Amid an alarming eruption of COVID-19 cases across India, the Union government revised its pandemic guidelines stating that it is ‘Not Mandatory’ to have a Covid positive test report to get admitted in a Covid hospital or health care facility. The Union Health Ministry on Saturday announced a revised national policy for admission of COVID-19 patients to COVID facilities to ensure they get "prompt, effective and comprehensive treatment."
As per the ministry, henceforth requirement of a positive test for COVID-19 virus is not mandatory for admission to a COVID health facility. It also said that a suspect case of COVID-19 shall be admitted to the suspect ward of Covid Care Centre (CCC), Dedicated COVID Health Centre (DCHC) or dedicated COVID Hospital (DHC) as the case may be.
"No patient shall be refused services on any count. This includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city." it added.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in a tweet said: ‘’ A significant directive has been issued to all States and UTs to ensure prompt, effective and comprehensive treatment of #COVID 19 patients #COVID 19 positive test report NOT mandatory to get admitted at COVID health facility.’’
The Centre’s revised policy was released on a day when India reported 4,01,078 new Covid-19 cases and 4,187 deaths linked to coronavirus complications. The Health Ministry in a statement noted that the Chief Secretaries of all states and union territories are required to incorporate the revised policy within three days which shall be enforced till replaced by an appropriate uniform policy.
According to the policy, 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. Admissions to a hospital must be based on need. It should be ensured that beds are not occupied by persons who do not need hospitalisation. Further, the discharge should be strictly in accordance with the revised discharge policy.
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 DCHC 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 DCH shall offer comprehensive care primarily for those who have been clinically assigned as severe," the ministry said.