Representative Image (Source Unsplash)
Aiming to reduce the pressure on hospitals amidst a devastating second wave of the pandemic, hospitality firms such as Oyo, Treebo and Fab Hotels have converted their rooms into healthcare units equipped with oxygen concentrators, doctors and nurses to cater to non-critical COVID patients.
This happens at a time when hospitals in India have overrun their capacity with the tally of those affected by COVID-19 mounting to 2.49 crore and the death toll rising to 2.74 lakh.
While COVID is a deadly disease, according to experts around 90 percent of the patients who get infected are likely to get cured with proper medication and timely medical supervision.
Given the unpredictable nature of the virus, patients are also advised to take zero risk and immediately isolate themselves once they discover they are positive.
While people are isolating themselves at their homes, not many have this option given small living spaces, lack of caregivers and the fear of spreading the virus among vulnerable family members.
During this time of crisis, these hospitality firms have tied up with healthcare service providers to launch L1 health care facilities to cater to non-critical COVID patients.
The government has divided healthcare units into three categories -- L1, L2 and L3. While L1 is dedicated to non-critical patients, L2 and L3 are centres which will deal with more serious patients.
For instance, Softbank-backed Oyo has partnered with Lady Hardinge, Ambedkar and Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi, among others, to provide rooms with medical assistance to its corporate clients.
Rohit Kapoor, chief executive officer of Oyo INSEA told Moneycontrol: ``For mildly affected employees, we have isolation facilities with healthcare service providers. This includes 24x7 nurse care, on-demand pathology and pharmacy support, daily doctor visits and meals, among other services."
Treebo, on the other hand, has partnered with healthtech start-up, Meddo.
While Sidharth Gupta, co-founder at Treebo declined to comment, Meddo founder Saurabh Kocchar told Moneycontrol that so far 150 beds have been prepared, which will be offered free of cost to the patients.
People can register themselves at the facility and will only be required to pay for the overhead costs, such as medicines and pathological tests.
The initiative is being funded by Treebo and Meddo Foundation.
The companies have also partnered with online food delivery firm Swiggy, which is providing customised food to the patients through its private label brands, Kocchar said.
Rival Fab Hotel has also tied up with healthcare service providers like Portea, Burman Family-backed HealthCare atHOME and some local hospitals for its corporate clients.
Talking to Moneycontrol, Adarssh Mnpuria, co-founder of Fab Hotels said that at these facilities patients can concentrate purely on getting well without worrying about household chores.
So far it has set up this service with 350 beds across 10 facilities in Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Kolkata.
While Treebo's facilities are available for walk-in customers, Fab is offering the beds to the employees of its corporate clients.
According to Mnpuria, over 15 companies have tied up with them for this initiative. He, however, did not share names of the clients.
"The idea is to bridge the gap between home isolation and hospitalisation," he said.
At Fab an average cost of a bed amounts to Rs 5,000 per night, which includes accommodation, food, and medical assistance. Medication and diagnostics are charged based on actuals.
The basic criteria to get a bed in these facilities is to have a stable SPO2, preferably above 90, no comorbidities, and the patient in a conscious condition.
What happens in case of an emergency faced by an admitted patient?
The companies have on call ambulances, which can help the patients transfer from these centres to nearby hospitals. However, the availability of beds is something these hospitality firms cannot guarantee.
These firms are setting up this infrastructure at a time when their core business is witnessing a major slump. While Treebo is not charging anything from the patients for the stay, Oyo and Fab Hotels are.
However, the scale of these services is too small as compared to the overall businesses of the companies.
Therefore, while currently these streams may not be contributing enough to their dwindling revenues, there is scope, as and when the companies decide to expand on this facility.