With Covid cases rising rapidly, the civic corporation has reiterated the need to streamline hospital bed allocation through its war room. It will now follow a hierarchical order to fill up nursing homes in each area before assigning cases to larger facilities. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the state has instituted an 80:20 rule which allows local administrations to oversee the handling of up to 80% of the bed capacity in private hospitals. The remaining 20% are at the hospital’s own discretion.
BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, issuing a circular on Monday, also reinforced the policy to keep asymptomatic Covid patients who have no co-morbidities at home, to ensure prompt availability of beds to the needy. The note said hospitals should urgently discharge asymptomatic Covid patients in order to keeps beds handy for the seriously ill.
Chahal said despite orders that allotment of beds for Covid patients should be done through the centralised ward war room mechanism, patients are being directly admitted by hospitals without intimation to authorities.
Defining protocols for allotting beds, his note said initially beds at the ward level in nursing homes and hospitals need to be exhausted before the war rooms looks at ESIS hospitals as a second option. In case of both options not yielding a vacant slot, beds in private hospitals must be the go-to option. Finally, if all else fails, beds in various jumbo field hospitals like those at Mulund, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) or SevenHills would be the back-up. And in case, beds are not available in these facilities either, then apex government and BMC hospitals will be a final recourse.
A ward level official said looking at the surge in Covid cases, they have already started reserving beds once again in private hospitals; orders have been issued to empower assistant commissioners of every ward. The officer may deploy police or other staff including BMC teachers in selected nursing homes to facilitate this process.
In the wake of the fire at Sunrise Hospital in Bhandup that killed nine patients, Chahal said structural stability and fire audit of all Covid facilities needs to be undertaken with immediate effect.