Why BMC is turning 4 and 5 star hotels to Covid care centres

In a bid to declog beds of private hospitals from patients who do not need hospitalization the Mumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday announced that it will be converting four and five star hotels in to covid care centres or ‘step down facilities’. The move according to BMC officials has been necessitated as private hospitals have been filling in patients who according to the BMC’s own admission ‘beds in private hospitals are occupied by patients that do not require medical intervention; such patients can be adequately managed at isolation facilities or step down facilities’.

Mumbai till a few days back was adding close to 10,000 cases per day and BMC officials said that the really sick patients were not getting admission in private hospitals as the beds in private hospitals were already occupied by people who were covid positive but did not require medical intervention. A BMC official explained that the oxygen levels and other parameters of patients in private hospitals were normal yet these patients were getting themselves to private hospitals creating problems for the really sick ones who needed beds.

The BMC is now saying that they along with the private hospitals would identify four and five star hotels, having minimum of 20 rooms and then convert them in to a ‘step down facility’ (one rung lower than a hospital). The BMC has said that those who do not require oxgen, ICU or ventilators in private hospitals to be shifted to these step down centres. The protocol for shifting these patients is such that the treating physician will ‘approve and certify the transfers. These patients will then be provided round the clock hospitilisation and care by the hospital. The BMC has even fixed the fare for this treatment at Rs 4000 per day including meals that would be paid to the Hotel. Hospitals will be allowed to charge patients ‘extra’ for medical expenses, doctor visits and other incidental charges.

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BMC officials said that this would be a win win for everyone involved as private hospitals have been minting money by giving admission to patients who would be okay even with home isolation. “ These patients can go to the four or five star hotel and get the same services from the Hospital. It benefits the city as we get more beds for those who genuine deserve a bed,” said an official.

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