Denver Post Editorial Calls on Colorado to Close Background Check Loophole for Doctors and Nurses

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Colorado – one of only five states without a criminal background check requirement to license doctors and one of only six to not require the same procedure to license nurses – should close this loophole and require criminal background checks for doctors and nurses in the Centennial State, according to an Editorial by The Denver Post.

The Editorial follows investigative reports by Denver Post reporter Christopher N. Osher concerning the lack of a criminal background check requirement for doctors and nurses. The Editorial – which describes Colorado’s “unusually lackadaisical approach toward those seeking licenses to practice medicine” – reads, in part, as follows:

Colorado law requires those seeking a medical license to list past convictions. Once a doctor has a license in hand, he or she must voluntarily report any new wrongdoing. The state does check licenses against the state’s sex offender registry, and police often let state licensing officials know when criminal complaints are made against doctors.

But Osher found sexual assault and other convictions among medical professionals still allowed to practice. Hospitals often conduct their own checks, but the law doesn’t require that they notify the medical board of problems. So ousted employees just go find work in other hospitals or other medical facilities.

The Editorial states the Federation of State Medical Boards “has since 1998 recommended that the licensing bodies conduct criminal background checks” and that Colorado State Representative Susan Lontine, of Denver, plans to address the issue of a background check requirement for doctors next session.

“We look forward to seeing such an effort,” The Editorial concludes. “In a state that requires a criminal background check for a massage therapist, it would seem straightforward to expect lawmakers to tighten up such loopholes for nurses and doctors.” The Editorial is available at www.denverpost.com/2016/08/03/colorado-should-close-background-check-loophole-for-doctors-and-nurses/.

In March of 2016, a class action lawsuit filed in a Colorado Federal Court claimed a hospital in Colorado put thousands of its patients at risk through the negligent hiring of a surgical technologist who potentially exposed them to viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. A copy of the complaint is available at www.esrcheck.com/file/Compliant-Against-Swedish-Medical-Center.pdf.

ESR is a Healthcare Background Check Provider

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