Choosing a health care professional just got easier

Are you the kind of shopper who gathers information before making a purchase? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have the same kind of reliable information when choosing a health care professional?

Choosing a health care professional can be overwhelming. Physicians and facilities differ in the quality of care they provide. That’s why we’ve made it easier to use the information on our Physician Compare site by adding quality measures for group practices and, for the first time, individual health care professionals.

Compare websites are a valuable source of information about the quality of health care professionals and facilities. The new quality measures added to Physician Compare focus on the quality of care provided by Medicare physicians and other health care professionals, and include information like:

  • How well a group practice or individual health care professional provides some types of care to people with Medicare
  • Patients’ experiences with some physician group practices

Physician Compare includes a performance score for each measure, which is shown as stars and a percent. Each star represents 20%. The stars show how each group practice or individual health care professional performs on things like:

  • Getting flu or pneumonia shots
  • Screening for conditions like unhealthy weight, depression, high blood pressure, breast cancer, or colon or rectum cancer
  • Getting timely care, appointments, and information
  • Comparing new and old prescription medications
  • Communicating about your health care

The stars convey quality, so more stars are better. While the stars on Physician Compare aren’t used to rate or rank one group or individual health care professional compared to another, you can use the stars to evaluate the quality of care based on the measures that are important to you.

Physician Compare is designed to help you make informed health care decisions. We plan to continue to increase the number of quality measures on Physician Compare and include more tools to help you best understand and use this information. In 2017, we’re adding a 5-star quality rating based on a benchmark for each measure. This will allow you to more easily compare performance between groups and between individual health care professionals.

Filed under: Uncategorized
Source: Medicare

Get your free flu shot

Flu season is in full swing, so protect yourself and your loved ones by getting your free flu shot.

Get your flu shot early and stay healthy! Flu viruses change from year to year, so it’s important to get a flu shot each flu season. It’s free for people with Medicare, once per flu season when you get it by doctors or other health care providers (like senior centers and pharmacies) that take Medicare.

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 6–12. Celebrate by getting your free flu shot today.

Filed under: Medicare coverage, Uncategorized
Source: Medicare

Support World AIDS Day: Wear your red ribbon

About 50,000 people in the U.S. get HIV each year. Of the 1.1 million people currently living with HIV in the U.S., 1 in 8 don’t even know they have it. December 1 is World AIDS Day and the 2015 theme is “The Time to Act Is Now.”

HIV is the virus that can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Early testing and diagnosis play key roles in reducing the spread of the disease, extending life expectancy, and cutting costs of care. At least 1 in 3 people in the U.S. who test positive for HIV is tested too late to get the full advantage of treatment. However, thanks to better treatments, many people with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. are living longer. Testing is an important first step in getting HIV-infected people the medical care and support they need to improve their health and help them maintain safer behaviors.

Medicare covers HIV screening for people with Medicare of any age who ask for the test, pregnant women, and people at increased risk for the infection (like gay and bisexual men, injection drug users, or people with multiple sexual partners).

Visit Aids.gov to learn more about World AIDS Day and CDC.gov to learn more about their Act Against AIDS campaign.

To find an HIV test site, visit HIVtest.cdc.gov or text your zip code to “KNOWIT” (566948).

Filed under: Medicare coverage, Uncategorized
Source: Medicare