No more fees for epidurals or the presence of the father at birth

Several changes in hospital fees are planned for this year.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

Several changes to the fees charged by hospitals will come into effect as of February 1st. As a result, patients will no longer pay for epidurals or for the presence of a father at childbirth.

Originally, there was also a plan to scrap fees for choosing an obstetrician. Health Minister Tomáš Drucker (Smer nominee) eventually changed his mind and decided to keep this.

“I made the decision after talks with the hospitals,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that part of this fee is paid as a bonus to the obstetrician.

Meanwhile, the discussion over whether health insurers will pay for epidurals from public health insurance is still open. If they fail to make a deal, the payment will be covered by the hospitals.

The Health Ministry plans to work on re-certification of Baby Friendly hospitals this year. Currently, only a hospital in Čadca has this certificate, but other medical facilities have shown interest in it too, Drucker said.

The hospitals with this certificate place importance on close contact between the mother and her child. The breast-fed babies do not receive pacifiers or other breast replacements, while the mothers are given advice on breast-feeding, TASR reported.

Also new standards for gynaecology and obstetrics are expected to be ready soon. These will tell doctors how to proceed in various extraordinary situations.

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