Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rehabilitation Encyclopedia from CIRRIE

The Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information & Exchange (CIRRIE) has developed a free online encyclopedia covering the field of rehabilitation. The articles, offered in in English, French and Spanish, are extensive and are aimed at "researchers, professionals, students, persons with disabilities, and the general public." It is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Website referenced:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Demise of Delicious -- not yet!

If you have taken advantage of Delicious, the bookmarking site that enables you to reach your bookmarks from any computer, you will be sorry to hear that Yahoo intends to discontinue the service. However, Delicious later on the 17th reported it will not shut down and is looking for a new partner. This is an example of how things can change suddenly in the land of Web 2.0.

To preserve your bookmarks, you can export them. The result will be a webpage that looks like a list of links. Your descriptions will be visible, but not the subject tags. Tags are captured by the export, they are just not visible (right click and look at the Notepad source information). However, you will no longer be able to reach any bundles.

Although a number of alternatives have been mentioned, none yet appear to offer as many features. Possible options mentioned by others, but I have not studied any of them:

Friday, December 3, 2010

DART Opens Green and Orange Lines, Affecting Bus Routes

Major changes are happening in the DART transportation system on Monday, Dec. 6. The new Green Line will open, bringing public transportation to the northwestern part of the Dallas area. Sections of the Green Line and Red Line will be served by Orange Line trains during heavy weekday rush hour periods. Several of the new stops will have bus connections to the hospital (see the 29, 31, 409), or you can ride to the West End to connect with 2 options (29, 31). Check DART's Mobile Site for quick updates on bus locations.

For handouts on public transportation service to the hospital, see a link on the Medical Library home page.

Thanks for sharing, LA & KF!

Websites referenced:

DART Mobile Site for Checking on Your Bus

If you have a smart phone you can use DART's Mobile Site to tell you what time the next bus is expected. Choose the bus stop Maple @ Oak Lawn. The screen even shows a little map of the last reported location for the bus!

This site can be viewed on a regular computer, but is designed for a phone. Really handy! Thanks for sharing, KF!

Website referenced:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

VARK - a Learning Style Questionnaire

The VARK website helps you become aware of your own learning style -- Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing, Kinesthetic by offering a free questionnaire and scoring online. That knowledge can translate to offering your patients, students and customers information in formats more appropriate to their own learning styles. The site includes tips on tools to use for each style.

This article discusses the system and other relevant topics such as literacy level and readability:
Hamilton, Sharilyn. How do we assess the learning style of our patients? Rehabilitation Nursing v.30(4):129-131, July-Aug., 2005.

Website referenced:

Monday, November 8, 2010

MEDLINE Now Includes Records from 1946

MEDLINE began as a project covering medical literature citations from 1966 forward. For a number of years NLM has been expanding that backwards, adding data from earlier records along with current subject headings (MeSH) to make the information searchable. Now the OLDMEDLINE subset has expanded back through 1946, adding 20 years to the original MEDLINE database. You will encounter these older records as needed via whichever version of MEDLINE you use (PubMed, EBSCO MEDLINE, or in some cases OVID).

Resources cited:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine is a new exhibit from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. The website includes a wealth of information and educational resources and activities. Through it you can explore the contributions these nurses, surgeons, and other health care workers made during the Civil War.

Website referenced:

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective" Now Available

The Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective is a health literacy resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services . Consisting of 11 sections, and free to download, the Toolkit provides details you can use to create written material that is easier for people to read, understand, and use. It includes a brief introduction to writing for a website.

The Toolkit advises using a reader-centered approach and includes sections relevant to writing culturally appropriate documents. Although written for those who work with Medicaid services, the Toolkit is relevant to a much broader audience concerned with user literacy skills. The tips apply to a variety of written materials including letters and reminders to patients, patient education handouts, and satisfaction surveys.

Website referenced:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PICO Search Site from MEDLINE -- and Other Mobile Device-friendly NLM Resources

NLM's mobile PICO MEDLINE search page has a new location. The page offers a form that helps you clarify your thoughts and compose a workable research question using the categories of Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome. Then the topics are searched in MEDLINE. The page is designed to be mobile-device friendly. More mobile friendly resources, such as MedlinePlus and a couple of disaster-related resources are also available from NLM.

Websites referenced:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Walk Across Texas Begins

Are you ready to up your activity level and work on establishing "the habit of regular physical activity"? Join a Walk Across Texas team! The librarians will be busy earning 830 points (the number of miles from east to west across the state) with their friends and family for the next 8 weeks in support of the hospital's wellness activity. Go Team TexOrVa!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Q R "Quick Response" Codes

Have you noticed little square black and white boxes showing up in ads and other places? They are called QR Codes and require decoding software, commonly via an app on a smart phone. The QR code can contain more information than a the usual bar code. They are useful for tracking and for providing supplementary information, such as alternate languages or details on plants in a public garden. Educause has an excellent flyer describing the technology.

