Coronavirus in Mumbai: BMC to implement new system of reporting death cases by July 1

Mumbai: In order to fast track the reporting of Covid-19 death cases in the city and simplify the process, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to implement a new system of reporting death cases from July 1. The move comes after the civic body was compelled to reconcile the total number of deaths occurred in the city in the last few weeks after finding gaps in reporting of fatalities by hospitals.

Through a circular issued on Friday, the civic body has asked all the private, civic and state-run hospitals under its jurisdiction to appoint a contact person or nodal officer from their respective hospitals, who will ensure death cases are reported within 48 hours.

"The BMC is expected to report deaths of all Covid-19 positive patients following the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines. Over the last few weeks, we had to reconcile the deaths shared by the hospitals and found a gap in reporting. Which is a very serious issue. This gap happened due to delays in reporting deaths to the civic administration, delays in sending death summaries, same death summaries being sent multiple times, issues in quality of data – multiple fields missing etc. As a result, we have decided to simplify the process for reporting of deaths with stringent controls on timeliness and data quality," said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Corporation of BMC.

Earlier this month, a data reconciliation exercise by the BMC and Maharashtra government led to the revelation of as many as 862 old deaths due to Covid19 in Mumbai and 466 old deaths from the rest of the state (total 1328 deaths).

Since then the civic body has issued multi notices to all hospitals asking them to adhere to the 48-hour timeline of reporting deaths due to Covid-19. Hospitals have been warned that in case of failure to follow these instructions, a serious note will be taken by the civic body and action under Epidemic Act 1897 will be initiated against the management.

Government of India has issued mandatory directions for reporting of deaths of Covid-19 positive cases within 48 hours of occurrence. Accordingly, instructions were issued to report deaths within 48 hours.

The civic body has issued a final warning to the hospitals to report pending death cases latest by June 27 or face action.

Meanwhile, the new process which will come into effect from July 1 expects all hospitals to maintain a line list of patients and update their line list on a regular basis, through an online Excel sheet. Hospitals are expected to notify BMC by marking status as “Death” within 24 hrs of the patient’s death.

Within 48 hours since the patient’s death due to Covid-19, it is mandatory for the hospitals to share the “Death Summary” of the patients in the prescribed format with the civic Epidemic Cell, the circular stated.

"Earlier, this used to be typed out, scanned and emailed. However, in the new system, hospitals will be given access to a Google Form where they will have to fill in the relevant fields for death summary. This will also replace the old email system," Kakani said.

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