the number of positive cases reported per day began to stabilise over the past two months and the number of active cases went down.
The hospitals that entered into an agreement with the AMC reserve 50 per cent of their total beds for Covid patients referred by the municipal corporation, which would pay for their treatment. Apart from denotifying nine hospitals, bed quota was reduced in two hospitals.
Till August 27, out of 2,888 active patients in Ahmedabad, 160 are on BiPAP and 90 on ventilator, including 13 at Civil Hospital Asarwa. Of these 13, majority are from outside Ahmedabad city, said Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at Civil Hospital Asarwa, M Prabhakar. Of the active cases, 2,532 are institutionalised — 2,266 in hospitals and 266 at Covid care centres.
There were 636 patients in the five government Covid hospitals, against the total capacity of 2,800. However, in 62 private hospitals with a capacity of 2,694 beds, there were 1,630 patients. After the denotification on August 23, the capacity of beds paid for by the AMC went down by 1,116.
The capacity at government hospitals also went down by nearly 1,000 beds and from seven to five hospitals. The Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute (GCRI) and IKDRC on the Civil Hospital Asarwa campus with a bed capacity of 262 and 202 respectively are now non-Covid hospitals. The bed capacity at AMC-run SVP Hospital has also been reduced from 1,000 to 800 and Civil Hospital Sola from 500 to 250.
With the reduction in patient load at AMC-run hospitals, the paramedical staff are also moving out to home care services. “Nearly 350 paramedic staff of SVP Hospital have been deployed at over 150 Sanjivani home care services run by the AMC,” said a senior health official with AMC.
Maulana Habib, president of Isha Foundation that runs the Lokhandwala Hospital that was denotified, said it was difficult to treat non-Covid patients. “With barely one or two Covid patients, we had to block the entire floor, affected non-Covid patients seeking treatment such as dialysis and surgeries. We communicated this to the AMC authorities.”
Expecting more denotifications to happen in the coming weeks, Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association president Dr Bharat Gadhavi said, “This has to happen as more and more beds are going vacant.”
Talking about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AMC, Dr Gadhavi said, “Barring a few differences initially, the experience was good. Gradually, the authorities understood our issues, following which the functioning was smooth. Also, private hospitals co-ordinated among themselves for better care.”
AHNA wrote to additional chief secretary forests and environment department Rajiv Kumar Gupta last week, requesting for denotification of Covid hospitals, citing 40 to 50 per cent of the AMC-paid beds lying vacant.
Several hospitals listed in the first list of Covid hospitals in May have completed three months. The letter also pointed out that since the number of patients seeking private beds have increased significantly, “reserving beds for AMC paid patients make no sense”.
Five hospitals were denotified on technical grounds. However, these were designated for treatment of Covid patients in private quota only.
“The AMC was paying for unoccupied beds also where the occupancy was just 40 per cent, leading to the denotification of these hospitals. With this, the occupancy rate has come up to 60 per cent,” said Ahmedabad municipal commissioner Mukesh Kumar.
The number of reserved beds for Covid patients was reduced in Kothiya Hospital Uttamnagar and GCS Hospital Naroda road by 69 and 175 beds, respectively.
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