Mandatory structural and fire audit of all Covid facilities; violators to be tried under the Epidemics and Disaster Management Acts
Geetanjali Minhas | March 30, 2021 | Mumbai
Straddled with the burgeoning cases in the city surpassing pervious numbers, Mumbai civic authorities on Monday sought to avoid chaos over allotment of beds and issued strict instructions to all government, municipal, private hospitals and nursing homes to admit Covid-19 positive patients through ward war rooms only.
The order has been given to reserve 80% of total Covid beds and 100% of ICU beds at private hospitals through ward war room only for allotment to Covid-19 patients. Hospitals have been barred to take direct admissions on these reserved beds.
‘‘The bed shall be booked when it is referred by ward war room and booked on priority when it is referred only by Shri Mahesh Narvekar, director, disaster management, central control room (9820702525) or Dr Gautam Bhansali, chief coordinator of private hospitals (981902445),” says the order.
A nodal officer for coordination of every hospital will be appointed and available 24x7. Additionally, all private hospitals with Covid-19 facilities will have to depute a round-the-clock dedicated nodal officer who will provide all information to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) through different reporting formats and applications developed by MCGM. Names, mobile numbers and email ids of these nodal officers will have to be shared by respective hospitals to MCGM.
All hospitals and facilities will have to activate maximum number of beds for Covid-19 positive patients and assistant commissioners (AC) of all wards shall take over possession of all the beds in the nursing homes and local hospitals for management of Covid-19 patients. If needed, the AC can deploy police personnel in the hospital/nursing home to facilitate the process.
As per the order, ACs can also deploy teachers or any other staff in all shift to ensure bed allotment by war room only in selected nursing homes and local hospitals.
Listing out the order of allotment of beds to patients by doctors in the ward war room, the circular says that hospital beds and ICU beds at the ward level in local nursing homes and local hospital have to be exhausted first followed by beds in ESIS hospital next, followed by hospital beds and ICU beds in private hospitals next, followed by beds available in various categories at jumbo field facility hospitals next, followed by beds of various categories available in government hospitals in Mumbai next, followed by beds of various categories available in MCGM hospitals in Mumbai.
“We will be making additional 2,269 Covid beds available to our citizens in private hospitals (including 360 ICUs) with immediate effect. This will be in addition to more than 3,000 beds currently vacant in Mumbai for Covid patients (including 450 beds currently vacant in private hospitals). We are also operationalising additional 1,500 beds in jumbo field hospitals this week to take vacant beds to approximately 7,000 by this weekend,” said municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal.
Asymptomatic Covid positive patients without any comorbidity will not be allotted Covid beds in any public or private hospital to ensure that needy have prompt availability of beds. The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has instructed for immediate discharge of any asymptomatic Covid positive patients admitted to any of the Covid hospitals in order to vacate beds.
“Discharge policy with respect to Covid-19 positive patients issued by MoHFW, Govt of India, and guidelines issued by ICMR will have to be followed by hospitals in letter and spirit. All hospitals are hereby directed to charge the patients as per rates notified under the Government of Maharashtra notification and all bills to be audited by municipal auditors deputed at these hospitals,” the BMC has said.
All Covid facilities have been told to check their oxygen supply systems ,ventilators etc and ensure proper and continuous supply of medical oxygen gas as per GoM notification and maintain adequate stock of medicines, PPE kits, masks, VTM kits etc. Orders for these have to be placed in advance to avoid shortage.
Notably, after a major fire and disaster in a Covid hospital last week in which 11 patients lost their lives, BMC has called for structural stability and fire audit of all Covid facilities with immediate effect.
The order has to be followed with immediate effect by all Covid-19 hospitals and any violation will be punishable under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Making an appeal for the system to be followed, Chahal warned, “No bed will be allotted directly to anyone by hospitals. All allotment of hospital beds shall be through ‘24 ward war rooms only’ and therefore no one should try to procure positive Covid report directly from testing labs; otherwise they will find it difficult to get bed anywhere. Let the name come to us in our line list from labs at midnight and we will go to their homes with beds early next morning as we are doing since last June.”
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