Bengaluru is grappling with over 5,500 active COVID-19 cases, but the city's residents are facing hurdles in finding hospitals with beds allocated for patients who test positive for the coronavirus.
On June 20, the Karnataka Health Department released a list of government and private hospitals, identifying them as designated healthcare centres for COVID-19 cases.
But TNM found that multiple private hospitals listed by the state government on the Arogya Karnataka Scheme website (https://arogya.karnataka.gov.in/) are not admitting COVID-19 patients.
This has caused confusion among people desperately looking for hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in the city.
“When we called (phone numbers) on the list of designated private hospitals, some said they don't have a bed. Some said they don't even know why they are listed,” a family member of a COVID-19 patient told TNM.
The website's annexure of COVID-19 designated hospitals mentions the names, addresses and contact numbers of 410 private hospitals in Karnataka. 38 hospitals among those listed are in Bengaluru.
But multiple hospital officials told TNM that their hospital figures in the list even though they are not admitting COVID-19 patients. They are unaware about why their hospital has been listed.
“Our hospital is a cardiac centre and we are not admitting COVID-19 patients. We have written a letter about this, but our hospital still figures on the website,” says an official at a dedicated heart hospital in central Bengaluru.
The hospital officials said that the private hospitals empanelled with Suvarna Aarogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) under the Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka (AB-ArK) scheme were listed by the state government. But not all of them are treating COVID-19 patients.
The state government subsequently released a list of 73 private hospitals. Private hospitals, including St. John's Medical College Hospital, Sagar Hospital and Narayana Hrudayalaya, in Bengaluru confirmed to TNM that they are admitting COVID-19 patients. However, multiple hospitals TNM reached out to said that the beds allocated for COVID-19 patients are currently full and that they are unsure when beds will be available again.
Government-run hospitals including KC General Hospital and CV Raman General Hospital informed TNM that they have beds available for COVID-19 patients.
In Bengaluru, it is the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which facilitates the allocation of beds for patients who test positive for COVID-19. Patients can choose to avail treatment in private hospitals, but they need to keep the BBMP informed about where they are being treated.
Since 28 June, people who are tested in Bengaluru are no longer receiving COVID-19 test results from laboratories which conduct the tests. They now have to wait for the BBMP to inform them about their test results.