Bel Air was founded by Dr. Rustomji B. Billimoria in 1912 as a T.B. Sanatorium. Dr.Billimoria transferred Bel-Air to Indian Red Cross Society, Maharashtra State Branch in 1964. It is a 200 bedded hospital consisting of 58 heritage bungalows now.
Bel-Air stands on the sprawling 44 acre campus in Panchgani, which was gifted by Sir Dorabji Tata in 1914. Its decline in 1970s and the dramatic rise from the ruins is history.
In 1994 the Hospital enlarged its mission to address the challenges brought about by HIV/AIDS. This was at a time when hospitals were refusing to admit them, Government had no program and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) was not available. Families abandoned patients and dead bodies were not even claimed due to the high level of stigma and discrimination.
Bel-Air pioneered the treatment and care of HIV/AIDS patients in India and is today recognized as one of the best treatment centers in the country. Bel-Air has treated more than twenty five thousand HIV/AIDS patients to date. The visit of Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, as the President of India, in 2003 was a stamp of approval on the work of Bel-Air. Fr.Tomy K MCBS, Director, Bel-Air Hospital was first appointed as the Civil Society representative to CCM( Country Coordinating Mechanism) of UN-GFATM (Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria) and later as the Chairperson of TRG(Technical Resource Group) for Community Care Centres in NACO for 2 terms
With TB making a resurgence in India, Bel-Air started Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB patients. As part of the RNTCP Bel-Air is running a TB Unit and DR TB Center for Government of Maharashtra.
Bel-Air Hospital was awarded the Times of India Healthcare Achievers Award 2014 for being the best in India in the category of "Innovation in Managing Long-term Conditions”.
Another attraction in this campus is the Nursing College, which is the recognised as one of best in India. The college has collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia University, New York. Bel-Air nurses are placed in several reputed hospitals like Mumbai like Breach Candy. College website: www.belaircollegeofnursing.org.
Simultaneously, a 2-year Nursing Training Program for Midwives, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson is being conducted for 60 poor rural girls.
Having noted the high standards of patient care and treatment set by Bel-Air, Government of Maharashtra handed over Rural Hospital in Mahabaleshwar and two Primary Health Centers along with fourteen sub centers covering 123 villages. Recently the Governor of Maharashtra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshiyari (who is also the President of Indian Red Cross Society, Maharashtra State Branch) visited Bel Air. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Uddhav Thackeray visited Mahabaleshwar Rural Hospital and noted his satisfaction in the work of Red Cross through Bel-Air. Today the two PHCs under Bel-Air are the top performers in the District.