My wife is considering a tricky surgical procedure here in my small town, and as a result we both felt that we needed a bit of outside information on the doctors, the hospital, etc. As many readers have probably seen, a company known as "HealthGrades" advertises all over the Internet for these reports they sell about doctors. Just do a Google search on a doctor name and the Healthgrades ad for this report is bound to be the first thing that pops up.
I have always hesitated buying these "online reports," and would -- as a rule -- avoid any offer for information-at-a-price, whether it is on a particular company, a telephone number, etc. But, in this case, we bit. I spent $12.95 to read the report that promised information that you just can't get from the doctor's office staff.
It was disappointing, to say the least. Part of the problem is that this doctor had no other consumer comments, so there was just not much to learn. We saw his years of medical practice, and the fact that he's had no disciplinary actions (that was comforting and worth a part of the admission price). But overall, it wasn't worth my $12.95.
Content to just leave it as a small wasted expense, I put it aside. That is, until I read the small print on an invoice that came to my email. As it turns out, by ordering this report I had given them permission to bill my credit card on a monthly basis for "watchdog subscriptions" on the two doctors we investigated. That's right . . . without my specific permission, this company was going to nibble away at my credit card each month, hoping that I wouldn't catch on to what they were doing.
All in all, "HealthGrades" falls into the Sham category in this blogger's editorial opinion. Watch out -- if you do buy a report on a doctor, go immediately to your account and cancel all "subscriptions."