Look into how often the health care professional has done the procedure you need or has treated your condition. You may be able to find some of this information on the Internet. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report the success rates and number of procedures performed by fertility clinics. Some states collect and post data on the success of heart-bypass surgery.
Check whether there have been any complaints or disciplinary actions taken against your health care provider by contacting your state medical board.
Location and Availability
Find out whether the doctor's office is in an area that you can get to easily.
Ask if the office has hours during times when you can make an appointment.
Check whether the doctor has privileges at the hospital you prefer.
Find a local health care center, offered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which provides care, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. These healthcare centers provide:
Checkups when you're well.
Treatment when you're sick.
Complete care when you're pregnant.
Immunizations and checkups for your children.
Dental care and prescription drugs for your family.
Mental health and substance abuse care if you need it.
Most health insurance plans and Medicare severely limit or exclude long-term care. Read the Guide to Long-term Care Insurance. You should consider these costs as you plan for retirement.
Here are some questions to ask when considering a separate long-term care insurance policy.
What qualifies you for benefits? Some insurers say you must be unable to perform a specific number of the following activities of daily living: eating, walking, getting from bed to a chair, dressing, bathing, using a toilet and remaining continent.
What type of care is covered? Does the policy cover nursing home care? What about coverage for assisted living facilities that provide less client care than a nursing home? If you want to stay in your home, will it pay for care provided by visiting nurses and therapists? What about help with food preparation and housecleaning?
What will the benefits amount be? Most plans are written to provide a specific dollar benefit per day. The benefit for home care is usually about half the nursing-home benefit. But some policies pay the same for both forms of care. Other plans pay only for your actual expenses.
What is the benefits period? It is possible to get a policy with lifetime benefits but this can be very expensive. Other options for coverage are from one to six years. The average nursing home stay is about 2.5 years.
Is the benefit adjusted for inflation? If you buy a policy prior to age 60, you face the risk that a fixed daily benefit will not be enough by the time you need it.
Is there a waiting period before benefits begin? A 20 to 100 day period is not unusual.
Complaints about Long-Term Care
To report an emergency where there is immediate danger, call 911 or contact your local authorities.
If you have a complaint about a long-term-care facility, read about the long-term care ombudsman program, which investigates complaints.
If you have an elder abuse complaint, contact your long-term ombudsman or local elder abuse resources.
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. The goal of clinical trials is to find out whether a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
Depending on the qualifications for a particular clinical trial, you may be able to participate whether you're in good health or not, or at any age. Learn more about women in clinical trials.
What to Know Before Participating in a Clinical Trial
When thinking about taking part in a clinical trial, you should weigh the benefits and risks, from receiving free, cutting-edge medical care and helping others with serious illnesses to a lengthy time commitment and possible unpleasant or dangerous side-effects.
Find a Clinical Trial
Whether you’re interested in participating in a clinical trial, or you’re looking for more information about a study, these resources can help your search:
ClinicalTrials.gov provides a searchable registry and results database of federally and privately supported clinical trials performed in the United States and around the world.
Search for clinical research studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Clinical Center hosts a wide range of studies, from rare diseases to chronic health conditions, as well as studies for healthy volunteers.
Join a national registry of research volunteers through ResearchMatch, an NIH-funded initiative. It connects two groups: people who are trying to find research studies and researchers seeking people to participate in their studies.