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Glossary

This glossary explains terms in the Medicare program, but it is not a legal document. The official Medicare program provisions are found in the relevant laws, regulations, and rulings.

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M
 
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Term Definition
HEALTH CARE FINANCING ADMINISTRATION (HCFA)

Former name of the government agency now called the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

A person who is trained and licensed to give health care. Also, a place licensed to give health care. Doctors, nurses, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, some assisted living facilities, and certain kinds of home health agencies are examples of health care providers.

HEALTH EMPLOYER DATA AND INFORMATION SET (HEDIS)

A set of standard performance measures that can give you information about the quality of a health plan. You can find out about the quality of care, access, cost, and other measures to compare managed care plans. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects HEDIS data for Medicare plans. (See Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.)

HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (HIPAA)

A law passed in 1996 which is also sometimes called the "Kassebaum-Kennedy" law. This law expands your health care coverage if you have lost your job, or if you move from one job to another, HIPAA protects you and your family if you have: pre-existing medical conditions, and/or problems getting health coverage, and you think it is based on past or present health. HIPAA also:

  • limits how companies can use your pre-existing medical conditions to keep you from getting health insurance coverage;
  • usually gives you credit for health coverage you have had in the past;
  • may give you special help with group health coverage when you lose coverage or have a new dependent; and
  • generally, guarantees your right to renew your health coverage. HIPAA does not replace the states' roles as primary regulators of insurance.
HOME HEALTH AGENCY

An organization that gives home care services, like skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and care by home health aides.

HOME HEALTH CARE

Skilled nursing care and certain other health care you get in your home for the treatment of an illness or injury. (See Activities of Daily Living.)

HOMEBOUND

Normally unable to leave home. Leaving home takes considerable and taxing effort. A person may leave home for medical treatment or short, infrequent absences for nonmedical reasons, such as a trip to the barber or to attend religious services. A need for adult day care does not keep you from getting home health care for other medical conditions.

HOSPICE

Hospice is a special way of caring for people who are terminally ill, and for their family. This care includes physical care and counseling. Hospice care is covered under Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance).

HOSPITAL INSURANCE (PART A)

The part of Medicare that pays for inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health care.

HOSPITALIST

A doctor who primarily takes care of patients when they are in the hospital. This doctor will take over your care from your primary doctor when you are in the hospital, keep your primary doctor informed about your progress, and will return you to the care of your primary doctor when you leave the hospital.

HYDRATION

This is the level of fluid in the body. The loss of fluid, or dehydration, occurs when you lose more water or fluid than you take in. Your body cannot keep adequate blood pressure, get enough oxygen and nutrients to the cells, or get rid of wastes if it has too little fluid.

*NOTE: An asterisk (*) after a term means that this definition, in whole or in part, is used with permission from Walter Feldesman, ESQ., Dictionary of Eldercare Terminology, Copyright 2000.

This glossary explains terms in the Medicare program, but it is not a legal document. The official Medicare program provisions are found in the relevant laws, regulations,and rulings.
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Date Last Updated: September 23, 2004

 

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