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Consumer Health

Find and Evaluate Health Information
Toll-Free Numbers for Health Information
Medical Reference Sources
Medical Dictionaries
Finding a Health Care Provider
Consulting with a Health Care Provider
Laboratory Tests
Choosing and Evaluating Healthcare Organizations
Electronic Health Records
Getting a copy of your medical records
Health Insurance Resources
Health Insurance Appeals and Disputes
Prescription Drug Cost Assistance
Medical Cost Assistance


Find and Evaluate Health Information

Evaluating Websites for Accuracy, Authority, Bias/Objectivity, Currency/Timeliness, and Coverage (National Library of Medicine)

Find Good Health Information (Medical Library Association)

Evaluating Health Information (MedLinePlus)

Health Information on the Web: Finding Reliable Information (American Academy of Family Physicians)


Toll-Free Numbers for Health Information

Toll-Free Numbers for Health Information
You can sort this list by health topic or by organization name.


Medical Reference Sources

Medline Plus
MedlinePlus contains links to many useful health resources from the National Institutes of Health and other reputable health information organizations. Each health topic has its own webpage of linked resources. For each health topic the resources are subdivided into six categories:
  • Health Topics: Read about symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention for over 1000 diseases, illnesses, health conditions and wellness issues. MedlinePlus health topics are regularly reviewed, and links are updated daily.
  • Drugs, Herbs and Supplements: Learn about your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more. Browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.
  • Videos & Tools: Watch health videos on topics such as anatomy, body systems, and surgical procedures. Test your knowledge with interactive tutorials and games. Check your health with calculators and quizzes.
  • Medical Tests: Learn about medical tests, including what the tests are used for, why a doctor may order a test, how a test will feel, and what the results may mean.
  • Medical Encyclopedia: The A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia includes over 4,000 articles about diseases, tests, symptoms, injuries, and surgeries. It also contains an extensive library of medical photographs and illustrations..
  • Healthy Recipes: These recipes show you how to prepare tasty, healthy meals that help you develop a healthy eating pattern.

Merck Manual - Consumer
The Consumer Version of the Merck Manual provides information on health topics in an article form. The articles cover symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for each health topic.
  • Many of the articles have images, embedded videos, and links to related resources.
  • The website features a sidebar which lets you easily navigate to different parts of the article.
  • All of the linked resources are listed at the end of the article for easy access. There is also a list of all the drugs mentioned in the article which you can click on to get a pop-up window with more information.


Medical Dictionaries

Online Medical Dictionary
Medilexicon International, an Internet publisher of health and medical news and medical information. Look up words by searching for them, browsing the alphabetical list, or browsing topics (as cardiology and psychochology). Also one can search for the meanings of prefixes, suffixes, acronyms, and abbreviations. Word visualizer shows relationship of word entered with other words through a diagram.

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
US National Human Genome Research Institute. Designed to help everybody understand words and ideas behind genetic research. Explained by scientists at NIH

Some Common Abbreviations
This appendix supplements the MedlinePlus Understanding Medical Words tutorial. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/medicalwords/



Finding a Health Care Provider

Choosing a Doctor or Healthcare Service

DocFinder

Federation of State Medical Boards

American Board of Medical Specialties

American Medical Association Doctor Finder

WebMD Physician Directory


Consulting with a Health Care Provider

Patients and Consumers (Patients and Consumers US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Talking With Your Doctor (US National Institutes of Health)

When You Visit Your Doctor (Harvard Health Publications)

Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People (National Institute on Aging)

Talking to Your Doctor (National Institutes of Health)


Laboratory Tests

Lab Tests Online
Noncommercial patient education on blood, urine, and other lab tests to help health care consumers better manage their care. Gives summaries of what a specific test is used for and what test results mean. Also answers common questions. Includes Understanding Your Tests. Product of professional organizations which represent the laboratory community.


Choosing and Evaluating Healthcare Organizations

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hospital Compare
Information about the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals- Opens in a new window across the country.

American Hospital Directory
Data and statistics about more than 6,000 hospitals nationwide. Evidence based information on key characteristics, services provided, utilization statistics, accreditation status, financial information, and more

The Joint Commission Quality Check
List Joint Commission accreditation status. The commission accredits and certifies over 21,000 organizations throughout the United States.

Leap Frog - Compare Hospitals
Nearly half of all U.S. hospitals voluntarily provide data to their annual survey. The Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit watchdog organization that serves as a voice for health care purchasers, using their collective influence to foster positive change in U.S. health care. Leapfrog is the nation’s premier advocate of hospital transparency—collecting, analyzing and disseminating hospital data to inform value-based purchasing.

National Association for Home Care: How to Choose a Home Care Provider and Home Care and Hospice Agency Locator
More than 33,000 home care and hospice agencies. From a nonprofit organization that represents the nation's 33,000 home care and hospice organizations.

