The Council of Ministers has approved the reform of the mother-child passport (Mutter-Kind-Pass), which was initially introduced in 1974 in Austria.
Starting in January 2024, the preventive care program will be renamed the Eltern-Kind-Pass (Parent-Child Pass). Over the course of the next few years, until 2026, the range of services provided will be expanded to include additional offerings for pregnant women and newborns. Furthermore, a digital version of the pass will be introduced.
The Parents-Child Pass Act is expected to be passed by the National Council in June, the Health Ministry stated in a press release.
New benefits for families
The reformed parent-child pass will offer new benefits, such as an early health consultation during pregnancy, an optional second consultation with a midwife before childbirth, and parenting advice. Additional screenings for newborns, including hearing tests and ultrasounds, as well as additional laboratory tests and nutrition and health counselling for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and new parents, will also be available.
Johannes Rauch, the Health Minister from the Green Party, praised the parent-child pass as a successful model. He emphasised that the screening examinations would aid in the early detection and timely treatment of medically relevant abnormalities, thus preventing numerous deaths. Furthermore, Rauch highlighted the significance of these benefits for those without access to such examinations otherwise.
Susanne Raab, the Family Minister from the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), highlighted the addition of a new parenting advice service as part of the preventive measures. “We can offer parents and especially women information for decisions when it comes to sharing as partners and increase the participation of fathers”, she said.
The digitisation of the screening program will significantly improve the documentation of examination results. This will enable the seamless transfer of findings between attending physicians and midwives through the Electronic Health Record (ELGA), according to the Ministry.
Overall, the government said these reforms aim to enhance the parent-child pass program, offering expanded services, improved documentation, and increased access to information and support for parents and their children.
What is the Mutter-Kind-Pass?
The Mutter-Kind-Pass is a small, yellow passport-style document that plays a vital role in providing and monitoring healthcare for pregnant women and young children in Austria.
Once a doctor confirms a pregnancy, the Mutter-Kind-Pass is issued to the expectant mother. It serves as a comprehensive record of medical examinations throughout the pregnancy and includes health check-ups for the child up to the age of five.
The primary purpose of the Mutter-Kind-Pass is to ensure that pregnant women and children receive the necessary medical care they require. Furthermore, it is an essential document for receiving maternity pay in Austria, as the expected delivery date is recorded within it.
Furthermore, presenting proof of examinations recorded in the Mutter-Kind-Pass is essential for receiving the full entitlement to childcare allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld). Therefore, carrying the pass to all maternity-related appointments is recommended, as advised by the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse.
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