Colorado Doesn't Require Background Checks for Nurses

While massage therapists, private investigators and even fantasy sports leagues are required to submit to fingerprint background checks to operate in the state of Colorado, nurses which criminal convictions can still escape detection under Colorado's nursing licensing laws.

Colorado is one of just six states who do not require background check for nursing professionals. Colorado relies of self-disclosure or complaints to identify applicants with criminal history. Nurses unfit to work in states which require screening can escape such detection and can be licensed to work in Colorado.

While many hospitals and other healthcare providers perform their own pre-employment checks, they are not required to report convictions to the state licensing board, allowing such applicants to obtain employment from less stringent hospitals.

The Denver Post uncovered dozens of cases in which applicants failed to reveal their criminal history and were allowed to continue working in Colorado. Seven of those cases involved sexual crimes.

"Any health care providers with access to highly addictive narcotics should have checks," said State Representative Susan Loutine. "We should look at doing something." Loutine sponsored a bill this year that required background checks for surgical techs and assistants.