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Organizations serious about improving U.S. health care

Here are links to organizations that may be helpful as you seek better knowledge of health care options, practices, insurance, and policy. Some are watchdog organizations, some provide reliable information and/or support, some provide systematic review of health care research results, some lobby for effective health policy (e.g., protecting the integrity of the medical review process), and a few publish "scorecards" or the equivalent for medical practitioners or procedures.
Alliance for Health Care Reform provides tools for journalists to cover health reform, tools equally useful to ordinary citizens.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, including Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness and Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics
Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) , an invaluable organization for journalists covering health care and health care reform. Core topics at September 2013 conference include health reform, aging, oral health, and medical studies. Topics to be covered in future include insurance, health insurance, health professionals, and health information technology. Many of the resources listed here I learned of from AHCJ, which also provides special informal toolkits for members. The annual conference is excellent and very helpful at keeping members up to date on what's happening in the health care field. See Health Reform resource links and Topic overview. Any journalist covering health care reform should belong to this organization.
http://healthjournalism.org/core-topic.php?id=1&page=overview
CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
CDC's Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR--systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy -- the highest standard in evidence-based health care). See, for example, the top 50 reviews (The Cochran Collaboration).

C-Span
Commonwealth Fund's health reform resource center , including a timeline for an overview of the Affordable Care Act's major provisions and a "Find Health Reform Provisions" tool to search for specific provisions by year, category, and/or stakeholder group. Also see related Commonwealth Fund content and links to regulations as they become available.
e-patients.net (because health professionals can't do it alone). See particularly e-Patient Dave on BMJ's evaluation of online symptom checkers
Find Help (SAMHSA's links for substance abuse and mental health services)
Get Health Care (HRSA links to free and inexpensive care)
Health Affairs, including its blogs and health policy briefs.
Medicine (Science Blogs)
NAIRO (National Association of Independent Review Organizations, dedicated to protecting the integrity of the medical review process)
Physicians for a National Health Program (supports single-payer national health insurance)
Reporting on Health (USC Annenberg)
Reports from the Institute of Medicine (National Academies)
Smokefree.gov , links to resources for people who want to quit smoking.
Society for Participatory Medicine (a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health, and in which providers encourage and value them as full partners)

Surgeon Scorecard. ProPublica's website shows death and complication rates in eight types of surgery, showing results on all surgeons, good or bad. with 20 or more surgeries in a category. See USA Today story 'Surgeon scorecard' measures docs by complications.
SurgeonRatings.org (Consumers' Checkbook's new website lists surgeons Checkbook has identified as having better–than–average outcomes -- covers 15 types of surgery, but only lists surgeons significantly above average on 90-day mortality, readmissions, and same-stay complications_
Paul Burke compared methods for the Checkbook and ProPublica rating systems (Globe1234). Globe1234.com provides all kinds of data a patient might/should want to have

SurveyUSA News Poll on Health Care Data (showing public opinion on various aspects of the health care debate, by gender, race, party affiliation, ideology, level of college education, income,region, and age)
Organizations linked to by Alliance for Health Care Reform (an amazingly huge and helpful list)
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