22 nursing homes and hospitals, including the state-run St George Hospital, were not updating the BMC dashboard regularly, says BMC.

The BMC has issued notices to 22 nursing homes and hospitals, including the state-run St George Hospital, for failing to update the position of vacant Covid-19 beds on the civic dashboard.

According to BMC officials, 21 of the smaller nursing homes, which were recently allowed to readmit Covid-19 patients, were not updating the position of vacant beds on the BMC’s dashboard for days together. Together, these 22 nursing homes and hospitals have 400 beds and 150 ICU beds, which were out of the BMC’s loop.

BMC officials said that apart from St George Hospital, the hospitals that have been issued notices include Andheri’s BSES Hospital, Guru Nanak Hospital, Balaji Hospital, Apex Hospital and Zenith Hospital. “We expect that all Covid-19 hospitals update the position of vacant beds in real time. If smaller hospitals cannot update in real time, they can do it once in two hours. But these hospitals were not updating the dashboard for days together. Because of this, when we advised patients to go to the hospitals seeing the vacant bed position, patients would go and find out that beds were actually occupied,” said a senior civic official.

The BMC had in May launched an integrated dashboard of vacant Covid-19 beds in public and private hospitals which was to be updated in real time. “The dashboard and bed position must be updated in real time otherwise the whole purpose is defeated. If they don’t upload the data in time now, stern action will be taken and we will de-list them from being designated Covid-19 hospitals,” the official said.

“We have issued notices to 22 of these nursing homes and hospitals since they were not updating the dashboard. We have now appointed six BMC staffers at these hospitals, two per shift. They will monitor every single admission and discharge. They will ensure that the dashboard is updated in real time. We don’t have any dashboard problems with the 33 major hospitals but the smaller hospitals were not updating the dashboard,” Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Chahal said.

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Chahal added that hospitals have also been instructed to follow the ICMR discharge policy. “If a patient tests negative after the 8th day, then he or she must be discharged and will not be allowed to remain in the hospital. They can move to the BMC’s CCC1 centres for quarantine if required,” Chahal said. “All hospitals will have to take admissions only through the ward war rooms of the BMC. They will not be allowed to admit any patients directly,” Chahal added.

Dr Aakash Khobragade, Medical Superintendent of St George Hospital, said that the hospital was yet to receive the notice from BMC. “We have a dedicated nodal officer who is a doctor for updating data on the BMC dashboard. We update the dashboard every day without fail. The BMC had appointed two data entry operators but they have recently been withdrawn. There is no delay from our end for updating the dashboard at all. We are diligent in updating the dashboard.”

With top private hospitals in the city reporting a waiting list of 15-20 patients for ICU and oxygen supported (O2) beds, the BMC had recently allowed 27 of the 73 smaller private hospitals to re start admitting Covid-19 patients which were earlier barred from admitting Covid-19 patients.

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Mumbai Mirror had over the last three weeks reported about the shortage of ICU beds and a scramble to find ICU beds across the city as the BMC had earlier barred nursing homes and maternity homes in the city from admitting Covid-19 patients.

This followed multiple discussions between municipal officials, the stateappointed Covid-19 Task Force, and top private hospitals pointing to these small privately run facilities being largely responsible for the city’s high death rate. The BMC diktat covered 73 nursing homes. According to a death audit, private hospitals had seen 41 per cent of the city’s total Covid-19 death till mid-August.

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