Louisiana law clarifies use of the title
July 26, 2012
The AMA says a bill signed into law on June 12 by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal helps ensure patients know the credentials of the health care professionals providing their care. The law, supported by the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS), requires nonphysicians who present themselves with the title "doctor" or use the abbreviation "Dr." to also identify what type of professional license they hold.
The law applies to an array of professionals, including registered or licensed practical nurses, certified registered nurse anesthetists, licensed midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, certified athletic trainers and physician assistants. "This [law] is important because in today's clinical setting there are many people with 'doctor' on their white coat" who are not physicians, LSMS member Neil Wolfson, MD, said in a video interview. "Patients need to know who is treating them and … the qualification[s] of that person."