Monday, September 13, 2010

PubMed MEDLINE® Posts 2 Millionth Citation

PubMed recently attained a major milestone when the 20 millionth citation was added to the database on July 27, 2010. When access became free on June 26, 1997, usage almost immediately tripled, and today almost one billion searches are performed in PubMed annually.

Coincidentally, PubMed Central, the NIH free digital archive for life sciences and biomedical literature, added its 2 millionth full-text article on the same day. Since its debut in February 2000 it has grown to a collection of more than 650 journals which deposit their complete content, as well as some historic journal collections from the 1800s. This content is linked to the citations that appear in PubMed database searches.

Source: NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Sep-Oct;(376):e3.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

NAVTEQ Traffic Map

Are you enjoying the traffic map IS has provided near the Skybridge to the parking garage?

The NAVTEQ Traffic site provides a great visual resource for real time traffic conditions. It shows the DFW Metroplex with red, yellow, black, and green lines based on status.

To locate and use the map, select the "Traffic" tab at the site, then select Dallas-Fort Worth,TX. In the upper left corner of the map you will see a faint circle and squares that become active and let you move and focus the map for more detail on your area of interest.

Resources cited:

Free Things on Your Birthday

Give yourself a gift by checking out this website that tries to track all the free meals, admissions, and gifts you can get on your birthday. Most require that you register for their email newsletter.

Site referenced:
Source: Kim Komando's Cool Site of the Day 8-13-2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MedlinePlus -- Most Popular Searches

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

If you decide not to install Flash player at this time, click Search Cloud to see MedlinePlus top searches

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MedlinePlus Introduces New Look

MedlinePlus has been redesigned to provide a more user-friendly experience. The new design premiers tomorrow, July 14. To locate where your favorite feature has moved, check out the homepage comparison page.

Sites referenced:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CINAHL and Evidence-Based Practice Searching

Using CINAHL for an evidence-based practice search? Check out this valuable evidence-based searching tool from the Tompkins-McCaw Library at Virginia Commonwealth. They have gathered terms into filters you can cut and paste into your CINAHL search to limit results to:

qualitative research

These search filters were developed by librarians at the University of Rochester and Ann McKibbon and Cindy Walker-Dilks of McMaster University.

CINAHL has an option under "advanced search" to select "evidence-based practice." This will get research articles and those about EBP or in EBP journals.

Sites referenced:

Search EBSCO Databases from Home

Want to search our EBSCO databases from home? CINAHL and MEDLINE are available by password (contact the librarian).

You won't be able to access all our full text content, but you can do searches. Select either CINAHL or MEDLINE one at a time for best results.

Sites referenced:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Books in the Medical Library

Recent additions to our book collection. Find them on the new book shelves or I’ll be glad to deliver. Please be sure to sign the check out card and return them promptly so others can use, too.

Orthopaedic titles:
EPIPHYSEAL GROWTH PLATE FRACTURES. Hamlet Peterson. Reserve WE 200 P485 2007.


INSTRUCTIONAL COURSE LECTURES: SPINE 2. Christopher Bono. Reserve WE 725 I586 2010.



PEDIATRIC ORTHOPEDICS IN PRACTICE. Fritz Hefti. Reserve WS 270 H461 2007.

ROCKWOOD AND WILKINS’ FRACTURES IN CHILDREN. 7th ed. James Beaty. Reserve WE 175 R684 2010.

Several polio books:
THE POLIO YEARS IN TEXAS: BATTLING A TERRIFYING UNKNOWN. Heather Wooten. WC 555 W918 2009 plus copy in Historical Collection.

Other topics:
MERRIAM-WEBSTER’S COMPACT 5-LANGUAGE VISUAL DICTIONARY. Reference PE 1129 M568 2010. neat pictures can help cross language barriers

ROGERS’ TEXTBOOK OF PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE. 4th ed. David Nichols. Reserve WB 105 R729 2008. many interesting chapters relevant to surgical patient treatment such as nutritional support, respiratory support, neurologic monitoring, infections, evidence-based medicine,


A couple on health literacy:
HEALTH LITERACY: A PRESCRIPTION TO END CONFUSION. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. WA 590 I59 2004.
(and if you are interested in this topic, see an article in JAMA, July 7, 2010 )

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Let's Move!" Nationwide Campaign Against Childhood Obesity

"Let’s Move! has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation." This website is part of the nationwide campaign unveiled by First Lady Michelle Obama. It emphasizes choosing exercise, making healthy food choices, and gaining access to affordable but healthy food.

