Hospitals and other healthcare providers commonly consider it “best practice” to require that staff wear official photo identification. Not only are nurses, doctors and other hospital staff encouraged to wear photo IDs, but so are in-home caregivers. Laws vary by state, but some states have already made it a requirement that all medical staff wear proper photo identification. These states include Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Rhode Island, Iowa, Massachusetts and South Carolina.
Although many states require medical staff to wear photo IDs, there are no specific regulations on what should be included on the ID card, or how often the card should be updated. For the safety of patients, photo ID cards should be current, easy to read and visible. Pennsylvania requires that medical professionals update their ID cards every four years, but some believe this is not frequent enough. “Photo ID cards should be updated yearly,” says South Carolina Registered Nurse Amanda Driggers. “Some employees’ photo IDs are so old and faded that you can barely see the picture anymore,” she continues.
The Lewis Blackman Act
The Lewis Blackman Hospital Patient Safety Act, enacted in 2005, requires all South Carolina hospital and clinical staff and trainees to wear badges that show their photo and professional title.
It is imperative to patient safety that doctors and nurses show their full name, photo and credentials to each patient. Not only does the patient and their family have the right to know who is providing care, but wearing proper ID ensures that critical and life-saving information is passed to qualified staff members. “If staff aren’t expected keep their badges current, it defeats the entire purpose of the Lewis Blackman Act,” states Driggers. The Lewis Blackman Act was brought about to ensure that all patients receive care from qualified nurses and doctors.
Lewis Blackman was a healthy 15 year old boy who passed away shortly after having elective surgery at The Medical University of South Carolina in 2000. It is believed that Lewis died due to the lack of qualified staff on duty, and the failure to communicate critical information about his failing condition to experienced professionals.
Cases such as the one of Lewis Blackman are not inherent to South Carolina alone, unfortunately these events can and do happen everywhere. Each state has a different set of regulations for hospital photo IDs, but it is recommended that all medical caregiver ID badges include the following:
- Cardholder’s up-to-date photo (ideally no more than 1 year old)
- Cardholder’s full name
- Cardholder’s professional title
- Cardholder’s medical credentials and qualifications
Hospital badges can also include optional information such as:
- Years in service or years of experience
- Badge issue date and expiration date
- Official hospital or clinic logo
- Cardholder’s fingerprint
- Hospital contact information
- Security access level
- Cardholder’s signature
- Bar code or QR code
- Cardholder’s sex, height, hair and eye color
- Cardholder’s job responsibilities
It’s important to know the laws and regulations specific to your state, but in general, it is best practice for all medical professionals to wear updated photo identification. NameTagWizard.com offers a full range of photo ID cards and accessories. Whether you’re working in a small practice or large hospital, there are many ways to use ID cards, visitor badges, color codes and other precautions to make safety a top priority in the healthcare field.