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Today it seems that the price tag for good health s becoming unaffordable for the average consumer and their families. Increasing costs, rising health plan premiums, and escalating out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications, co-pays, and deductibles are making it difficult for consumer's to get the care they need.

Consumers are taking a more active role in their health care by questioning their medical bills and registering consumer complaints about costs. They are also actively looking for the most cost-effective and highest quality health care. Health care organizations also know that when consumers do not access care because it is unaffordable, it eventually costs everyone when untreated conditions lead to serious complications and more consumer complaints.

HealthGrades, online at, offers solutions to today's toughest health care challenges: containing costs while improving safety and quality of patient care, and reducing consumer complaints. HealthGrades and helps consumers, corporations, health plans and hospitals make informed health care decisions by supplying cost information and objective quality ratings for the nation's 5,000 hospitals, and quality ratings for 16,000 nursing homes. also provides in-depth profiles of the nation's 750,000 physicians.

HealthGrades partners with hospitals and health care organizations to help them make clinical quality the core strategic imperative of their organizations. HealthGrades' physician-led clinical-advisory services help hospitals and health care organizations understand, improve, and communicate the safety and quality of care they deliver. HealthGrades' consultants work with these organizations to improve patient safety and quality of care in such areas as cardiology, orthopedics, critical care, and gastrointestinal medicine.

HealthGrades also provides products and services that have helped hundreds of the nation's largest employers and health plans make financially sound health care decisions based on the quality of care. Many employers and health plans provide HealthGrades' Health Management Suite so that their employees and plan members have access to a complete set of decision-support tools. These tools include provider ratings, health optimization modules, and health care finance tools.

HealthGrades also provides critical information to more than 40 liability insurance companies, including the top three nursing home and hospital insurers, to assess providers' quality and risk potential. services include the ability to search for information about and rate a variety of health care providers and professionals including physicians, dentists, athletic trainers, nutritionists, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and physical therapists. Information about alternative medicine specialists is also accessible online. These include chiropractors, homeopaths, massage therapists, and acupuncturists. The Web site also supplies lists of five-star physicians, hospitals, and nursing homes in local areas as well as reports of disciplinary actions.

HealthGrades also supports physicians in better educating patients about their specialties through enhanced profiles on and the HealthGrades Connecting PointTM Program.

HealthGrades currently works with more than 400 hospitals nationwide. HealthGrades helps hospitals to understand, improve and communicate the safety and quality of care. HealthGrades' consultants and physician-led clinical advisory services help hospitals improve patient safety and quality of care. HealthGrades also produces well-respected public studies that identify trends in hospital quality clinical excellence, patient safety and women's health.

HealthGrades also provides relevant medical information through its network of educational Web sites that include,, and and are Web sites that provide easily accessible online medical health facts. The sites are independent, objective sources of free health information for both consumers and health professionals. and help health care consumers to understand their health better by offering crucial and accurate health information that is otherwise difficult to find. The objective of both sites is to encourage consumers to be informed and interested in managing their health, and to know what questions to ask their doctors to help ensure they are getting the best health care possible. and include such features as a symptom checker and lists of questions that a physician should ask to help reach a specific diagnosis. Health care consumers and professionals can research symptoms, diseases and conditions, and join online forums. The Web sites also provide links to important and timely health care and medical news articles. is a popular and comprehensive online source that provides health care consumer news about current research and clinical trial opportunities. The Web site also offers free disease information and treatment options on more than 2,000 diseases and conditions through online articles. At you can search for and recall information on a specific condition, view treatment options, and view information on research currently taking place for a particular condition. Health care consumers and professionals can also access research and treatment trials for a particular condition that are currently looking for participants.

HealthGrades provides other valuable services, such as the opportunity to rate physicians though an online survey on the Web site Health care consumer response is welcomed concerning wait time, courtesy of the office staff, and trust in the physician. The survey is free, confidential, and does not ask the consumer for personal information. Consumers can also see how their physician compares with other physicians nationwide.

The Web site also offers a survey for users of HealthGrades services. Consumer and company response is welcomed on the Web site survey. Simply click on the survey tab in the upper right hand corner of the home page.

HealthGrades continues to expand its services with such additions as its online list of Five-Star Doctors. This list was created using objective quality measures, rather than basing it on subjective surveys of patients or colleagues. This list helps health care consumers choose from among the nation's top-notch physicians based on such parameters as education and specialty training, affiliation with five-star rated hospitals, and a practice that is free from malpractice judgments and sanctions.

In 2009 HealthGrades released the first-ever list of top-rated hospitals for kidney, liver, lung and heart organ transplantation. HealthGrades also released the results of a 2009 hospital quality study that found that patients at highly rated hospitals have a 52 percent lower chance of dying compared with the U.S. hospital average.

Founded in 1999, HealthGrades is headquartered in Golden, Colorado, and has over 200 employees. HealthGrades and its employees enjoy sponsoring and volunteering for charitable and fund-raising events. Our participation not only brings the HealthGrades team closer together, it also allows us to provide support for and response to community and global needs. A few of the ways we've been able to contribute include donations to the Katrina Relief Fund, the victims of the Asian tsunami, and for medical supplies for Guatemala. Employees have also volunteered for or participated in such events as Race for the Cure - Breast Cancer, and the MS 150 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

So if you're concerned about the rising costs of health care, HealthGrades and offers a wealth of information online to support cost-effective, high-quality health care and minimize medical complications and consumer complaints. HealthGrades and its network of Web sites, including,,,, and, provides health care consumers, employers and health plans with the knowledge and services they need to find the most affordable and high-quality health care and make well-informed health care choices based on quality of care. At the same time, HealthGrades gives health care professionals, hospitals, and organizations the tools they need to build cost-effective high-quality patient care services.

Accessing HealthGrades' services and the wealth of information HealthGrades offer is easier than picking up the phone. Simply visit and find the information you need to make the best, cost-effective health care decisions.

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