Private medical practitioners to be allowed to set up COVID-19 Care Centres

They will be allowed to treat mild cases of COVID-19

Private medical practitioners will be permitted to establish COVID-19 Care Centres (CCC) in hotels, hostels, private schools and other available buildings. The State Appropriate Authority/Clinical Establishments Act would treat such standalone CCCs as temporary clinical establishments without requiring registration up to a period of 60 days from the date of permission.

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased demand for healthcare services and in-patient care.

Considering the limited availability of oxygen-supported beds, the government has been ramping up facilities in all government hospitals. Since non-oxygen beds would be converted to oxygen beds for critical patients, a high-level committee advised the State Appropriate Authority, the Tamil Nadu Clinical Establishments Act (TNCEA), and the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services (DMS) to grant permission for private medical practitioners to establish CCCs with an undertaking to treat patients as per the guidelines issued by the government and manage biomedical waste generated as per the Bio Medical Management Act, the DMS said in a circular.

The Competent Authority, TNCEA and the Indian Medical Association have been requested to encourage private medical practitioners to establish CCCs.

Apply for permission

Those willing can apply for permission to the State Appropriate Authority, TNCEA and DMS in their letter head with an undertaking to treat patients as per the protocols, manage biomedical waste and submit reports to the respective authorities. Subject to need, permission would be extended from time to time.

Considering the demand for oxygen beds in the second wave of the pandemic, CCCs may establish oxygen facilities, deploy lifesaving equipment to provide healthcare services for mild and moderately ill patients. They are permitted to administer drugs and other lifesaving procedures, including delivery of oxygen through high flow nasal cannulas and continuous positive airway pressure. However, sale of drugs in these temporary facilities should be avoided as it requires statutory licensing. Instead, the patients may be charged at a reasonable package rate, depending on the severity of illness and the services offered.

Already, the DMS was authorised to grant permission to COVID-19 empanelled hospitals to start CCCs to treat asymptomatic patients. CCCs play a vital role in reducing the load at hospitals.

These hospitals were granted permission to establish CCCs in hotels, hostels and available private buildings, and also undertook the responsibility to accommodate critically ill patients in their own hospitals.

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