Sites referenced:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stop Spam - Read Books!

Have you had to decipher "words" at the bottom of a page before you could submit a form online?

The "reCAPTCHA" program, designed by the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon, helps computers translate words that cannot be read through the optical character recognition program (OCR) used for digitizing books.

If a word can't be read through OCR it goes into the CAPTCHA list to be sent out in a pair with a known word. The computer assumes if you get the known word right, the other one is solved correctly, too. Through multiple human responses to an unknown CAPTCHA, the computer accumulates data to determine the most probable characters. Wow!

A related service uses CAPTCHAs to protect your email address if you wish to post it on the web. Mailhide generates an HTML code that will force a potential user to solve a CAPTCHA puzzle to get the email address.

Websites referenced:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

POSNA Archive Grand Opening

The POSNA Archive was officially opened on Friday morning, April 16, 2010, during the Brandon Carrell Symposium.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Preserve Your Memories -- "Preservation Week" Resources from ALA

May 9 -15, 2010, is Preservation Week sponsored by ALA, the American Library Association. They have gathered numerous helpful resources into a toolkit at their site, including preserving memories, disaster recovery and tips for working with kids.

Links cited:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Health Literacy Toolkit from UNC and AHRQ

An excellent "Health Literacy Toolkit" has been developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for AHRQ, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The website for this self-assessment tool includes a 6 minute video and 20 informative sections or "tools" that address areas of concern. The information is relevant for both adult and pediatric patients.

The toolkit suggests that caregivers assume everyone has some difficulty in understanding health-related information. It gives tips on improving written and spoken communication. It recommends that patient families be encouraged to ask questions -- and understand the answers.

Websites referenced:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals -- a Free CE Offering from the CDC

Do you need health literacy training? The CDC now offers a free online CE course called Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals.

This online course should take under 2 hours to complete and has already been approved for CE credits for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and certified health education specialists. Course Number: WB1285

Websites referenced:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dietary Supplements Database from NLM

Need to find out information about a dietary supplement such as a vitamin or herb? Check the Dietary Supplements Labels Database from the National Library of Medicine. There you can search in a number of ways and see answers to questions.

Websites referenced:

Friday, April 16, 2010

POSNA Archive Grand Opening

The POSNA Archive was celebrated with a grand opening gathering on Friday morning, April 16, 2010. Dr. Matt Bueche told the group of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons about the development of the project and welcomed them. See the press release and photos via the hospital website.

This link will take you to my photos and the earlier entry on the development of the display.

Websites referenced:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

POSNA Archive Creation

The POSNA Archive is about to open. Here you can view a slideshow of the development of the room.

POSNA Archive Development

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Healthcare 411 and Healthcare 411 en Español

Healthcare 411 and Healthcare 411 en Español

Consumer health you can listen to! Healthcare 411 offers informative, evidence-based health care news and research topics in 60-second audio segments, available as podcasts, many in Spanish. The programs, including longer versions on some topics, are available on the website, and transcripts are also available if you prefer to read them. The producer, AHRQ, is a government agency with a mission to improve health care for all Americans.

Use the "browse" button on the site to see the variety of topics, including blood pressure concerns, diabetes, talking with your doctor, and health literacy.

Sites referenced:

Red and Blue Line DART customers - no Union Station service April 12 - May 26

Notice to anyone who uses or passes through Union Station on the Red or Blue lines.

Red and Blue Line trains WILL NOT BE STOPPING at Union Station during the period April 12 - May 26. They will be doing construction on the rails.

The TRE will continue to stop at Union Station, but will board using the Amtrak platforms.

"Shuttle buses will be provided between Union Station and both West End and Convention Center stations, where passengers can board regularly scheduled northbound and southbound Red and Blue Line trains. TRE customers will have the option of using the bus shuttles or transferring to the DART Rail Green Line at Victory Station for connections to the Red or Blue lines at any downtown station.

Bus shuttles board at the RED BUS STOP located near each station. At Union Station, the stop is in front of the building on Houston Street. At West End Station, it is at the southbound bus stop on Lamar Street, and the Convention Center Station stop is adjacent to the northbound platform on Memorial Drive."

For more details see the rider alert at

Monday, March 29, 2010

PubMed Page Expired - A Fix

When you search in PubMed and then use the arrow keys to go back do you get a message that tells you the page expired, meaning you have to start over?

