Private hospitals in Visakhapatnam, many of whom were reluctant to allocate too many beds for patients infected with the coronavirus, are changing plans as the demand for Covid beds continues to soar. Some hospitals, which a couple of months back had less than 10 beds for treating Covid-19 patients, are dedicating an entire building or several wings of their facilities to such cases. Officials of the hospitals said the change in stand was prompted by a growing realisation that they would now get only a few patients with other ailments.
Earlier the state government asked private hospitals to increase the number of beds. The hospitals were also asked to set up more satellite units for asymptomatic Covid patients or those with mild symptoms. Officials of a number of private several hospitals said they were earlier reluctant to add beds for Covid treatment because they were apprehensive that other patients would be scared away.
Before Covid-19 struck, 60 per cent of the indoor patients would have planned admissions, coming through the outpatient department. The rest were emergency admissions. Now, there are barely any planned admissions,” Subramanyam, PRO of Care Hospital in Ram Nagar said. The hospital trying to increase 50 more beds dedicated to Covid treatment following the state government’s request.
Earlier in the week, District Collector V Vinay Chand visited Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) and reviewed the situation with the health officials. Keeping the rising number of coronavirus cases in view, he instructed the officials concerned to make necessary arrangements to improving the bed strength from 548 to 750 and facilitate oxygen beds. At CSR block, Vinay Chand instructed the officials to ready 300 beds for occupation.
The special officer for Covid-19 of north-coastal AP Dr. P V Sudhakar said, “As cases are increasing, we will keep more private hospitals on standby. They should get ready to handle Covid-19 cases safely.” Apart from free-of-cost treatment at designated Covid hospitals, health officials are also planning to demarcate hospitals for various strata of society. “There are some patients who do not mind spending money but insist on having a single-occupancy cabin with television and privacy. For them, corporate hospitals can be roped in,” Dr Sudhakar informed.
The district administration is negotiating with a number of private hospitals and, if required, will either take over the hospitals or a few wings to accommodate more patients. If the government takes over the hospitals, the treatment is going to be free, as it comes under the Arogyasri scheme. As of now only one or two private hospitals have been approved by the government for treatment in the district.
“Earlier, hospitals were apprehensive about losing non-Covid patients. But over the past few months, mostly Covid patients are coming to get admitted. So, hospitals are increasing the number of beds for Covid treatment to remain viable, said Front office Manager of Pradhama Hospital.
“A large number of patients diagnosed with Covid are actually patients who came for other procedures…. Such patients come back for their procedures after recovering from Covid after two weeks or so. Moreover, a few non-Covid patients are not turning up for fear of contracting the virus,” said Venkatesh, Manager- Critical Care Unit of Seven Hills Hospital.
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