Most states require criminal background checks on doctors. Colorado doesn’t.
Colorado is one of only five states that does not require a criminal background check to license a doctor.
Colorado relies on self disclosure when making sure doctors do not have past criminal convictions that would flag them as potentially unfit to provide care.
It’s a level of trust that puts Colorado increasingly out of step with other states. As of 2014, 45 state medical boards required criminal background checks to license a doctor.
The Denver Post previously took a look at the issue of criminal checks for nurse licensing in Colorado. That review found that the state’s loose screening of applicants allowed nurses with criminal convictions for sexual offenses, drug offenses and crimes of violence to escape detection, sometimes for years.
Now the news organization investigates licensing for doctors and other health care professionals. As in the case of nursing, Colorado officials similarly rely on honesty from applicants seeking to be licensed as doctors. The investigation found that those who have been licensed as doctors in Colorado include individuals with a history of driving under the influence, tax evasion and drug abuse.