A new Colorado bill would require more than 160,000 medical professionals to get background checks based on their fingerprints in order to practice medicine in the state.
The bill is called the Patient Safety Act of 2017 and would require the background checks for doctors and nurses who prescribe medication.
The federal background checks would help keep tabs on medical professionals even if they move to different states to practice and look into the ones moving to Colorado.
Currently, Colorado is one of five states that doesn't require the checks for nurses and only one of six states that doesn't require it for physicians.
The Department of Regulatory Agencies wants the law to be modified to authorize criminal background checks for doctors, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and veterinarians. The checks would be made when someone applies for a license, when a license is renewed or reinstated and if the nurse or doctor is under a medical board investigation.
"At its core, this is a consumer protection bill that will provide another tool to be added to our tool kit 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.
There is a fee that will be passed on to the applicants for the background check.
If one of those workers is arrested for a crime, the nursing or medical board will get an alert and decide whether or not to investigate that person.
A law like this already applies to surgical techs. It was passed last year after Rocky Allen admitted to switching syringes of a powerful pain killer at Swedish Hospital and was federally charged.