Ghaziabad admin can reserve up to 50% beds in private Covid hospitals, says state govt
Ghaziabad: The Uttar Pradesh government, in an order issued on Saturday, mandated that in case of shortage of L2 and L3 beds, the Ghaziabad administration can reserve up to 50% of the number of beds in private Covid-19 hospitals in the city for treatment at rates prescribed under Ayushman Bharat Scheme. State officials stated that the decision was taken as several government hospitals across districts in the state are facing a shortage of beds while beds in private facilities are lying vacant.
Covid hospitals in UP were divided into three categories – L1, L2 and L3 – as part of the state government’s three-tier structure coronavirus. While L1 hospitals are meant for asymptomatic patients, L2 hospitals treat patients having moderate symptoms and L3 category hospitals are for Covid patients with severe symptoms.
Confirming the order, Ghaziabad district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said he will hold a meeting with private hospitals to apprise them of the development.
“The state government order means that the district will now have more L2 and L3 category beds available for patients. The rates will be charged as per the prescribed rates under the Ayushman Bharat Yojna and will be paid to the hospitals by the government. Patients who get referred to these reserved beds from government facilities will not be charged,” said Pandey.
In Ghaziabad, there are 598 beds across 10 private hospitals that offer paid Covid-19 treatment on the basis of rates fixed by the state government on July 10. The government had capped the prices for Covid-19 beds between ₹8,000 to ₹15,000 per day.
Under the Ayushman scheme, the cost of a general-ward bed is ₹1,800 per day, that for a high dependency unit is ₹2,700 per day. The cost of beds without ventilators has been fixed at ₹3,600 per day while those with ventilators are fixed at ₹4,500 per day.
Till August 29, a total of 2,463 patients were admitted in paid private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh.
At present, the district has 376 L2 category beds and another 200 L3 category beds available in government or government-acquired facilities. Of the 598 beds available in private Covid hospitals, 278 were occupied by paying Covid patients till August 29.
“Till now, we have reserved only 19 ICU beds, out of the 598. As per the new order we can now reserve up to 50% in case we face shortage of L2 or L3 beds in our facilities. This will help our patients who are in government facilities. The patients referred from our hospitals will get treatment free of cost and the government rates will be paid from government funds,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer of Ghaziabad.
“Since a majority of asymptomatic patients are now in home isolation, our L1 hospitals have almost shut down with only one being operational at present. The 50% reservation of beds in private hospitals would mean that we have about 300 more L2 or L3 beds available for our patients in case of need,” Dr Gupta, added.
Dr Ashok Rai, president of the Indian Medical Association (Uttar Pradesh) said that they have not received the order as of now and will be able to comment once it is received.
Meanwhile, private hospitals raised concerns about operational costs and availability of beds to handover to the admin.
“It is not the case that beds remain vacant in private hospitals. The administration has already reserved some beds in the ICU ward and we have treated patients free of cost. If the administration asks for more beds we will allow in present circumstances due to pandemic. We have about 70-80% occupancy,” said Dr Mahesh Chaudhary, director (operations), Navin Hospital at Vaishali.
“We have a limited number of ICU beds and if we part with 50% of them, how will we take out our operational cost. We have limited infrastructure and staff. There are issues in getting staff also. We are already working on rates given to us for paid Covid treatment. If they want more beds they must allow some concessions. Otherwise, giving away beds will not be feasible. Out of 100, we have 30 beds operational and the present occupancy is about 50% at present,” said Dr Manoj Singh, director of Flores Hospital at Pratap Vihar.