Take Charge of Your Health

Information and tips from government sources and consumer groups

Healthcare providers: Find a doctor or other licensed healthcare provider; check a provider's license, file a complaint.

Health insurance, medical groups, and hospitals: Private insurance, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), Medicare, Medi-Cal, hospitals, nursing homes.

Fraud and scams: How to spot diet scams or bogus medical cures.

Medicines: Pharmacists, prescription drug coverage and discount programs, using medication safety.

Mental health: Psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers; finding mental health services.

Staying well: Fitness, weight control, nutrition.

Your rights: Medical privacy, end-of-life care, hospice.

Healthcare providers

Physicians and surgeon

The following information is available from the Medical Board of California:

Other types of healthcare providers

Consumers can find information, verify licenses, or file a complaint for each type of healthcare provider listed here.

Acupuncture

Chiropractors

Dental care

Naturopathic doctors
Publication: A Consumer's Guide to Naturopathic Medicine

Nursing

Optometrists, other eye care professionals

Osteopathic doctors

Pharmacists

Physical and occupational therapists

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine
Publications: Diabetics: Keep an Eye on Your Feet (Spanish), Orthotics Can Help (Spanish).

Respiratory care practitioners
Publication: Home Care: What You Should Know About Your Respiratory Home Care Provider

Speech and hearing

Health insurance, medical groups, hospitals

Private insurance, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), Medicare, Medi-Cal, hospitals, nursing homes, other facilities.

Information on private insurance and health plans is available from the California Office of the Patient Advocate, the California Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance.

More resources

Medical groups

Hospital, nursing homes, and long-term facilities

Medicare
Federally sponsored health insurance program for people 65 and older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people who have end-stage renal disease. The program has several plans

Free, individual counseling about Medicare benefits is provided by the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) in every county in California. The program is administered by the California Department of Aging. Visit the HICAP Web site or call (800) 434-0222.

Other resources

California Health Advocates provides accurate, unbiased, and user-friendly information about Medicare benefits.

Californians for Patient Care offers resources and information to help people find low-cost or no-cost health care.

Medi-Cal provides health care benefits for low-income individuals and families in California. The application for Medi-Cal can be filed online or in person at your local county office. The online application is available in 11 languages.

Fraud and scams

How to spot diet scams or bogus medical cures; where to report fraud.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have information on how to spot health fraud, including the following:

Health fraud
Health Fraud Awareness (video).
FDA 101: Health Fraud Awareness.
Beware of Online Cancer Fraud.
187 Fake Cancer Cures Consumers Should Avoid.
Who cares: Sources of Information About Health Care Products and Services.

Weight loss and fitness
Weighing the Evidence in Diet Ads.

Medicines

Drug coverage and discount programs, using medication safety, drug recalls.

The following information is from the California State Board of Pharmacy:

More information
Possible Dangers of Buying Medicine Over the Internet from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Medicines in My Home

Prescription Drug Advertising
This U.S. Food and Drug Administration site encourages consumers to be smart about prescription drug advertising and encourages consumers to report ads that appear false or misleading.

This Food and Drug Administration site offers information about over-the-counter medications, including how to choose, how to buy and use, safe pain relievers and fever reducers, and safe daily use of aspirin.

Mental health

Psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers; finding mental health services.

Information on mental health professionals:

The Board of Behavioral Sciences offers the following:

Other resources

Staying well

Fitness, weight control, nutrition, preventing injuries and illnesses.

Weight loss and nutrition

Physical fitness

Safety

Your rights

Medical privacy, end of life care.

Medical records

End of life care

Hospice care