Nursing Home Compare
Detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country.

Hospice Compare
Find hospices that serve your area and compare them based on the quality of care they provide.


Electronic Health Records

Personal Health Records
Personal Health Records Links to basic information, related issues, statistics/research, and articles.

Electronic Medical Records
Includes reports, blog items, press releases, and brief items.


Getting a copy of your medical records

Complaint Information - Medical Record Access Denied
If you are denied access, you can file a complaint with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights.

Federal Medical Facility Right to Obtain Medical Records
If you receive care in a federal medical facility, you have a right to obtain your records under federal privacy act of 1974.


Health Insurance Resources

Plan Finder (Health insurance options)
Provided by the federal government

Health Insurance Buying Guide
Consumer Reports. With sections Understanding health insurance, Choosing health insurance, Maximizing your insurance and Managing Medicare.

Health Insurance: Understanding What It Covers
Short article on covered services, essential health benefits, medical necessity, and a bit more. Additional links about health insurance, medical bill understanding, and the Affordable Care Act.

Consumer Information On Health Plans
US Dept of Labor. Live & Work Events, Affordable Care Act, COBRA Continuation Health Coverage, and more

My Medicare Matters
National Council on Aging. Topics include Explore coverage, Make sense of costs, Understand enrollement Includes options as Prescription drug coverage and extra coverage for Parts A (inpatient) and Part B (outpatient)


Health Insurance Appeals and Disputes

How to Appeal a Health Insurance Denial (Wall Street Journal article)

Handling Health Plan Disputes from the Kaiser Family Foundation
This guide, which includes a checklist for diagnosing your coverage, will help you navigate your employer or private health plan’s internal grievance procedure, as well as any external review program your state may have. The guide is not applicable, however, for resolving disputes if you have Medicare or Medicaid coverage.


Prescription Drug Cost Assistance

Extra Help (sometimes called the Low-Income Subsidy, LIS)
Medicare Part D assistance through the US Social Security Administration. Current income and resource limits may be found through above link. Automatic enrollment for for those on full Medicaid and SSI. Others enroll at www.social security.gov, or 1-800-772-1213 Or contact your State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) [ https://shipnpr.shiptalk.org/shipprofile.aspx]

Medicare Plan Finder
Compare Medicare plans in your area after entering your prescription drugs.

NeedyMeds
Non-profit providing comprehensive and up-to-date information on Patient Assistance Programs (PAPSs) and other programs that help those in need obtain their medications and medical care. Clearinghouse on information in areas such as prescription assistance; free/low cost health clinics; coupons and rebates & more; diagnosis based assistance; camps & retreats; scholarships; government programs; additional resources to lower costs Those that have a public (such as Medicare or Medicaid) or private insurance plan can use the card instead of their insurance if for example:
  • A medication is not covered under insurance.
  • They’re in a coverage gap, like the “donut hole”
  • They have a high copay or deductible

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines by matching them with the right assistance programs. Many will get their medications free or nearly free.

RxAssist
Patient assistance programs are run by pharmaceutical companies to provide free medications to people who cannot afford to buy their medicine. RxAssist offers a comprehensive database of these patient assistance programs, as well as practical tools, news, and articles so that health care professionals and patients can find the information they need.

National Organization for Rare Disorders - Patient Assistance Program
Patient Assistance Programs to help patients obtain life-saving or life-sustaining medication they could not otherwise afford. also works in partnership with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as patient organizations to provide travel and lodging assistance for study participants enrolled in specific rare disease clinical trials. Over the course of time NORD has expanded its services to offer financial assistance with insurance premiums and patient co-pay fees as well as assistance with reasonable and appropriate diagnostic testing expenses and travel to and consultation with disease specialists that are not covered by a patient’s insurance plan.

Patient Advocate Foundation - Co-pay Relief
Provides direct financial assistance to qualified patients, assisting them with prescription drug co-payments their insurance requires relative to their diagnosis.CPR call counselors work directly with the patient as well as with the provider of care to obtain necessary medical, insurance and income information to advance the application in an expeditious manner.


Medical Cost Assistance

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
The PAF helps to solve health insurance and access problems. The website has information on resources, programs, and provides personal help. PAF offers assistance to patients with specific issues they are facing with their insurer, employer and/or creditor regarding insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases.

National Uninsured Resource Directory
National and regional resources dedicated to improve access to quality care and decrease the financial burden of medical treatment.

National Underinsured Resource Directory
For patients that have current health insurance but are still struggling to meet the out-of-pocket cost demands.

National Organization for Rare Disorders - Patient Assistance Programs
Financial assistance, for those eligible, with insurance premiums and patient co-pay fees as well as assistance with reasonable and appropriate diagnostic testing expenses and travel to and consultation with disease specialists that are not covered by a patient’s insurance plan.
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