California suit over who can be called 'doctor' faces opposition 

An amicus brief filed Sept. 6 by the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association states that licensed allopathic and osteopathic physicians in California should be the only practitioners allowed to use the title "Dr."

The move opposes a suit filed by three California nurses with doctorates of nursing practice against the California attorney general, leaders of the Medical Board of California and the California Board of Registered Nursing, stating that they should have the right to call themselves "doctor." 

The move to ban nurse practitioners and physician assistants from using the "doctor" title has been met with opposition from groups such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The CMA and AMA, on the other hand, claim there is a risk of public confusion. 

"[The] courts have consistently relied upon a readily discernible goal of the Legislature to prevent confusion and potential harm to members of the public who may be misled into believing they are dealing with physicians whenever those terms are used by non-physicians,” the jointly filed brief states. "The original purpose of [this law] remains as relevant and vital today as in 1937 when [it] was enacted."

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