Colorado Bill Mandates Background Investigations for Doctors & Nurses
A newly proposed Colorado bill would require that more over 160,000 medical workers, including doctors and nurses, to receive background investigations based on a Livescan of their fingerprints to be eligible to practice medicine professionally within any of the state’s medical institutions.
The bill is referred to as the Patient Safety Act of 2017 and would, if enacted, require background investigations for medical professionals who can prescribe medication.
What would passing the Patient Safety Act ensure?
Federal background investigations of medical professionals would allow monitoring of any criminal records. Even if they move, or have moved, to different states to practice, the professionals moving to Colorado would be scanned for any past criminal activity which could affect their eligibility for the position. A similar law already applies to Colorado surgical technicians. The law was enacted last year after Rocky Allen was federally charged and plead guilty to switching powerful painkiller syringes at Swedish Hospital.
Colorado is currently one of five states that does not necessitate a background investigation on medical nurses. It is only one of six states that does not necessitate it for practicing physicians.
The Department of Regulatory Agencies proposes that the law be modified to adjust criminal background investigations for doctors, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and veterinarians. The investigations would be mandated when someone applies for a medical license to practice, when it is renewed or reinstated, and/or if the medical professional is under investigation by a medical board.
“At its core, this is a consumer protection bill that will provide another tool to be added to our toolkit at regulators. There’s a very low regulatory burden associated with the bill, and a very high potential reward,” said DORA Executive, Director Joe Neguse.
If passed, there will be a fee that will be transmitted to the background investigation applicants. If the applicant is arrested for a crime, the appropriate medical board will be notified and decide to investigate that person or not.
If you are applying or moving to Colorado as a medical professional, it would be the best course of action to perform an online pre-employment background investigation on yourself. This way you can be better prepared for your legitimate background investigation that will be performed upon employment, regardless of your criminal history or lack thereof.
What do you think? Could the Patient Safety Act provide comfort for patients or simply increase conflict in relations between patients and their medical provider? Feel free to comment and share any thoughts or concerns regarding this proposed bill.
Ayla O’Shea is a Social Media Manager at Striker Pierce LLC.
(citation: Sanchez, KUSA)