The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has issued notices to 66 hospitals in Bengaluru for failing to reserve 50% of beds for government-referred COVID-19 patients as per a notification issued earlier this month. The list of hospitals that received notices included reputed hospitals like Manipal Hospital, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Apollo, Fortis (Bannerghatta, Nagarbhavi, Rajajinagar), among others.
This comes three days after BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta made surprise visits to five private hospitals across the city on Sunday to inspect whether 50% of beds were being reserved for COVID-19 patients as per the governmentâ€™s notification. After the inspection, show-cause notices were issued to five hospitals - Aster CMI, Columbia Asia, Baptist Hospital, Fortis and Vikram Hospital - and the administrators in these hospitals were given 48 hours to explain why they had failed to comply with the governmentâ€™s order.
The state government had on April 7 issued a notification asking private hospitals to set aside 50% of its beds for government-referred COVID-19 patients.
As per the governmentâ€™s notification, the price for COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals under the government quota varies between Rs 5,200 and Rs 10,000 per day. The price is higher for patients who seek treatment in private hospitals on their own.
The private hospitals responded to the notice stating that necessary measures will be taken. However, they have also said that they require more time as they are handling non-COVID-19 patients at present.
Vikram Hospital in a letter said, â€śUnlike the period of previous surge of COVID-19 cases in the year 2020, this phase we notice that our care towards non-COVID-19 medical patients continues in significant numbers.â€ť
The hospital administration promised to allot two ICU ventilator beds, four ICU beds, ten HDU beds and 14 general beds for government-referred COVID-19 patients by April 26. During the surprise visit, the BBMP Commissioner had found that the hospital had only allotted one ICU ventilator bed, five HDU beds and four general beds for government-referred COVID-19 patients.
Similarly, other hospitals also promised to increase the allocation of beds for government-referred COVID-19 patients in the coming days.
The Bangalore Baptist Hospital stated that they have a large number of deliveries, dialysis and chemotherapy patients and hence, could not allocate the total number of mandated beds for government-referred patients immediately.
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar, while addressing reporters on Wednesday, said that 2,000 more beds will be arranged in the Intensive Care Units of hospitals. On Thursday, Sudhakar said that private hospitals with a capacity of more than 30 patients will be notified to allocate 80% of the beds to government-referred COVID-19 patients.