- 100-bed facility set up by converting a guest house
- Facility for positive COVID-19 patients who need to be isolated
- Each patient needs to stay in isolation for 15 days
- Estimated costs between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore over a two-month period
- Initiative backed by Infosys Foundation; equipment, nursing support by Narayana Health
- About 8-10 per cent may need ICU support; depending on numbers, financial assistance could be considered
At as time when leading hospital chains and hospitality players are coming together to launch isolation facilities for coronavirus patients, Narayana Health, backed by Infosys Foundation, has launched a free quarantine facility for them.
"It is ready now and is in our Health City premises in Bengaluru and is free and the patient does not pay any money," Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, chairman of Narayana Health and cardiologist, told Business Today. "We have taken over a guest house with 100 beds, each room with attached toilet. It is being done in association with Infosys Foundation. This is because we expect a huge number of patients coming to government hospitals. Essentially, we are looking at a model wherein if there are too many patients, how do you accommodate them and about 80 per cent of them do not need hospitalisation. But then, they cannot also be sent back to the community as they will end up spreading the virus. They need to be kept in isolation for 15 days."
Narayana Health will provide all the equipment for the facility, including pulse oximeter and thermometers. The quarantine facility will be monitored on a regular basis by Narayana Health nurses. Typically, out of 100 patients, perhaps 8 or 10 may need aggressive care and these would be admitted into the ICU at Narayana Health hospital. The facility is ready and currently open though it has as yet not got any patients.
This initiative, which does not cost the patients anything till the isolation stage, is also expensive considering that there are expenses of equipment, medicines (even if only Paracetamol at the moment) and the cost of personal protective equipments (PPEs) that those attending on the patients need to wear. PPEs alone are quite expensive, each set being sold by some suppliers for as much as Rs 1,800.
Dr Shetty said options are being explored on what we can be done to handle the costs for the 10 per cent of patients who may need aggressive treatment and ICU. "If they need hospitalisation, even then, we will try to organise something and organise financial assistance for them too," he said.
If the numbers are small, Dr Shetty is confident that they can bear the costs themselves but if the numbers grow, they may have to look for outside help to deal with the costs. This is driven by the fear, says the doctor, that there may be significant number of people who may not be able to afford so we thought we will offer it free. Each patient will stay for about 15 days, and over the course of two months, it will cost between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore.