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Proposed Colorado Patient Safety Act Dies in State Senate Committee

Patient Safety Act

A new legislation that would have required health care workers in  Colorado to undergo a fingerprint background check has now been stopped dead in its tracks in the state’s Senate committee. The bill was an effort by Democrats to disqualify convicted felons and known offenders from holding sensitive positions in the health care industry following several reports of abuse and high-profile thefts of prescription drugs by health care workers.

The legislation, called the Patient Safety Act, was proposed by state Rep. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora. The House Bill had no problems going through the mostly Democrat-controlled House but faced stiff opposition when it reached the State Senate. After the discussion within the committee, the bill was junked via a party-line vote of 3-2 late last week.

Colorado remains to be one of the six states left in the country that does not require criminal background checks for medical professional and applicants. Instead, applicants and currently practicing medical staff are entrusted to be truthful about their arrests and convictions. The state is also one of the five states that do not require background checks for nurses.

 

Paramedics bring an injured child into the emergency room of the non-profit Children's Hospital on September 14, 2009 in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Paramedics bring an injured child into the emergency room of the non-profit Children’s Hospital on September 14, 2009 in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

 

The Patient Safety Act would have required all 160,000 active health workers in the country to submit themselves to fingerprint background checks. This would include practitioners such as doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, physicians, veterinarians, podiatrists, and other medical staff. All other new applicants for any medical-related positions would also need to submit fingerprints that will be run through criminal background checks before they will get their respective licenses.

One of the committees that voted to kill the bill stated that the legislation was unnecessary and excessive as the state has not been having any big issues with medical staff for the past decades. However, there have been reports of sex offenders and convicted criminals holding sensitive positions in different medical establishments around the state.

 

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