When it comes to what health care providers must disclose to their patients, things are changing in Colorado for the better.
Thanks to a law recently passed in the Colorado State Legislature (SB20-102), any healthcare provider who has been convicted of a sex offense must disclose it to their patients.
Patients will then have to consent to be treated by them and acknowledge they were told of the past offense or offenses.
The law is new, though, and both affected healthcare providers and their staff still have plenty of questions. How will the law work? What happens if a provider fails to disclose this information? How does the sex offender registry in Colorado work, anyway? Learn more below.
What the New Colorado Law Requires
Starting on March 1, 2021, all health care providers will be required to disclose sexual offense convictions or any act of sexual misconduct that has resulted in probation or limitations on their practice as a result of their sexual misconduct.
The new law will require the provider to get a signed agreement from each patient to be treated as well as an acknowledgment that the disclosure was received before treatment begins.
When a Colorado Practitioner Doesn’t Need a Signature
A health care provider no longer has to disclose a previous offense once the requirements of any probation or limitations placed on their practice have been satisfied.
Also, there is no disclosure required when administering treatment to a patient who is unable to sign a disclosure due to being unconscious or being in an emergency situation where they may not be able to comprehend the disclosure. No disclosures are required if there is not a direct treatment relationship or direct contact with the provider, either.
If a practitioner fails to comply with these requirements, then they may be disciplined by the overseeing professional body that regulates their specific profession.
What About the Colorado Sex Offender Registry?
Since there are some scenarios where a healthcare provider may not disclose their past history of sexual misconduct, understand your history is still available to patients through the Colorado Sex Offender Registry.
In Colorado, anyone convicted of a sex crime has to register as a sex offender. Any adult that is convicted of a felony sex crime will be searchable through Colorado’s Sex Offender Tracking and Registration System.
To avoid confusion among patients to whom you do not need to disclose your history, it’s important to understand how this registry works and what information is available to the public.
The sex crimes that require registration in the system include (but are not limited to) felony sexual assault or incest, unlawful sexual behavior, misdemeanor sexual contact or sexual assault, indecent exposure, and sexual exploitation of children.
Anyone convicted in another state of these crimes must register in Colorado if they move here, as well. Most offenders are required to update their information each year, with the most serious offenders required to do so every three months.
Failure to Register
If an offender fails to properly register with the state, then it’s a Class 6 felony. The penalties include up to 18 months in state prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Plus, these convictions are noted on their sex offender registry page.
If you have questions as a former offender still practicing in healthcare, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help you develop a legal strategy that both protects you and your practice while providing the necessary transparency to your patients.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.