All 95 private hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in Dakshina Kannada will be empanelled under the Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka (AB-ArK) scheme so that patients can get free treatment, said Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra recently.
Speaking at an interaction with councillors here, Dr. Rajendra said so far 12 hospitals, including eight private medical colleges, were empanelled under the scheme. “Instead of seeking an application, we have decided to grant deemed approval for empanelling all hospitals, which are registered under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act and treating COVID-19 patients,” he said. Notices are being issued to these hospitals to complete the empanelling formalities, he added.
The DC said the government was ready to bear all treatment cost. So far the State government had paid ₹2 crore towards 1,800 patients in the district.
“Patients should bear in mind the scheme applies when the treatment is in a general ward and not those who are in special and other wards,” he said.
While asking hospitals to do pre-confirmatory tests only if needed, Dr. Rajendra advised hospitals to look at other health packages to lessen the burden of patients who are treated for other ailments.
Earlier, District in-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary said it was mandatory for all hospitals in the district to get empanelled under the AB-ArK scheme in a week.
Complaints of overcharging will be probed and if they were found to be true, necessary action would be taken, he said.
To another question, Dr. Rajendra said as the district receives patients from across the State, it was difficult to arrange online availability of beds in hospitals.
District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy said that presently sufficient beds were available in Wenlock and other hospitals. The district also has sufficient stock of Remidesivir injection, he said.
Dr. Rajendra said as more cases were coming from the Mangaluru City Corporation areas, ward-level committees are being involved in tracking and testing suspected and vulnerable people.
As many as 30 mobile testing vehicles are being used to collect throat and nasal swabs, he said.
Physician Hansraj Alva expressed concern over the lack of seriousness in wearing of masks, while IMA president Annaiah Kulal said doctors are facing problem in uploading information about Influenza-like Illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness.
Plasma therapy centre shortly at Wenlock
The convalescent plasma therapy centre will start functioning at the Government Wenlock Hospital by the end of September, said Dr. Rajendra.
Dr. Rajendra said that the equipment necessary for extracting plasma and testing have been ordered. “As this is a costly therapy, we need the government’s approval. We expect the centre be functional by September end,” he added.
Presently one such centre was functional at K.S. Hedge Hospital, Deralakatte.
Hospital’s COVID-19 coordinator Sandeep Rai said the therapy would be useful if done within six days of the infection. Each vial of plasma costs ₹9,500 and it has been successfully given to 50 patients.