COVID-19: Govt revises policy for admission of patients in hospitals, says positive test not required

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Amid a record surge in coronavirus cases, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday revised the national policy for admission of COVID patients to various categories of COVID facilities and clarified that the requirement of a positive test for the COVID-19 virus is not mandatory for admission to a COVID health facility.

The ministry said a suspect case shall be admitted to the suspect ward of Covid Care Centers (CCC)/Dedicated Covid Health Centers (DCHC) and Dedicated Covid Hospitals (DCH) as the case may be.

As per the Union Government directive to all States and UTs, hospitals under the Central Government, State Governments and Union Territory administration including private hospitals (in States and Union Territories) managing COVID patients shall ensure that no patient will be refused services on any count that includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city.

No patient shall be refused admission on the ground that he/she is not able to produce a valid identity card that does not belong to the city where the hospital is located, said the ministry.

The Health Ministry also said that admissions to the hospital must be based on need and it should be ensured that beds are not occupied by persons who do not need hospitalization. It said that the discharge should be strictly per its revised discharge policy.

The Union Health Ministry has advised the Chief Secretaries of States/Union territories to issue necessary orders and circulars, incorporating the above directions within three days, which shall be enforced till replaced by an appropriate uniform policy.

It had earlier enunciated a policy of setting up a three-tier health infrastructure for appropriate management of suspect/confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The guidance document issued in this regard on April 7, 2020, envisages setting up of COVID Care Center (CCC) that shall offer care for mild cases, said the ministry adding that these have been set up in hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums, lodges, both public and private.

Functional hospitals which may be handling regular, non-COVID cases may also be designated as COVID Care Centres as a last resort, it said.

The ministry further stated that the dedicated COVID Health Centre (DCHC) that shall offer care for all cases that have been clinically assigned as moderate, adding that these should either be a full hospital or a separate block in a hospital with preferably separate entry/exit/zoning.

“Private hospitals may also be designated as COVID Dedicated Health Centres. These hospitals would have beds with assured Oxygen support, it said, adding that dedicated COVID Hospital (DCH) that shall offer comprehensive care primarily for those who have been clinically assigned as severe,” the ministry said.

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