You can adjust your browser so that won't happen:

Tools - Internet Options - Advanced.
Then scroll down to HTTP 1.1 settings and add a checkmark in the box that says "Use HTTP 1.1 through proxy connections."
This should make it work without even restarting the Internet.

Mosby's Nursing Consult Now Free to ANA Members

The American Nurses Association ANA now offers FREE to members a version of Mosby's Nursing Consult. See their press release for more details:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MEDLINE Citation Coverage Now Into Year 1947

When MEDLINE started it included information dated back to about 1966. In the 1990's the National Library of Medicine began adding additional years to its coverage, the OLDMEDLINE project. As of March, 2010, the database has now expanded back through 1947 and has reached over 2 million citations.

For more information see this article:
PubMed® Extends Its Reach — Biomedical Database Moves Back in Time to 1947. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Mar-Apr;(373):e8.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus Online

Now, through the National Library of Medicine's "Turning the Pages" system, you can unroll the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus online and read it in English. Written in Ancient Egypt around 1600 BC, it discusses a number of trauma surgery cases using scientific understanding rather than magic. This amazing 15-foot long scroll is owned by the New York Academy of Medicine.

See the
press release for more information. You must have Flash on your computer to view this.

The Historical Collection in the Medical Library includes a copy of a book that shows the papyrus and translates it into hieroglypics and English.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Disaster Resources from Publishers

When a disaster strikes and emergency responders head there to help, they need access to information. Since so much literature is now available online, publishers often generously offer temporary free access to those whose normal sources are unavailable due to destruction of infrastructure and to emergency responders in the hard-hit area.

The Emergency Access Initiative (
EAI managed by the National Library of Medicine is a central point for this project. During the Haiti earthquake the initiative was active for 8 weeks, and it has just closed.

NLM's Disaster Information Management Research Center continues to offer a variety of valuable disaster-related links

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Google Personalized Search Now the Default

When you enter a search in Google do you expect to see the same results that another person would when entering the same terms? Don't count on it! Now Google's default search is "Personalized Search," a feature that used to be enabled only for those who signed in. Now Google uses a cookie to estimate how much you liked a particular site and rank search results differently based on that.

Google says "You'll know when we customize results because a 'View customizations' link will appear on the top right of the search results page. Clicking the link will let you see how we've customized your results and also let you turn off this type of customization."

Danny Sullivan, editor in Chief of Search Engine Land discussed his privacy concerns in an interview with Laine Hansen on NPR Weekend Edition Sunday, 3-7-2010. Google offers its own suggestions on how to turn off personalization.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Solar Energy -- Monthly Leasing Now Available

Have you considered solar energy but the upfront cost was just too much? TXU has announced a leasing program with free installation of panels. They estimate that a 3- or 4-bedroom home might initially cost about $35 a month on the 15-year, transferable lease, increasing 2.5% annually. However, the end result should be an energy savings, so hopefully the lease would pay for itself. TXU customers can sell TXU Energy the surplus electricity produced. Actual lease prices run $20 - $100 per month.

Homeowners in the Metroplex can qualify if they have broadband Internet service and good credit -- and sufficient south-facing roof space. Your roof should be in good condition before installation. SolarCity provides the solar panels, installation, maintenance and insurance.

Documents needed are a copy of your bill and a record of your kilowatt hour usage for each of the past 12 months (available from your electricity provider).

Learn more and sign up for a quote at or call 877-TXU-SOLAR.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

DART Plans Extensive Route Changes for 12-2010

When the Green Line expands in Dec. 2010 and the Lake Highlands stop is added to the Blue Line, many bus routes will change to provide service to the new stations. The DART website includes route by route descriptions and overview maps to explain the changes. DART is currently hosting a series of community meetings leading up to a public hearing on Tuesday, March 23, 6:30pm at DART headquarters on Pacific Avenue.

It appears that buses 29, 31 and 409 will still continue the same routes in this immediate area. However, there will be new opportunities to take one of those buses to a light rail station. Both the 29 and 409 will serve the Green Line at the Southwestern Medical District/Parkland Station and 29 will also go to the Love Field Station. Number 31 will serve Bachman and Walnut Hill/Denton Green Line stations. In the downtown area the 29 and 31 will continue to link to the Green, Red and Blue Lines as they currently do.

Although the future Green Line Market Center Station would seem like a closer option, at this time convenient bus links are not apparent.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February Snow Breaks Records

Snow began falling before dawn on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. The first shot is around noon on Thursday. At 5:30pm it had accumulated on the window ledge. The last view is 7:30am Friday. At the airport we reached 11.2" on Thursday and 12.5" during the 24-hour period, breaking both snowfall records. Many staff spent the night nearby, either in the hospital or at area hotels.

