The Scope and Purpose of the Colorado Medical Board
The state of Colorado prides itself on maintaining only the highest standards for its physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. A key component of this oversight and regulation is the Colorado Medical Board (CMB) which is charged with licensing Medical Doctors (MDs), Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs), Physician Assistants (PAs) and Anesthesiology Assistants (AAs). Currently the CMB is composed of eight M.D.s, three D.O.s, one P.A. and four members of the public.
In order to maintain elevated standards for the many health care professions it oversees, the Colorado Medical Board establishes licensing requirements for practice in the state of Colorado. These licensing requirements apply to new graduates, transfers from other states and professionals who wish to continue practicing in this state.
Additionally, the Colorado Medical Board also serves as a disciplinary body that may revoke a license if there has been a violation of the rules or regulations regarding professional practice. The bases for such a disciplinary action may include
- Fraud or misrepresentation on a licensing application
- Conviction of any offense of moral turpitude
- Violation of any state or federal law regarding a controlled substance
- Habitual use of alcohol or controlled substance
- Aiding anyone without a medical license to practice medicine
- Failure to alert the CMB of an infirmity that inhibits the medical professional’s ability to perform a medical skill
- Engaging in a sexual act with a patient while under care or within six months following termination of care
- Failure to report an adverse action taken by another licensing agency within 30 days
- Repeatedly ordering tests or treatments without a clinical justification
- Recording false information in patient records or regularly failing to record essential entries
- Perpetrating a fraudulent insurance act
If the Colorado Medical Board is informed of a professional violation, it may initiate an investigation or refer the matter to a civil or criminal investigative body.
Professional Licensing in Colorado
In order to practice as a medical professional in Colorado, the Colorado Medical Board must complete the following criteria prior to issuing a license:
- Confirm your academic and professional history—beginning with your undergraduate education, the Colorado Medical Board will authenticate all of your academic and professional credentials.
- Review all application documents—the board will review the submitted documents to ensure that there is no missing information and that all of the information contained therein is accurate and up to date.
- Authenticate professional credentials—the Colorado Medical Board may contact any organizations that you served with to obtain transcripts, letters of reference, training evaluations or malpractice claims history.
- Review USMLE results—licensing applicants must pass all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination within 7 years (MD/PHDs have 10 years to fulfill this requirement).
If you suspect that a medical professional has violated a rule of professional conduct you may file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, also known as a DORA complaint. Upon submission, the complaint will be evaluated by the Division of Professions and Occupations to determine if a law or regulation has been violated.
If there is a likelihood that a violation has taken place, then the Colorado Medical Board will open an investigation into the matter. In certain circumstances, the CMB may request that the Office of Investigations takes part in the investigation.
If the CMB or Office of Investigations finds that a law has been broken, then a hearing may be scheduled to determine how the parties should proceed. In cases where a settlement is possible, the Office of Expedited Settlement may be asked to oversee negotiations. If a criminal violation has occurred, the Office of the Attorney General may be asked to take over the case.
Important Colorado Medical Board Decisions
The Colorado Medical Board has been instrumental in protecting the public from unqualified charlatans, high-risk professionals, and unsafe products. Some of the more high-profile cases that the Colorado Medical Board has played a critical role in include:
- In 2019, the CMB alerted the public that a Hassen Dagher was not a medical doctor licensed to practice in the state of Colorado. Despite purporting to be an M.D. with a degree from the St. Matthews University School of Medicine in the Cayman Islands, there is no evidence that Dagher ever held a license to practice medicine in the U.S. or any other country. The Colorado Medical Board issued two cease-and-desist letters and referred the matter to the state attorney general.
- The Colorado Medical Board has become embroiled in some controversy regarding medical marijuana. A recent story in the Denver Post publicized the hidden practice of referring physicians accused of recommending medical marijuana to patients to the Colorado Medical Board. The CMB became the target of a lawsuit brought by nine physicians in which they argued that this clandestine policing of physicians violated the state’s open meetings laws. A judge eventually ruled that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment should stop referring physicians to the CMB under the current legal framework, but allowed the CMB to proceed on investigations. An appellate court overturned this decision and allowed the CDPHE to make referrals of physicians who had recommended patients grow an illegal amount of marijuana, had an exceptionally high caseload or saw almost exclusively younger patients.
- The Colorado Medical Board has been criticized for not requiring physicians to complete continuing education courses like almost all other states. This criticism of the CMB is not justified as the state Medical Practice Act specifically forbids a continuing education requirement. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that most physicians—and especially medical specialists—remain up-to-date on the latest developments in their field. However, there is some concern that some of the public may be at risk because select physicians may not maintain their body of knowledge as they should. In light of the rapidly evolving field of medicine, prominent medical experts like Dr. Lynn Parry, former president of the Colorado Medical Society, have proposed legislative changes that would require practicing physicians continue their education.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
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