What is Your Chiropractic Practice Called?

What is Your Chiropractic Practice Called?

Traditionally, the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners has restricted a chiropractor’s names for his or her corporation.  The Board has allowed a chiropractor to list the name or the last name of one or more of its present, prospective, or former shareholders, the word “Chiropractic” and one of the following: “Corporation”, “Corp”, “Incorporated”, “Inc.”, “Professional Corporation”, and “Prof. Corp.”  A chiropractic corporation could not get a Certificate of Registration as a Chiropractic Corporation and operate under any name other than those outlined above.  Essentially, you had to name your corporation “Smith Chiropractic, Inc.”

In contrast, the Medical Board of California has traditionally had much less stringent rules when naming a medical corporation.  The Medical Board allows a fictitious name, so long as the practitioner has received a Fictitious Name Permit and the proposed name was not misleading, deceptive, confusing, or similar to a previously issued name.  Keep in mind that both the Medical and Chiropractic Boards require a name permit to be issued before a practitioner can use a fictitious or corporate name in any public communication, advertisement, sign, or announcement.

In recent discussions with the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, however, it seems that the Board is reinterpreting the rule.  The changes are neither statutory nor regulatory; rather it is simply that the Board’s interpretation has changed.  Meaning, there has been no actual legal change, but it seems there is an important practical change.  Namely, you may now be able to use a corporate name that is more creative than before – adding words or phrases before your name, for example.  While “dba’s” are still not allowed (and could result in disciplinary action, non-payment, or lien disallowance), it seems there may be an opportunity to do something similar with a practice’s official corporate name – thus, reducing the need for a dba.

Given the recent shift in the Board’s interpretation of their naming requirements, it seems that it is now possible to have the name you want and corporate protections.  If you are interested in adding a second name to your chiropractic corporation, or in creating such a corporation, please call us for information and assistance.

March 19, 2010

By: Keith W. Carlson & Jehan N. Jayakumar

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