April 3, 2020

Health Ministry has 3,300 mechanical ventilators available for the COVID-19 health emergency

Health Ministry has 3,300 mechanical ventilators available for the COVID-19 health emergency
In the context of coordinating the public-private healthcare network in operation as of today, the Health Care Networks Undersecretary, Arturo Zúñiga, visited the Indisa Clinic in Santiago this morning.

“As of today, Chile’s private healthcare providers and all their beds have become part of this network, making it possible to hospitalize a patient as needed, regardless of what healthcare insurance cover he or she has,” explained Health Care Networks Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga.

As of today, all the clinics and hospitals belonging to employers’ insurance organizations, universities, the armed forces, and foundations, form part of the public healthcare network system.

“This will be the case in every center in the country. The management of the clinics remains the same but the coordination has passed with immediate effect to the Health Service in the areas where they are located,” the Undersecretary stated.

In the case of Clinica Indisa, Undersecretary Zúñiga said that the center had early on implemented the guidelines provided by the Healthcare Networks Undersecretary’s Office as regards “separating emergency cases where patients have respiratory diseases from those with other diseases. They have a protocol for the use of personal protection elements that is identical to that proposed by the Health Ministry and which as of today will apply to the public and private system.”

Rodrigo Castillo, the medical director of Clínica Indisa, said, “given the situation, we are going through, our clinic decided a couple of weeks ago - and now it has been decreed - to become part of the national network that will address COVID-19. We have put our entire capacity at the disposal of the Health Ministry. We report to the Director of the Eastern Health Service” of the Metropolitan Region.


During his visit, Undersecretary Zúñiga said that the health sector has 3,300 mechanical ventilators available. “Normally, the public and private network have 1,229 beds with mechanical ventilators. The Government, through the Health Ministry, has bought 793 mechanical ventilators, including transport ventilators. This is in addition to the over 500 anesthesia machines that will be used to give mechanical ventilation to patients, the over 300 pediatric ventilators that can be converted into mechanical ventilators for adults, plus the reconversion that private providers are implementing. Thus we reach the figure of 3,300 mechanical ventilators,” he said.

He also clarified what powers the public-private coordination will have, “we can make use of any mechanical ventilator in any healthcare facility in Chile to support another.”

Hospital beds

Referring to the number of hospital beds, the Undersecretary said that “the public system has 27,000 beds, 11,000 in the private sector. In addition, there are the 4,000 extra beds that we have made available in the public network because of the start-up of 5 hospitals and add the more than 800 beds that we have made available in Huechuraba, 500 beds through buying a modular hospital and the field hospitals, as well as the reconversion we do every year for the Winter Campaign.”