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'Divert non-Mumbaikars to jumbo Covid centres'

MUMBAI: Faced with a massive surge in active cases, civic authorities have asked the city’s major private hospitals to divert patients coming from Mumbai Metropolitan Region to jumbo Covid care centres. It has also asked the private hospitals to urgently discharge all asymptomatic positive patients if they are clinically stable.
BMC chief I S Chahal told the managements of private hospitals that the load of active cases has soared 50% since September 1 due to increased testing.


Sending patients from outside Mumbai to jumbo centres would be blatantly discriminatory. People from the MMR come to Mumbai’s private hospitals because of the absence of health infrastructure outside the city’s limits. A decision on admitting or not admitting patients must be based on their condition and availability of beds, not on the basis of where a patient lives.

Active cases in the city have increased to 30,316 on September 13 from 20,067 on September 1.
“It is requested that outstation patients may be diverted and asked to go to jumbo field hospitals for treatment and not be allotted Covid beds in private hospitals so as to ensure that the local citizens of Mumbai do not suffer due to non-availability of beds,” Chahal said in a text message to hospitals.
The head of a private hospital told TOI the commissioner’s diktat applied to 80% of beds which are under BMC’s control. “For the remaining 20%, we are free to admit anyone,” he said. Another hospital official said the BMC’s ward-level war rooms have not been allotting private hospital beds to MMR patients for a while now. “It’s discriminatory, no doubt, but the state and other MMR corporations are also to blame for not developing infrastructure for years,” he said. The commissioner added in his text the BMC will ensure people from outside Mumbai find a bed in the jumbo centres.With the bed situation getting acute, Chahal reiterated the allotment of 80% beds in private hospitals that are under the BMC’s control must happen through the ward war rooms. Of the 1,418 ICU beds, only 91 were available till Monday afternoon, of which just 27 were in private hospitals.
Joy Chakraborty, COO of Hinduja Hospital, though, said many patients who come from MMR don’t require a dedicated covid hospital (DCH). “The BMC communication essentially is to only admit patients who need DCH level of care in major hospitals and refer others to jumbos,” he said, adding no Indian citizen can be refused care anywhere. A member of the Association of Medical Consultants said the BMC was struggling with ICU beds since the closure of 72 nursing homes.
About discharging all asymptomatic positive patients, Dr V Ravishankar, COO of Lilavati Hospital, said the average duration of hospital stay anyway is five to six days for mild patients who are discharged after their clinical and biochemical parameters stabilize. “Sometimes, patients request for longer stay if their family members are quarantined or they have smaller homes,” he said.

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