COVID-19: Bed blocking protocol modified, circular issued

Nearly 70% of beds in government hospitals and government medical hospitals reserved for COVID-19 patients now remain unoccupied. While occupancy is 30% in government hospitals, it is even lower — 27% — in government medical hospitals.

Over the past few weeks, the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those hospitalised has declined, as has the total number of cases.

This being the scenario, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) bed blocking will be allowed first only in government medical establishments, and only after it reaches 90% occupancy (in government run facilities), in private facilities.

A circular to this effect has been issued by BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, who is also the chairperson of the COVID-19 Patient Shifting Taskforce. This is to reorient the focus on bed blocking towards government hospitals and government medical colleges, HDU (high dependency units) and general beds at private hospitals.

The circular states that all bed blocking for COVID-19 positive cases taken up by the zonal command and control centres using the Centralised Hospital Bed Management System (CHBMS) portal for general and HDU beds will now be restricted to government hospitals and government medical colleges. This will be followed until the general and HDU bed availability at government-run facilities fall below 10%. This applies to patients from other districts seeking admission in city hospitals, where the bed blocking is done at BBMP super user level.

It is only when the bed occupancy at government hospitals and government medical colleges reaches 90% that CHBMS will release beds in private facilities for the zonal command and control centres to block the same.

The circular added that ICU and ICU-ventilator beds will also be preferably provided at government-run facilities. However, in exceptionally critical cases, where the nearest facility needs to be provided or specialised critical care of the patient mandates specific private facility admission, the ICU/ ICU-ventilator beds in private facilities could be considered.

Stating that this would be implemented with immediate effect, the circular added that CHBMS would continuously track the bed occupancy status and keep making beds available across hospitals in the city, as per the new protocol.

Earlier, to ensure bed availability for all COVID-19 positive patients, the Department of Health and Family Welfare had made it compulsory to reserve 50% of beds in private medical facilities in the city for patients referred by BBMP or government. Show cause notices were also issued to private hospitals that had failed to allocate 50% of the total beds in their facilities.

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