About Walt Francis & Consumers' Checkbook

Walton Francis is a self-employed economist and policy analyst, expert in the analysis and evaluation of public programs. He has written on a wide range of subjects including program evaluation, statistical analysis, managed health care, and retirement benefits. His education includes Master's degrees from Yale and Harvard universities. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He developed regulatory, budgetary, and legislative reforms for many policies and programs while working at the Office of Management and Budget and in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. He pioneered the systematic comparison of health insurance plans from a consumer perspective, starting with the 1979 edition of the Guide. He has published articles and testified several times before Congress on the Federal Employees Health Benefits and Medicare programs. He evaluated both programs' performance in Putting Medicare Consumers in Charge: Lessons from the FEHBP.

Consumers' Checkbook is a magazine and website produced by the nonprofit Center for the Study of Services. Checkbook rates the quality and prices of consumer services, ranging from auto repair shops to home improvement services to health-care providers in seven metropolitan areas: Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. In the health care field, Checkbook rates hospitals, dentists, surgeons, and doctors. The Center has a health care survey research arm that, in addition to conducting surveys for the Center's own publications and website, routinely conducts surveys under contract for government agencies, employer coalitions, and health plans, including many of the health plans evaluated in this book. The Center also produces the national Consumers' Guide to Top Doctors and Consumers' Guide to Hospitals.