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Thursday, May 13, 2021

To ramp up beds for Covid patients, BMC turns hotels into step-down facilities

Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal has issued guidelines under which Covid-19 patients who are not critical and getting treated at major hospitals can be shifted to hotels.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
April 16, 2021 2:10:11 am
Mumbai, COVID-19, BMC, oxygen cylinders in Mumbai, oxygen availability in Mumbai, mumbai news, indian expressOxygen cylinders being inspected at Thane District Government Hospital on Thursday. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

In a bid to free up more beds for critical Covid-19 patients patients, BMC has started turning 4-5 star hotels into designated step-down facilities.

Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal has issued guidelines under which Covid-19 patients who are not critical and getting treated at major hospitals can be shifted to hotels.

The BMC guidelines came after it was found that many Covid-19 patients who do not require emergency medical intervention still occupied hospital beds. Chahal has expressed concern as this practice caused time lag in getting a bed, especially in private hospitals, for needy patients.

Amid a surge in cases, Mumbai is facing delay and shortage of beds and BMC is trying to ramp up the numbers.

The civic body is hopeful that the plan will also reduce fatality rate as more oxygen, ICU and ventilators beds will be available for needy patients. So far, Bombay Hospital, Marine Drive and H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Charni Road have agreed to link with Intercontinental Hotel, Marine Drive and Trident Hotel, BKC, respectively. These two hotels collectively offered 42 beds.

According to the guidelines, BMC and private hospitals will identify closely located 4/5 star hotels and initiate turning them into step-down facilities. “The linked hospital must have approximately 20 rooms. These step-down facilities will be treated as extensions of private hospitals. It will be the private hospital’s responsibility to assess the clinical condition of admitted patients on a regular basis. The doctor in charge of the patient will certify and approve such transfers,” stated the guidelines.

Officials said that private hospitals will be tasked to provide round the clock medical services, 24-hour doctor consultation, nursing care, medicine, ambulance at these step-down facilities. Also, positive asymptomatic patients can also walk into these step-down facilities but only after doctor’s advice.

Hospitals can charge patients Rs 4,000 per bed including tax and meals and hotels will be paid by hospitals. However, hospitals can charge extra for medical expenses, doctor visits and other incidental charges. In case patients are close relatives and willing to share two separate beds, then they can be charged Rs 6,000 per room.

However, there is no clarity on how many hospital beds will free up with these step-down facilities. Civic officials said that most Covid-19 patients rush for beds in private hospitals like Breach Candy, Jaslok, Hinduja, Raheja, Lilavati.

Dr Gautam Bhansali, coordinator for Bombay Hospital, said they have already started shifting patients to Intercontinental Hotel. There are 22 beds linked with the hospital. He said the hospital has also planned to link with more hotels.

Officials in Jaslok hospital said they have increased total isolation beds from 58 to 150. “We continue our efforts in treating other critically ill chronic pts and procedures. We understand the importance of addressing the health needs of all patients, while emphasizing and sustaining our fight against COVID19,” a hospital spokesperson said.

Earlier, Chahal had said that the corporation added 325 ICU beds, taking total ICU beds to 2466. According to the BMC, there are 20,022 Covid beds of which 4105 are vacant in dedicated health care centres (DCHC) and dedicated covid hospitals (DCH).

Chahal had also said that in the next seven days, there will be 1100 additional DCHC and DCH beds including 125 ICU. The BMC is planning three more jumbo Covid facilities in 5-6 weeks. Each will have a capacity of 2000 beds including 200 ICU beds.

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