Location:
MEDICAL PERSONNEL;

OLR Research Report


February 3 , 2010

 

2010-R-0062

HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IDENTIFICATION BADGES

By: Nicole Dube, Associate Analyst

You asked if Connecticut requires healthcare providers to wear identification badges when providing direct patient care. You also wanted to know if other states have such a requirement.

SUMMARY

Connecticut does not require healthcare providers to wear identification badges (or “name tags”) when providing direct patient care. Legislation proposed in 2009 (H.B. 6678) contained such a provision that was later removed before the bill's passage. We performed an internet search and found eight states with identification badge requirements: California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Pennsylvania is currently considering legislation to require healthcare provider identification badges.

National accreditation standards generally allow states to determine who requires identification. The Joint Commission, an independent, nonprofit accrediting body, issued standards requiring healthcare organizations to identify individuals entering their facilities but expects each organization to determine who requires identification and how the process is implemented. Organizations and employees must comply with any applicable state standards.

CALIFORNIA

State law requires all healthcare practitioners to wear, while working, an identification badge stating their name and license status in at least 18-point type unless a practitioner is in a practice or office where his or her license is prominently displayed (California Business and Professional Code, Section 680 (a)). During the 2009 legislative session, the legislature considered, but did not pass, a bill (AB 583) that would have required healthcare practitioners to also disclose their educational degree, license type and status, and board certification on either their identification badge or in their offices.

GEORGIA

The Georgia Composite Medical Board licenses physicians, physician assistants (PA), acupuncturists, respiratory care professionals, and other related healthcare professions. Its rules require identification badges to be worn only by PAs and physicians with an institutional license. (An institutional license is given to certain graduates of international medical schools not yet independently licensed to practice medicine in Georgia.) Board rules require institutionally licensed physicians to wear an identification badge with his or her name, degree, and institutional license. The institution employing the physician must also prominently post that institutionally licensed physicians practice at the facility (Chapter 360-10-07).

In addition, the rules require a PA to wear a clearly legible identification badge at all times with the words “physician's assistant” to ensure he or she is not mistaken by the public as a licensed physician. The PA must be addressed as Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss (Chapter 360-5-07).

ILLINOIS

The state's Medical Patient Rights Act requires licensed healthcare facility employees, including students, and volunteers who examine or treat patients to wear an identification badge stating their first name, licensure status, and staff position (Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 410, 50/6).

MASSACHUSETTS

State law requires healthcare facility providers, including students, to wear an identification badge disclosing their name, licensure status (if any), and staff position (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111 70E). The law exempts providers in the Department of Mental Retardation community day and residential facilities from this requirement.

MINNESOTA

State law requires any licensed, credentialed, or registered healthcare provider to wear an identification badge stating his or her profession whenever the individual is providing patient services unless wearing the badge would pose a patient safety or health risk (Minnesota Statues, 144.6585).

NEW YORK

The state's licensure body for medical professions, the State Board of Regents, requires licensed, certified, and registered healthcare providers to wear a legible identification badge stating the provider's name and professional title (State Board of Regents Rule 29.2(a)(10)).

OREGON

State law requires healthcare facility direct care providers to wear an identification badge stating their name and professional title. Facilities must develop policies that specify the badge's size and content (Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 441 441.096).

PENNSYLVANIA

The state legislature is currently considering a bill (H.B. 1879) that would requiring all licensed, certified, and registered healthcare providers to wear a photo identification badge stating their name and professional license, certification, or registration. Table 1 describes the bill's badge size and content requirements.

Table 1: H.B. 1879 Photo Identification Badge Specifications

Specification

Requirement

Overall Size

At least three and one-fourth inches by two inches

Photo Size

At least one and one-fourth inches by one and one-fourth inches

Name and Degree

Must be in 12-point bold face type

Professional Status

Licensure, certification, or registration must be in 18-point type in a one-half inch wide strip along the bottom edge of the badge

The bill creates an exemption from these requirements for providers engaged in procedures requiring full sterile dress or other protective clothing or covering. It also allows providers to limit the badge's identifying information to first name and professional title if full identification poses a safety risk to the provider or interferes with his or her therapeutic relationship with the patient. The bill is currently under consideration by the legislature's House Committee on Professional Licensure.

RHODE ISLAND

State law requires any healthcare facility provider, including students, to wear a photo identification badge indicating the person's name, licensure status, fluency in either sign language or a non-English language (if any), and staff position (Rhode Island General Statutes 23-17-47).

ACCREDITATION STANDARDS

The Joint Commission (formerly known as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) is an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies more than 17,000 health care organizations and programs in the country. While its standards require an organization to identify individuals entering its facilities, it expects the organization to determine who requires identification and how the process is implemented. Organizations and employees must also comply with any applicable state standards.

Additional information on identification badge standards is available at the following link: http://www.jointcommission.org/AccreditationPrograms/Hospitals/Standards/09_FAQs/EC/Identification+Badge+Requirements.htm

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