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Summary: HB 1782 world require health care providers providing direct patient care in a hospital to wear a photo identification badge during all patient encounters unless precluded by certain protocols. The badge would be required to be visible and state the provider’s first and last name, the hospital department they are associated with, the provider’s title as assigned by the hospital, and the provider's status (if applicable) as a student, trainee, intern or resident. HB 1782 defines health care providers as: physicians, hospital employees, persons on contract with a hospital, and persons in the course of a training or educational program at a hospital. HB 1782 does not stipulate a penalty for non-compliance, but other sections of Health and Safety Code impose a $1,000 civil penalty for each day a hospital violates a provision of chapter 241, and for each violation of Chapter 241. The Texas Department of Health, under Chapter 241, may also deny, suspend, or revoke a hospital’s license for any violation.
Analysis: HB 1782 expands government by imposing a regulation of dubious necessity on hospitals which could lead to civil penalties and license revocation for failing to provide Identification to numerous health care providers or by the failure of those providers to wear the required badges. While it may be a best practice for healthcare providers to display photo identification while working in a hospital, the state should not be in the habit of implementing best practices for private business through coercive regulation.
Recommendation: Based on information we have received since our original recommendation, we are amending our position to NEUTRAL. There is a clear problem when healthcare service providers give medical advice or care that is above their level of qualification. To the extent that this is a problem, it should be addressed. We continue to maintain that this can and should be addressed by hospitals rather than by the imposition of a "one size fits all" legislative solution. However, this objection does not rise to the level of recommending a vote against the bill. Our position therefore is neutral.