Anticipating a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and keeping in mind the need to bring down the fatality rate, the district administration held a meeting with private hospital authorities to focus on newer treatment strategies. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram on Tuesday interacted with experts in the Covid-19 taskforce, including Dr. D B Kadam.
With the monsoon to set in early, there are also chances of co-infections and doctors across private hospitals fear a rise in the number of cases. There are more than 4,000 cases and over 200 deaths in Pune.
Dr. Kadam said that as the virus is evolving, there are new manifestations of the disease. “There are conflicting reports about everything, and we have to go forward with our own experiences,” he said, adding that with the monsoon season ahead, there will be additional challenges to deal with, and that health systems will have to be geared up.
Experts also said contact tracing has now become challenging, with so many people who have tested positive for coronavirus also being asymptomatic. According to Ram, the focus is on whether newer drugs could be introduced to improve the patient’s condition.
Dr. Ashok Nandapurkar, district civil surgeon, said there is a need to monitor each patient properly, so that the mortality rate can be reduced.
“There has to be an understanding with private hospitals, as we will need more ICU beds in the event of a rise in number of critical care cases of Covid-19,” Ram told The Indian Express.
“At least 20 per cent of the beds in each hospital should not be charged,” he added. He also suggested that each 100-bed hospital should allot a minimum of 30 beds for critical care Covid-19 patients. “We are ensuring that the hospital bills will be paid.”
There are nine hospitals that have entered an agreement with PMC, and as per the MoU, the patients will be covered under the state-run Mahatma Jyotiba Phule scheme. In case the amount to be reimbursed falls short, the remaining money can be taken from the PMC’s contributory health scheme, Dr. Ramchandra Hankare, chief medical officer of PMC said.
In private hospitals, several administrators have urged the government to release a reasonable treatment rate for Covid-19 patients. According to Dr. H K Sale, executive director, Noble Hospital, an approximate Rs. 5,000 is spent per day per bed towards the treatment of a Covid-19 patient. Even as Dr. P K Grant, managing trustee, Ruby Hall Clinic, said they will be stepping up bed strength from 50 to 130 for infected patients, at Jehangir Hospital, CEO Dr.Vinod Sawantwadkar said they had asked the PMC for operational guidelines and already had enhanced the bed strength to 44.
‘COVID care hospitals full, will need 500 critical care beds in coming months’
In Bharati Hospital – a dedicated Covid-19 hospital – a total of 280 patients have been treated so far, said Dr. Sanjay Lalwani, medical director. Of these, 85 were in the ICU, and 30 were provided with ventilator support. While 14 succumbed to the infection, there are others who are yet to be taken off the ventilator. “How can we then admit more, when one critical care patient occupies the bed for a minimum of two weeks to survive?” D.r Lalwani asked.
At Covid-19-dedicated Symbiosis Hospital, there is a shortage of ICU intensivists, and according to CEO Dr. Vijay Natarajan, they are now urging for more intensivists from private hospitals. In the coming months, there will be a need for more than 70 to 80 ICU intensivists, Dr. Nataraj said, while Dr. Lalwani pointed out that a minimum of 500 critical care beds will be required.
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