California licensees can now request confidentiality for name or gender changes

January 23, 2024

A new law took effect January 1, 2024, that allows physicians and others licensed by a California Department of Consumer Affairs board or bureau to request confidentiality in the event of a name and/or gender change.

When a physician submits the required documentation demonstrating that their name or gender changed, their licensing board – including the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California – will recognize the licensee’s name or gender change, update the individual’s license and replace references to the former name or gender.

Once a licensee’s name or gender is updated, the former name or gender will not be published online. If a public search of the online license verification system is performed using the licensee’s former name, a statement will appear in connection with the search directing the public to contact the relevant licensing board/bureau for more information.

Licensees eligible for a name change and request for confidentiality include:

  • Individuals participating in the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home program who confidentially change their name in a court proceeding based on concerns related to domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking.
  •  Individuals who change their name in a court proceeding to conform to their gender identity.
  • Individuals who obtain a court order to change their name in connection with a court proceeding to change their gender or sex identifier. (Such court orders are typically issued in connection with a change to a birth certificate or marriage license and certificate.)

Enforcement records that reference the licensee’s former name or gender will not be posted online. Instead, a statement will appear noting that the licensee was previously subject to enforcement action and directs the public to contact the licensing board for more information about the enforcement action. Enforcement records that are not posted online may be subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act.

To request a name or gender change under the new law, or to learn more, visit the Department of Consumer Affairs website.


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