ESIC reserves 2152 hospital beds for coronavirus patients' treatment

Topics ESIC | Coronavirus | Lockdown

Doctors attend to a patient who had come for check-up at a fever hospital, set up in the wake of of COVID-19 outbreak, in Hyderabad. Photo: PTI
The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has reserved 2,152 hospital beds to treat coronavirus patients, according to an official statement released on Thursday.

The number forms around 10 per cent of the capacity at 21,931 hospital beds ESIC had till March 2018 (latest publicly available data).

The ESIC has dedicated eight of its hospitals for COVID-19 patients – two in Gujarat, one each in Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal that have 1,042 isolation beds in total. Only patients infected with the coronavirus will be treated here.

“In addition to above, around 1112 Isolation Beds have been made available in most of the remaining ESIC Hospitals across the country. Further, a total of 555 intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) beds with 197 ventilators have also been made available in these hospitals,” a press statement said.

Since these hospital beds were used to treat low-income workers mostly, the ESIC will ensure that they provide “alternative provision” for medical services from “tie-up hospitals.

Quarantine facilities to the capacity of 1,184 beds have also been made functional in ESIC hospitals in Alwar (Rajasthan), Bihta (Bihar), Gulbaraga (Karnataka) and Korba (Chhattisgarh).

In a bid to ease the hardship of the ESI beneficiaries, purchase of medicine has been allowed at private chemist shops during the lockdown period which the workers can get reimbursed from the ESIC.

The ESIC said it is making efforts to maintain adequate stock of mask and personal protective equipment kits.

The validity of ESIC medical benefit cards issued to differently-abled workers or retired persons have been extended till June 30, 2020 without the need to pay a lump-sum advance contribution of Rs 10 every month.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel