NPs Advertising as Doctors

District Attorney Dan Dow in San Luis Obispo County, California, recently reached a $20,000 settlement with a nurse practitioner for unlawfully advertising herself as a “doctor” in violation of California’s truth in advertising law. The press release mentions AMA’s Truth in Advertising survey, including the findings that 39% of respondents incorrectly identified a Doctor of Nursing Practice as a medical doctor and 19% incorrectly believed a Nurse Practitioner was a physician. District Attorney Dow used AMA’s survey to underscore patient confusion around who is providing their care and the importance of health care professionals clearly stating their level of education and training in their advertising, communications, and social media. “We want all health care professionals to clearly display their education and licensure so that patients know who is providing their care,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.  “All forms of professional medical services advertising, including websites and social media accounts, must be free of deceptive or misleading information and must clearly identify the professional license held by the advertiser. Providing patients upfront with the proper title of our health care professionals aids consumers in making a more informed decision about their health care.”

Thank you APA staff for making sure California members are aware of this development. CSAP members – if you become aware of such activity, your local District Attorney may be a recourse.

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