Proposed Legislation Requiring Background Checks For Healthcare Providers

A new bill—The Patient Safety Act—has been proposed that would require criminal background checks for healthcare providers, including doctors and nurses. The legislation would require fingerprint background checks for all applicants for license or renewal on and after September 1, 2017.  Colorado is one of five states that currently does not require background checks for nurses, and one of six that does not require it for doctors.

The healthcare providers who would be subject to the law are:

  • Podiatrists;
  • Dentists and dental hygienists;
  • Medical doctors;
  • Physician assistants;
  • Anesthesiologists;
  • Nurses;
  • Certified nurse aides;
  • Optometrists; and
  • Veterinarians

The licensee would submit a complete set of fingerprints to the licensing board, which would in turn submit them to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the purpose of conducting a fingerprint-based criminal history record check. The CBI would forward the fingerprints to the FBI.  The proposed law also allows the Board to acquire a name-based criminal history check for an applicant who has twice submitted to a fingerprint-based check and whose fingerprints are unclassifiable.

In addition, the law allows an applicant who has previously submitted fingerprints for State or local licensing purposes to request the use of the fingerprints on file. The current cost of a fingerprint search (CBI & FBI) is $38.50.

Under the proposed law, the Board shall use the background check to determine whether the applicant is qualified to hold a license. The results would be confidential, and the Board would not be permitted to release the results to the public or other state licensing boards.

Based upon the results of the background check, the Board would have the ability to deny a license if the applicant committed an act that is defined as unprofessional conduct or if the board determines that the applicant was convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to, or received a deferred sentence to any of the following, regardless of whether the act was committed in Colorado:

  • Unlawful sexual behavior, as defined by C.R.S. § 16-22-102(9);
  • Diversion, as defined by C.R.S. § 18-18-309(1); or
  • Transfer of a substance with effects similar to the effects of a controlled substance from a licit to an illicit channel of distribution or use.

The following statutes define the behavior that the Boards consider “unprofessional conduct.”

  • Podiatrists: C.R.S. § 12-32-107(3).
  • Dentists and dental hygienists: C.R.S. § 12-35-129.
  • Medical doctors, physician assistants, anesthesiologists: C.R.S. § 12-36-117.
  • Nurses: C.R.S. § 12-38-117.
  • Certified nurse aides: C.R.S. § 12-38.1-111.
  • Optometrists: C.R.S. § 12-40-118.
  • Veterinarians: C.R.S. § 12-64-111.

The bill was introduced in the House on January 20, 2017 and is currently under consideration. To track the status or read the full text of the bill, visit

Colorado Enacts Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

On June 8, 2016 an act ratifying the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper. Colorado became the seventeenth state to enter the Compact.   The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, which administers the initiative, set a target goal of January 2017 for qualified physicians to seek licensure in multiple states via the Compact’s expedited licensure process. The Compact is undergoing rule making and the Colorado Medical Board hopes to be able to implement the new law by the Compact Commission’s target date.

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact offers a new, voluntary, expedited pathway to licensure for qualified physicians who wish to practice in multiple states. To be eligible for expedited licensure, physicians must:

  • Possess a full and unrestricted license in a Compact State;
  • Possess specialty certification or be in possession of a time unlimited specialty certificate;
  • Have no discipline on any state medical license;
  • Have no discipline related to controlled substances;
  • Not be under investigation by any licensing or law enforcement agency;
  • Have passed the USMLE or COMLEX (or equivalent) within 3 attempts; and
  • Have successfully completed a graduate medical education (GME) program.

While making it easier for physicians to obtain licenses to practice in multiple states, the Compact strengthens public protection by enhancing the ability of states to share investigative and disciplinary information. The Compact is being implemented in a growing number of states, with others expected to adopt it in the next several years.

The Compact will impact the practice of medicine by Colorado licensed physicians in the following ways:

  • Affirms that the practice of medicine occurs where the patient is located at the time of the physician-patient encounter, and requires that the physician be under the jurisdiction of the state medical board where the patient is located.
  • Increases access to health care for patients in underserved or rural areas by allowing them to more easily connect with medical experts through the use of telemedicine technologies.
  • Provides a streamlined process that allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states, thereby enhancing the portability of a medical license.
  • Creates a different process for licensure that does not change a state’s existing medical practice act.
  • State medical boards that participate in the compact retain the jurisdiction to impose an adverse action against a license to practice medicine in that state issued to a physician through the procedures in the compact.

For more information on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, visit and or contact an attorney at Kresl & Johnson.

Colorado Medical Board Publishes New Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Telehealth Technologies in the Practice of Medicine.

Colorado’s Medical Practice Act defines telemedicine as the delivery of medical services, and any diagnosis, consultation, or treatment using interactive audio, interactive video, or interactive data communication.  With the growing interest and use of electronic technology, the Colorado Medical Board has recently issued guidelines to assist providers who want to take advantage of interactive electronic communications with their patients.  The new guideline, Colorado Medical Board Policy No. 40-27, provides specific practice policies addressing:

  • Licensure Requirements
  • Establishment of a Provider-Patient Relationship
  • Evaluation and Treatment of the Patient
  • Informed Consent Continuity of Care
  • Referrals for Emergency Services
  • Medical Records Keeping
  • Privacy and Security of Patient Records & Exchange of Information
  • Disclosures and Functionality for Providing Online Services
  • Prescribing
  • Parity of Professional and Ethical Standards

Providers are encouraged to review the policy to ensure their practice of telemedicine is compliant with the new guidelines.   To review Colorado Medical Board Policy No. 40-27, please click here.

We are happy to answer any questions our client may have regarding this policy.