Category: Health Care
To find a doctor that accepts Medicare and Medicaid payments, you may want to visit the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services' Physician Compare. You can search by State, County, City, Zip Code, and doctor's name and by the name of a Group Practice.
Manage Your Health Care
As a patient, you have certain rights. Some are guaranteed by federal law, such as the right to get a copy of your medical records, and the right to keep them private.
Bring your complaints first to your doctor and nurses. If you have Medicare, you can file a complaint with your State's Quality Improvement Organization. Talk to your hospital social worker if you believe you are not ready for discharge from the hospital. Billing complaints should be discussed with the hospital or Medicare carrier.
Health Care Assistance
Consult the HHS Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) directory of health centers at http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ - these health centers provide care on a sliding fee scale so it is affordable for anyone. You can receive care even if you are uninsured or cannot pay. Search the directory by zip code to find the centers nearest you.
Black Lung Clinics in 11 states provide services to active and retired coal miners with respiratory and pulmonary impairments.
About 300 health care facilities nationwide are obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care (called Hill-Burton Facilities). You must apply for assistance at the facility.
Families who earn too much to qualify for low-income Medicaid insurance may be able to qualify for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administer funds to States who are responsible for the program at the local level.
Free or reduced cost prenatal care may be available. Call 1-800-311-BABY to find the health department in your area code.
Health Care Facilities
Hospital Compare offers the consumer information on hospitals performance on measures of quality. Some information is based on how well hospitals provided recommended and appropriate care to patients being treated for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia, or who were receiving surgical care.
Visit the Hospital Compare site (http://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/) for data, then talk to your doctor and other health care providers about the quality and experience of hospitals treating the conditions you are concerned about.
Talk with your dentist about the best use of fluoride to prevent tooth decay. In adults in the U.S., there is little concern about unwanted health effects even from the combined level of fluoride from all sources.
There is some potential for developing dental fluorosis in young children. As soon as the first tooth appears, begin cleaning by brushing without toothpaste with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and plain water after each feeding. Begin using a small amount of toothpaste with fluoride twice a day when the child is 2 years old. Also, check with your pediatrician if you have questions.