Legislation Aims to Protect Health Care Workers by Allowing Omission of Last Names from ID Badges

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2019

medical-team-emergency-roomAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers in health care settings face significant risks of workplace violence. OSHA found that, between 2002 to 2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents was more than four times higher in health care than in private industry.

The Pennsylvania Senate is considering a bill that aims to strengthen protections for health care workers by allowing an employee’s last name to be omitted from an identification badge.

Senate Bill (SB) 842, introduced by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, would amend the state’s Health Care Facilities Act by adding the following provision:

A notation, marker or indicator included on an identification badge that differentiates employees with the same first name is considered acceptable in lieu of displaying an employee's last name.

In a memo concerning SB 842, Sen. Phillips-Hill said that while current law governing ID badges is well-meaning, it has enabled patients to stalk, threaten, and harass health care workers both inside and outside the workplace.

SB 842 passed the Senate on Nov, 19, 2019 and will now move to the House. 

A companion bill in the House – HB 1880 – calls for the same ID badge requirement changes as SB 842. The House version of the legislation passed the House on Nov. 21, 2019.

Related Legislation

A state bill to add “health care practitioners” as a protected class in the event of an assault was approved by the Pa. Senate on Oct. 28, 2019. The bill – SB 351 – now moves to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Judy Ward.

Currently, Pa. state law provides protection for EMS personnel, such as doctors, residents, interns, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and several other professions who work in emergency services. However, it does not include “health care practitioners.”

PAMED supports SB 351 and believes that health care practitioners should be considered a protected class under state law.

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