The Joint Commission's Speak Up Program

In March 2002, The Joint Commission launched its Speak Up™ patient safety program. Over time, the program has expanded to more than 40 countries and features infographics, animated videos, brochures (English / Spanish) and posters.

Ask Your Advocate to Speak Up!

Your advocate can be a partner in your care, helping you through every step of your treatment. Watch this video and ask your advocate to Speak Up!

Speak Up: Know Your Rights

It isn’t easy going to the hospital, but it is important to remember that you have rights and a role regarding your treatment and care. Watch the latest video with the Speak Up gang to find out how to speak up and help make better decisions about your care.


For many, getting medical treatment can be confusing or intimidating. These resources are aimed at empowering you with the information you need to make smart decisions about your health care and talk with your providers about the best way you can improve your health together.

Help with doctors Choosing a Primary Care Provider - MedlinePlus, Trusted Health Information for You
A primary care provider (PCP) is a health care practitioner who sees people that have common medical problems. This person is most often a doctor. However, a PCP may be a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner. Your PCP is often involved in your care for a long time. Therefore, it is important to choose someone with whom you will work well.

Choosing a Doctor - National Institute on Aging
There are many reasons why you might be looking for a new doctor. Maybe you've moved to another city or perhaps your doctor is retiring. If you need a new doctor, these ideas can help you find one who is right for you.

Where you go for care matters - An informative flyer from the Washington State Medical Association to assist you when you aren't sure whether to go to a doctor's office, urgent care clinic, or the emergency room.

ER versus Urgent Care or Doctor's Office Settings - A checklist chart from CareFirst to help you decide where and when to go for care.

How to Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility If You Have Cancer - National Cancer Institute
At this site, you can find the answers to questions like:
- How are doctors trained and certified to treat cancer patients?
- How can I find a doctor who specializes in cancer care?
- How can I get another doctor's opinion about the diagnosis and
  treatment plan?

Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care - Department of Health & Human Services
This official government booklet explains how to find and compare nursing homes and other long-term care options, how to pay for nursing home care, your rights as a nursing home resident, and alternatives to nursing home care.

How do I Select the Right Home Care Provider? - National Association for Home Care & Hospice
Once you acquire the names of several providers, you will want to learn more about their services and reputations. This site offers a checklist of questions to ask providers and other individuals who may know about the provider's track record. Their insight will help you determine which provider is best for you or your loved one.

How to find a good doctor: 9 steps to help you find the right doctor for you and your family - Consumer Reports
There are strategies and resources that can help you find a new doctor or check up on one you already have. This site will give you information on why it’s so important to find a good primary care doctor, what to focus on in your search, and where to go for the information you need.

Help with insurance Maryland Health Connection
Maryland's official health insurance marketplace. Need health insurance? Visit today. If you’ve had a big change in your life, such as moving to Maryland or losing coverage through your job, sign up at Maryland Health Connection. It’s the only place you can get financial help with your health plan. In fact, 9 out of 10 people who got covered through Maryland Health Connection got financial help to lower the cost of their plan.

Selecting the Right Plan for You and Your Family - Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform 
No matter what your health care needs are, it is important that you select a health insurance plan that meets your specific needs. This isn’t easy. This site offers resources that the Coalition and others have developed to assist consumers with this important decision. 

File a Complaint - Maryland Insurance Administration
The primary role of the Maryland Insurance Administration is to protect consumers from illegal insurance practices by ensuring that insurance companies and producers that operate in Maryland act in accordance with State insurance laws. The Maryland Insurance Administration is available to assist you with your insurance inquiry or complaint about health, life, property and casualty insurance.

The Health Education and Advocacy Unit of the Consumer Protection Division - Maryland Attorney General
Offers mediation services to consumers who have a billing dispute with their healthcare provider or a coverage dispute with their HMO or health insurance company.

Understanding Your Medical Bills - Medical Billing and Coding
- What medical bills really cover
- How the billing cycle works
- How to read your bill
- Understanding your benefits
- Dealing with billing errors

Help with chronic diseases


Maryland Treatment Center Recommendations - Maryland Addiction Recovery Center
Addiction recovery resources that are approved by the professionals at Maryland Addiction Treatment Center to aid patients in rehabilitation.

The Addiction Recovery Guide - Your Online Guide to Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery - Maryland State Resources
These websites developed by state governments provide a variety of information on programs and services relating to substance abuse including education, screening and evaluation, treatment, prevention, intervention, outpatient, day treatment, detoxification, inpatients, residential and recovery resources.

