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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Karnataka’s step-down hospitals: who can get admitted and what are the charges?

Beds in hotel rooms will now transform into a hospital-like setup, and patients will be managed by doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff from the respective hub hospital.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal , Edited by Explained Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: April 24, 2021 10:37:53 am
To get admitted to any step-down hospital in Karnataka, the government has made it mandatory for the patient to furnish a Covid-19 positive certificate obtained after an RT-PCR test. (Express Photo: Darshan Devaiah BP)

In a bid to mitigate the scarcity of beds, the Karnataka government has allowed private medical establishments in the state to set up and manage ‘step-down hospitals’ for patients diagnosed with Covid-19 infection.

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What are step-down hospitals?

Step-down hospitals are medical facilities established in hotels around hospitals in the state registered under the KPME (Karnataka Private Medical Establishments) Act. Beds in hotel rooms will now transform into a hospital-like setup, and patients will be managed by doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff from the respective hub hospital.

Who can get admitted to step-down hospitals in Karnataka?

To get admitted to any step-down hospital in Karnataka, the government has made it mandatory for the patient to furnish a Covid-19 positive certificate obtained after an RT-PCR test. The patient should also be symptomatic with either recurring fever over 100-degrees Fahrenheit, extreme fatigue, cough, shortness of breath on exertion, and with a blood oxygen level (SpO2) below 94 per cent.

Can anyone directly book a room in a step-down hospital?

No. The patient has to be referred from the concerned hub hospital after medical evaluation and triaging done by a trained doctor. The patient should also have had routine investigations as per the state protocol, and a treatment prescription issued by the doctor is also mandatory.

Patients recovering with stabilised health parameters after Covid-19 treatment in a hospital can also be admitted for post-Covid care and monitoring.

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How are the prices capped?

The state government has fixed a maximum amount each step-down hospital can charge based on the type of hotel attached to it. While economy/budget hotels are allowed to charge a maximum of Rs 8,000 from a patient per day, the ceiling fixed for rooms in three-star and five-star hotels are Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 respectively.

Will food be provided to admitted patients?

Yes. Step-down hospitals have been directed to provide food to the patients at their bedside and at appropriate times while maintaining Covid-19 appropriate behavior. The authorities have been asked to promote a web-based ordering system to avoid unnecessary contact.

What facilities will be made available at a step-down hospital?

The Karnataka government has directed each hub hospital in charge of step-down hospitals to ensure one doctor is made available round-the-clock for every 50 patients on call. Meanwhile, one nurse should be deployed per 10 at the location to monitor and administer medications. A nursing aid will have to assist each nurse as well.

While a dedicated vehicle is mandatory to help nurses and ancillary staff commute to their places of residence at odd hours, an ambulance should be stationed 24 hours at the step-down hospital (with a driver) to help patients move to and from the hub hospital.

Will mental health of the patients be monitored?

Yes. Step-down hospitals have been asked to mandatorily appoint a physiotherapist to encourage periodic breathing exercises for patients admitted to the facility. A psychologist should also be on call from the hub hospital to address any counseling needs of the patients.

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