These facilities will provide a level of care in-between Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and general wards.

A number of beds are arranged in a room all lit up for treatment of COVID-19 patientsImage for representation
news Coronavirus Saturday, April 24, 2021 - 09:20

The Karnataka government has allowed hotels and other similar accommodation facilities to use their premises to treat COVID-19 patients with moderate symptoms. These facilities are called ‘Step-Down hospitals’ or ‘Step-Down Units’ and will provide a level of care in-between Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and general wards. The government said that private hospitals can establish these units by collaborating with hotels and other accommodation facilities. The decision comes amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka.

“The responsibility of these centres would be to take care of the patients who shall be closely monitored, administered prescribed medications, conducting necessary investigations and supportive oxygen supplementation,” the notification stated.

For a private medical establishment to start such Step-Down Units in hotels and other accommodation facilities, they will be required to meet certain requirements stipulated by the government. Firstly, the medical establishment is required to have registered under KPME (Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act) and will have to inform about the arrangement of beds to concerned authorities. 

Further, the notification stipulated that the liability of running the centre would be on the hospital registered under the KPME Act. It requires the establishment to ensure that only COVID-19 patients, ordered treatment by the hospital, are admitted to a Step-Down Unit with due information to concerned authorities. The Step-Down Unit must be within 500 meters of an existing hospital caring for COVID-19 patients in case the person has to be transferred to the hospital.

Other facilities the government has mandated include fire safety protocols as per Central Fire Safety Guidelines, availability of medical staff at facility, tele-monitoring, adequate availability of all medical supplies, adequate training of staff, provision of appropriate diet, proper bio-medical waste disposal and 24x7 ambulance service.

The government has also capped the charges for such facilities based on categories which the establishments have to communicate to the patient in advance to prevent any future conflict. The government has capped the prices as follows.

> Economy/Budget – Rs 8,000

> 3 – Star- Rs 10,000

> 5 – Star – Rs 12,000

Additionally, the government has detailed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and other requirements necessary for the functioning of a Step-Down hospital.

Read: Priority vaccination for persons with disabilities: Karnataka HC seeks state’s response

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