VIDEO: Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action - Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Too many families are struggling with today’s heroin crisis and don’t know where to turn. Together with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas in the eastern United States, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has made available a new resource that offers a destination where families can find support, information and treatment resources for their loved one. 

Chronic Illness

Coping with Chronic Illness - MedlinePlus - Trusted Health Information for You
Having a long-term, or chronic, illness can disrupt your life in many ways. You may often be tired and in pain. Your illness might affect your appearance or your physical abilities and independence. You may not be able to work, causing financial problems. For children, chronic illnesses can be frightening, because they may not understand why this is happening to them. These changes can cause stress, anxiety and anger. If they do, it is important to seek help. A trained counselor can help you develop strategies to regain a feeling of control. Support groups might help, too. You will find that you are not alone, and you may learn some new tips on how to cope.

Totally Linking Care in Maryland
People who have multiple chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and others) require medical care from many healthcare professionals. However, it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate all of the care needed to support long-term good health. That’s why we created the free Totally Linking Care in Maryland (TLC-MD) program. TLC-MD is a team of more than 50 providers, outpatient services, local health departments, community organizations and residents – all focused on working together to identify solutions that help you better coordinate your medical care.


About Diabetes - Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Learn about diabetes management, pre-diabetes and diabetes prevention. Take a test to see what your risk is for diabetes. Find diabetes and diabetes prevention classes and more. 

Mental Illness

Maryland 2-1-1: Mental Health and Substance Abuse - 2-1-1 call specialists will listen and work to connect you to community services that can help if you or a loved one are feeling depressed, suicidal or are dealing with other mental health issues. 

Mental Health Association of Maryland

The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) is the state’s only volunteer, nonprofit citizen’s organization that brings together consumers, families, professionals, advocates and concerned citizens for unified action in all aspects of mental health and mental illness.

Mental Health First Aid - an in-person training that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis.

What to do in a Psychiatric Crisis in Maryland - NAMI Maryland - This brochure describes steps to assist a person who is in a psychiatric crisis and needs help. A psychiatric crisis includes, but is not limited to: suicidal or homicidal thinking and/or behavior, acute psychotic symptoms, sudden change in mental status, and violence. The steps progress from help for a person who is cooperative, to getting an emergency evaluation, to involuntary admission to a hospital.

Other resources Advance Directives - Maryland Attorney General
Everyone has the right to make personal decisions about health care. Doctors ask whether you will accept a treatment by discussing the risks and benefits and working with you to decide. But what if you can no longer make your own decisions? Anyone can wind up hurt or sick and unable to make decisions about medical treatments. An advance directive speaks for you if you are unable to and helps make sure your religious and personal beliefs will be respected. It is a useful legal document for an adult of any age to plan for future health care needs.

Offers simple checklists to patients and their family-member Care Partners to help them support safe care during hospital stays. Download checklists so you will know what to watch for, what to say, what to do, when to get help, and more.


Offers free, personalized websites to people facing various medical conditions, hospitalization, medical treatment, and/or recovery from a significant accident, illness, injury, or procedure. The purpose of the platform is to allow family members and friends to receive information about a particular individual.

Healthy Families America

In 1992, Prevent Child Abuse America® launched the Healthy Families America® (HFA) home visiting model to address high rates of child abuse occurrences to children under five. Healthy Families America delivers evidence-based services that help children and families thrive. Their mission is to promote child well-being and prevent the abuse and neglect of children through home visiting services. Their vision is that all children receive the nurturing care from their family essential to leading a healthy and productive life. There are numerous Healthy Families sites throughout Maryland. To find the one closest to you, go to this site finder page and enter your address.

Health New Moms - Maryland's Maternal Mental Health Campaign
Addressing the mental health needs of new mothers and their families has been a longstanding priority of the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD). In 2005, Maryland was one of nine states selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop a comprehensive public and provider education campaign on perinatal depression. Its goal is to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and offer support and resources to moms, families and providers across the state of Maryland.

Hospice & Palliative Care Network of Maryland
Go to Consumer Care menu item to find local end-of-life care and other forms and resources.

Maryland Department of Health - Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ)
The Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) is the agency within the Maryland Department of Health charged with monitoring the quality of care in Maryland's health care facilities and community-based programs. You can file complaints with their online OHCQ Complaint Form.

Maryland Health Care Quality Reports
This Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) website brings together the Commission's consumer guides on hospitals, long term care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, and commercial health plans to create a comprehensive, consumer friendly resource.

Medical Care for Prisoners
Information on getting needed medical care for a prisoner. Also see ACLU National Prison Project's Know Your Rights: Medical, Dental, and Mental Health Care

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