Hot Sheet

‘Patient Safety Act’ gets Colorado House OK and moves forward

Author: Dan Njegomir - May 3, 2017 - Updated: June 6, 2017

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As we reported earlier in the legislative session, Colorado is one of five states that don’t require fingerprint background checks for nurses and one of only six that don’t fingerprint doctors. Which is why Aurora Democratic state Rep. Janet Buckner is sponsoring the Patient Safety Act, requiring fingerprint background checks for doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances in the state.

House Bill 1121 also enters Colorado into the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact to enable health-care professionals to continue to provide telehealth nursing services and to be able to practice in other states with their Colorado license. And the bill aligns the Nursing Practice Act to the Medical Practice Act to eliminate an existing “safe harbor” for addiction-related violations.

On Tuesday, the measure was approved by the full House of Representatives and faces one more procedural, roll-call vote in that chamber before moving to the Senate (with only a week left in the legislative session).

At the bill’s debut in committee in March, those testifying in support included Michelle Shelley, the mother of a young girl with special needs who was abused by a registered nurse hired to care for her last summer in the family’s home.

“Her bed is no longer a peaceful place of rest. It is filled with nightmares,” Shelley told the committee. “The abuse shouldn’t have ever happened. Today I ask you to support the Patient Safety Act because we have an obligation to add this protection for those who cannot speak.”

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.