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More Snow Shots

These were taken around the hospital during the February 11-12 snow.

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Posted by PicasaAppropriate setting to remind us that the Winter Olympics are beginning in Vancouver, Canada!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

E-Book on Haitian Infectious Disease

EBSCO has offered one of their e-books free to support the Haitian situation.
"THE INFECTIOUS DISEASES OF HAITI is one in a series of GIDEON e-books which summarize the status of individual infectious diseases, in every country of the world. ...
Since the book focuses on geographic medicine, it does not include detailed information on diagnostic testing, pathogenesis, therapy or molecular biology." It is updated regularly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nursing Reference Center database trial

We have a 30 day trial of EBSCO's Nursing Reference Center, their point-of-care, evidence-based product designed for nurses. Contact your nursing educator or librarian for the password information. Enter a search term to find a information in a variety of formats. Click the "Diseases & Conditions" tab to reach concise but extensive Quick Lessons and Evidence-Based Care Sheets. Clicking any tab will produce an A to Z listing of the available topics in that category. Click the "Advanced Search" tab to limit your results to specific types of documents, including CE resources. Please be sure to give us your feedback on this product!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Texas Consumer Complaint Center

Consumers who have been treated unfairly in Texas or by a Texas company can get help from the Texas Consumer Complaint Center. University of Houston law students staff this 3 year old center. Contact them at or leave a message at 877-839-8422. The director also has a a website

source of information: Teresa McUsic, "The Savvy Consumer" column, Fort Worth Star Telegram, 2-5-2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Census Time

Be sure to participate in the official US Census by completing and returning your form when it arrives at your home. Forms will be mailed in February and March.

Why participate? The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years. An accurate Census helps provide future generations with the resources they need. The information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services. Every question they ask is for a specific reason.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reading Resources for Kids -- Websites

Here are several excellent sites if you are interested in children's literature, which we encourage through the "Take Time to Read" program:

· The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress helps oversee the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature –
· …in collaboration with the Children’s Book Council –
· National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance –
· The center also oversees a new website that provides reading resources especially for kids and teens, as well as adults, educators, and parents –

Source: American Libraries 12-09, p. 22 “Space for Children and Teens Created at Library of Congress.” Thanks to Leora Kemp, UNT Dallas Library Director

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti Support -- Information Pages

Several libraries have created web pages full of information relating to Haiti and supporting Haiti in the earthquake disaster.

Brooklyn Public Library in New York
Boston Public Library
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Also, an in depth health-related page on this is now available from the National Library of Medicine. It includes a section on language materials and will add information on hazards from airborne particles from collapsed buildings.

An earthquake engineering center, MCEER, from the University of Buffalo, also has a Haiti 2010 disaster clearinghouse page. It includes aerial imagery and maps.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Confirm Email Rumors at! is a great, trustworthy resource to be aware of. When you get a disturbing or alarming email or just hear a rumor, Snopes is the place to find out the truth. They research the stories, publishing sample notices and investigating and documenting the truth about each concern.

Next time you get an alarming email, pop by Snopes first. Then you can pass along accurate information or help stop false rumors yourself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Research Reporting Guidelines List

A chart showing links to biomedical research reporting guidelines is now available via the PubMed homepage by clicking on the Topic-Specific Queries link under PubMed Tools. The page also includes a link to a search on the topic.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Anatomy images online at NLM

Images from historical anatomy books are now available online via the National Library of Medicine's Historical Anatomies on the Web. Included are a number of pages from a Vesalius book. You can currently see a Vesalius on display in our own library.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Free online education

A number of universities provide free online access to audio, video and print materials. These sites do not necessarily offer credits or CE, but if you just want to learn, try them!

Academic Earth
OER Commons -- Open Educational Resources
iTunes U -- inside the Apple iTunes Store, to download to your iPod

These universities are developing free scholarly materials and software tools. In some cases you can make arrangements to receive course credit (may require payment):
Connexions from Rice University
OpenCourseWare from MIT
Open Learning Initiative from Carnegie Mellon

Friday, January 1, 2010

Insurance fraud and scams -- NICB

The nation's premier not-for-profit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting insurance fraud. The NICB hotline is 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422). The NICB partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the identification, detection and prosecution of insurance criminals.

Consumer Shopping Tips

1. FTC - Shopping by Phone or Mail - BBB News Center A number of tips for consumers offered by the Better Business Bureau and the U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid these practices. Beware of price comparison websites, many have been found to receive payments from merchants in exchange for a high rating. One that is apparently reliable is PriceGrabber.

2. The
Texas Attorney General's office is a consumer watchdog. You call their complaint line at 1-800-252-8011 or on their website