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The Karnataka government has identified 418 private hospitals for COVID treatment in its preparation to deal with escalating cases, an official said on Thursday.

“Ab-Ark empanelled private hospitals for COVID…418. SAST online bed strength, 63,900,” said Health and Family Welfare Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey.

Among the identified beds, there are 4,467 ICU beds and 1,264 ventilators. Within the 63,900 beds, 6,418 are high patient flow beds while 10,465 have a regular flow.

The state government has directed all private hospitals with COVID treatment facilities to reserve 50 per cent capacity for public authorities to refer patients.

It has also capped the treatment cost of COVID patients in such facilities.

“The escalating number of persons infected by COVID and in need of treatment has made it imperative to involve private hospitals, corporate hospitals, nursing homes and others,” said Pandey.

Currently, most of the COVID cases are being treated in government hospitals which will now be augmented by the private facilities.

The Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) has been designated as the nodal agency to assess private hospital bed capacity and calculate the number of beds that will be requisitioned.

However, COVID patients referred to private hospitals by the public authorities will be treated for free as the government will bear that cost.

“For COVID patients referred by the PHIs to private healthcare providers, the cost of the treatment is completely free for the patient and the government will pick up the cost,” he said.

Meanwhile, exclusive ophthalmology and dental hospitals have been excluded from this order invoked under the National Disaster Management Act.

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