Healthcare and Financial Aid

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics provides a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, vision and behavioral health services to economically disadvantaged Americans. Their website can also help find a free or charitable clinic near you that provides meals, companionship and safety checks to seniors and others with mobility issues.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance connects uninsured or underinsured patients to over 475 public and private assistance programs that provide free or low-cost prescription drugs.

Dental Lifeline Network  provides donated dental services. They will connect you with a dentist who will make up a treatment plan for you.   

1-800-Charity Cars provides donated vehicles for free to a wide array of individuals. The list of those they help includes the "medically needy."

Social Security’s Ticket to Work program provides work opportunities to people on disability.

This Google search page has information on dozens of programs that offer free lifeline cell phones. 

Healthcare Bluebook helps consumers save money on medical expenses -- everything from drugs to surgery to x-rays -- by giving them access to a nationwide database that estimates a "fair price" for whatever they're paying for.

Healthfinder is a U.S. government website where you can apply for Medicare and patient assistance programs that offer free or discounted medications.

Meditianment is an online guided meditation designed to make your pain seem less important. The initial 21-minute trial is free.

Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) has compiled a list 100 health websites it considers trustworthy.

Information and Education

The National Health Information Center has an extensive list of toll free hotlines for information on medical conditions.

PubMed allows you to search for published research studies involving treatments and medications.

Vitals is a search engine that can help you find a doctor with a specific specialty anywhere in the United States, along with patient reviews.

RateMDs has patient reviews of over a million physicians and health facilities, including some outside the United States.

Healthgrades uses an extensive database and patient reviews to rate doctors based on their experience, complication rates at the hospitals where they practice, and patient satisfaction.

Surgeon Scorecard was developed by ProPublica to rate surgeons who perform eight common elective procedures, including spinal fusions, knee replacements, and hip replacements.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a database that reveals if your doctor received money from a drug maker or medical device company for consulting, travel expenses, meals, research and speaker fees. Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors billions of dollars each year and only recently started providing information about this widespread practice.

Dollars for Docs is a similar website created by ProPublica that tracks payments to doctors by drug makers and medical device companies.

Hospital Compare uses patient reviews to rate the quality of care -- including pain care -- at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals.  Medicare's funding formula rewards hospitals that are rated highly by patients, while penalizing those that are not.  

Iodine has been called the "Yelp of Medicine." It uses patient reviews to rate the quality, efficacy and side effects of prescription drugs, including opioid painkillers.

Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to educate patients and providers about wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures. If your doctor recommends a particular treatment, you can search a database to see if it is appropriate for your condition.

If you feel you've been been denied healthcare because of a disability, you can file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Justice Department under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The ADA protects patients against discrimination based on “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

Counseling and Hotlines

PsychCentral has a list of hotlines available 24 hours a day that can help you with whatever assistance you need, from substance abuse to domestic violence issues.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline links crisis centers across the United States into one national chat network that provides emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services. has a listing of suicide hotlines by state.

The Samaritans is a hotline that offers emotional support to people dealing with every kind of problem, including illness, trauma and loss.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a webpage that can help you find a drug abuse or mental health treatment facility near you.

PNN columnist Pat Akerberg also has some great tips on how she learned to cope with pain, overcome her fears and move on with life in a proactive direction.