Representative image. (Image: Reuters)
The Centre on May 8 revised the national policy for admission of COVID-19 patients in the dedicated medical facilities. As per the new guidelines, a positive test report and a valid identity card belonging to the city where the hospital is based are not required to get admitted. The policy also prohibits the dedicated-COVID hospitals from refusing services to patients on "any count".
Here are the key points of the new hospital admission policy for COVID-19 patients:
Positive test report not mandatory
"Requirement of a positive test for COVID-19 virus is not mandatory for admission to a COVID health facility," the Union Health Ministry said.
The decision comes amid a sharp spike in virus transmission rate across the country, which has stressed the labs conducting the RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests. Furthermore, experts are also claiming that the mutated coronavirus requires CT scan to be detected in certain cases.
ID card norm clarified
"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," the statement issued by the Health Ministry noted.
The order comes as a relief for COVID-19 patients who do not have an ID card registered in the city where they are currently based, or have moved to another city for treatment.
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No refusal on any count
"No patient will be refused services on any count. This includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city," the Health Ministry clarified.
When will the policy come into effect?
The new policy would be implemented by May 11. The Centre has advised the chief secretaries of states and 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, the official statement noted.
Where can the suspected COVID-19 patients - without test reports - can get admitted?
"A suspect case shall be admitted to the suspect ward of CCC (COVID Care Centre), DCHC (Dedicated COVID Health Centre) or DHC (Dedicated COVID Hospital) as the case may be," the revised policy stated.
As per the Centre's guidelines, the CCCs have been set up to admit patients with mild symptoms. Such facilities have been set up in hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums, lodges, etc. in both the public and private sector.
Those showing moderate COVID-19 symptoms can be admitted to DCHCs, which are either a full hospital or a separate block in a hospital with preferably separate entry and exit. These hospitals would have beds with assured oxygen support.
Patients who have been clinically assigned as severe are required to be admitted to the DCH. These hospitals would have fully equipped ICUs, ventilators and beds with assured oxygen support.