Colarado high takes on a new meaning. When you compare the requirements to become a licensed medical marijuana dealer in Colorado to that of the scrutiny conducted by the Colorado Board of Nursing, you would be surprised which is harder to get. The Colorado Dept. of Revenue, Enforcement Division, will actually conduct a background check on an applicant for medical marijuana dealer, and the Colorado Nursing Board will not.
According to a recent article in the Denver Post, it is one of six states that do not require a background check in order to get a nurse license.
What does this mean?
You may be saying to yourself, wait a minute, this does not make sense. Well, it is based on statute and the Board’s oversight of an applicant. You would think a nurse would be put through as much or more scrutiny than a Medical Marijuana dealer, but not so in Colorado.
An applicant for a healthcare license must self disclose if he/she has a criminal record or has lost his/her medical license in another state, but the Board does not conduct a background check in Colorado to verify such self-disclosure or lack thereof.
Of course, an employer of a nurse will conduct both a background check as a part of a pre-hire process and, according to OIG and CMS, they should be monitoring the status of that individual for exclusions. Further, a compliant organization will include a nursing license verification process and sanction/disciplinary action monitoring during employment.
Since the number one reason for exclusion by the federal OIG is based on loss or revocation of a license, and for nurses, the majority of the time that is due to a substance abuse conviction, these two shall ultimately meet. However, until an OIG exclusion, an applicant in Colorado may simply choose to omit a conviction or even loss of license elsewhere, and chances are really high (all puns intended) that he/she will be issued a nurse license in Colorado without full investigation into the veracity of such application information.