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Fictitious Name Permits: What is their purpose?

Medical Board of CA.

Understanding Fictitious Name Permits for Medical Board Licensed Physicians

When we visit a doctor's office, clinic, or medical practice, we often see names on the doors, signage, and promotional materials that might not correspond directly to the physician's personal name. Instead, these names often represent the practice or group. These names are sometimes known as "fictitious names." For physicians licensed by the Medical Board, obtaining a Fictitious Name Permit (FNP) is a crucial step when operating under a name different from their own. But what exactly are fictitious name permits, and why are they necessary? Let’s dive in and explore this topic.

What is a Fictitious Name Permit?

A Fictitious Name Permit (FNP) is an official authorization that allows a licensed physician or medical practice to operate under a name that is not the physician's legal name. This could be a business name, a practice name, or any other name the public might see and recognize. For example, a doctor named Dr. Jane Doe might want to open a clinic called "Sunshine Health Clinic." To legally operate under this name, Dr. Doe needs to obtain an FNP.

Why Do Physicians Need Fictitious Name Permits?

  1. Regulatory Compliance: The Medical Board requires physicians to have an FNP to ensure transparency and accountability. This helps maintain a clear record of who is responsible for the medical practice and ensures that patients know the licensed professional behind the business.

  2. Consumer Protection: Fictitious Name Permits protect patients by ensuring that the names used by medical practices are registered and approved. This reduces the risk of fraud and ensures that only licensed professionals are operating under these names.

  3. Professionalism and Trust: Having an FNP adds a layer of professionalism and trust. Patients can verify that the medical practice is legitimate and that it is operated by licensed professionals. This builds confidence and ensures patients are in good hands.

  4. Clarity in Branding: For marketing and branding purposes, physicians often prefer to use a name that reflects the nature of their practice or their specialized services. An FNP allows them to create a professional identity that is memorable and distinct from their personal name.

The Process of Obtaining a Fictitious Name Permit

Obtaining an FNP involves a few steps:

  1. Choose a Name: The physician or practice must decide on a name that is not misleading and accurately represents the services provided. The name must comply with the Medical Board's regulations and guidelines.

  2. Application Submission: The physician must submit an application to the Medical Board, providing details about the proposed name and the practice. This includes ensuring that the name is not already in use by another entity.

  3. Approval and Registration: The Medical Board reviews the application to ensure it meets all requirements. If approved, the physician is granted a Fictitious Name Permit, allowing them to legally operate under the chosen name.

  4. Renewal and Compliance: Fictitious Name Permits typically need to be renewed periodically. Physicians must ensure they remain in compliance with all regulations and continue to meet the standards set by the Medical Board.


Fictitious Name Permits are an essential aspect of running a medical practice under a name different from the physician's legal name. They ensure transparency, protect consumers, and allow for effective branding and marketing. By obtaining an FNP, physicians can build trust with their patients and maintain a professional image that supports their practice's growth and success.

So, next time you visit a medical office with a name that doesn't match the doctor's name on your paperwork, you'll know that there's a Fictitious Name Permit behind it, ensuring that everything is above board and properly regulated.

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