May 9, 2021

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Real-time involvement of private hospitals in Bengaluru in bed availability


Searching for beds for Covid-19 patients in private hospitals in Bengaluru may become less complicated this week, with all private hospitals and the Nursing Home Association (Phana) preparing to launch a bed availability portal.

The portal will provide real-time information about the list of private hospitals, availability of beds in each hospital, location, and contact person in charge of managing beds. “The dashboard will save a lot of time for people looking for beds. If they see an available bed at the gate, they can call the hospital and close the bed immediately,” Phana HM Prasanna president told ET.

As per the mandate of the state government, private hospitals are supposed to reserve half of their beds for Covid-19 patients admitted through Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. The government reimburses the cost of treatment for this category of patients. These government quota beds can be tracked in real time on the BBMP Central Hospital Bed Management portal. But what was missing so far is the information regarding the availability of oxygen, the intensive care unit and the ventilator beds, in light of a special quota in private hospitals. Patients admitted directly under the quota system must either pay for their treatment out of their pocket or use their own medical insurance.

The lack of information about private quota beds has forced people to visit numerous hospitals or make desperate calls asking for beds. The state accused private hospitals of not being transparent in sharing data. Although the government was mandated to put in place a board displaying the number of occupied beds available at the hospital entrance, most hospitals did not comply. The new system is likely to bring transparency.

Nearly 400 private hospitals in the city are treating Covid-19 patients. Prasana said about 240 hospitals have already joined it to share live data. Although it was initially decided to make registration on the portal voluntary, it is expected that the state government will issue an order on Monday making participation compulsory.

“We will issue an order making all hospitals in Bengaluru registered under the Karnataka Private Medical Corporation Act to compel us to share information on the Phana portal,” the state health official said. The Hospital Association said it would receive a call to expand these facilities to other parts of the state based on the situation.