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This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

For More Information

The more you know about your condition and its treatment, the more likely you are to get the best possible care and results. On the Internet , you can find information on every health topic (Disclaimer).

You can also check with your local library. Most libraries have computers you can use and staff that can help you learn to search the Internet.

The following are a few places to go for more information and other kinds of help.

A good place to start is healthfinder® (, where you can tap into reliable consumer health information from the Federal Government and its many partners. healthfinder® can link you to:

  • Hundreds of Web sites with consumer health information.
  • Online publication catalogs and ordering information.
  • Online brochures and other documents.
  • Databases and search engines to help you find even more information.

For Medicare information, check out where you can view, download, and order Medicare and other publications on health.

Online information about doctors is available in some States. You can see if your State is included at

Visit the American Medical Association's Web site ( or call the AMA at 1-800-665-2882. For information on osteopathic physicians (D.O.s), visit the American Osteopathic Association's Web site ( or call the AOA at at (800) 621-1773 or (312) 202-8000.

Support groups. Self-help groups offer support to people with disabilities, cancer, and many other kinds of health problems. For information on national support groups and groups near you, go to healthfinder® ( and type "self-help" in the search box. Then click on "go." This will take you to the American Self-Help Clearinghouse.

Board certification. Call the American Board of Medical Specialties at 1-800-776-2378 to find out if a doctor is board certified. Call the American Osteopathic Association at (800) 621-1773 or (312) 202-8000 for information on board certification for licensed osteopathic physicians in the United States.

Accreditation. Call the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (630-792-5800) or go to their Web site at to find out if a hospital, nursing home, or outpatient surgery facility is accredited.

Other accrediting organizations include:

  • The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare, (847) 853-6060 (, for urgent or emergency care centers.
  • The Community Health Accreditation Program, 1-800-669-9656 (, for home health care agencies.
  • The National Committee for Quality Assurance, 1-888-275-7585 (, for managed care health plans.
  • The American Accreditation HealthCare Commission/URAC, (202) 216-9010 (, also for managed care.

Resources for the elderly. Contact the Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST). This service can refer you to your Area Agency on Aging where you can get information on meals, home care, adult day care, long-term care, transportation, legal services, and more.

Information on health plans. Check your local phone book for your State's department of health or the insurance commissioner's office. Contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners online at or call (816) 842-3600.

More Copies of this Guide

For print copies of this booklet, call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 (703-437-2078 from outside the United States only) and ask for AHRQ Publication No. 01-0004.


We have listed a number of organizations, Web sites, and phone numbers here to help you find out more about health care quality. This information is provided only as a service to readers and does not imply endorsement or promotion by the Government of these organizations, any products or services they offer, or any groups they may link with through their Web sites.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

AHRQ Publication No. 01-0004
Updated and archived December 2010

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The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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