We are often asked if it is “mandatory” for medical and health-care practices to furnish photo ID cards to their staff members. Some people wonder whether this is part of the “HIPAA” (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. This post provides some clarity to the various answers we’ve seen to this tough question.
First of all, it is generally recognized that the medical profession in the United States considers it a “best practice” that all employees clearly identify themselves with a professional photo ID badge indicating their name and qualifications. Today it is very rare to enter a major hospital and not see all staff members clearly displaying their identities, typically with a photo ID card worn on a lanyard around their neck. However, this practice becomes more and more spotty as you visit the thousands and thousands of smaller clinics and medical practices throughout the country.
We are not aware of Federal HIPAA requirements for photo ID badges in hospitals or other medical facilities. But, this may be because HIPAA generally covers the protection of confidential patient information, and may not cover this aspect of healthcare provider responsibilities. However, many states have made photo ID cards mandatory for medical service providers.
The following list is a sample of some of the States which have enacted regulations concerning the requirement to wear an identification badge:
So the question of whether badges are “mandatory” probably depends on the State in which you are located. You should check current regulations in force in your area.
But no matter what the law says, healthcare industry leaders all agree that medical professionals should properly identify themselves. This applies not only to medical professionals working in a licensed facility, but also to caregivers who visit patients at their homes or in managed care facilities.