The Maharashtra government has decided to continue with its order of reserving 80 per cent beds in private hospitals and nursing homes across the state. The order was to lapse by the end of the month. The government now plans to extend the rule for a further three months. However, private hospitals in Mumbai are unhappy with the move and plan to approach the government seeking relaxation.
In view of rising Covid cases, the state government on May 21 had passed a notification, which allowed it to take over 80 per cent beds in private hospitals and regulate treatment charges. The notification lapses on August 31.
Maharashtra Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas said the state government plans to extend the notification for another three months.
With Covid cases stabilising in Mumbai, private hospitals are, however, planning to submit a proposal where the percentage of reserved beds can be brought down from 80 per cent to 50 per cent.
In Bhatia hospital, medical director Dr R B Dastur said the hospital has been incurring losses since March. “If over the next few months, we are not able to charge beds as per our previous rates we will not be able to reach breakeven point,” Dastur said. The hospital has 80 beds occupied under government and 20 under its normal slab rates. It has 194 beds but does not have enough staff to run to full capacity.
In Bombay hospital, currently around 200 beds are vacant and 86 are occupied by Covid patients under the government reserved category. The hospital has begun treating non-Covid patients and plans to increase its non-Covid services further. Dr Gautam Bhansali, who is also coordinating on behalf of all private hospitals, said, “We will soon be meeting the CM and chief secretary. Private hospitals will follow whatever government decides but we will put forth our point,” he said.
Of 4,751 beds allocated in private hospitals, 1,346 beds remain vacant. In public hospitals and jumbo facilities 5,119 beds are occupied. Across Mumbai of 20,162 beds, 10,288 beds remain vacant.
Dr Deepak Baid, president of Association of Medical Consultants, said since June the government has started admitting patients in jumbo facilities to reduce the burden on both public and private hospitals. “A lot of beds reserved by the government are empty. These beds could be utilised for other patients. Hospitals are incurring huge losses. We hope the government will lower the 80 per cent reservation,” Baid said.
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