October is Health Literacy Month, so we have some common definitions of words you may be confused about when you get medical care.
Assisted living Care for people who need some assistance with the activities of daily life, such as dressing, bathing, and preparing meals, while still allowing them to be independent.
Clinically integrated network A clinically-integrated network is a network or group of doctors and hospitals who formally work together to improve the care that patients get.
Coinsurance The percent of the cost of a medical bill that a patient is responsible for after a deductible is met. Often may be different for in-network and out-of-network medical bills.
Conservative treatment Treatment for a condition that is not as invasive as surgery.
Copay The payment amount set by the insurance company that a patient pays the doctor for a specific appointment. Copays are generally a flat fee and may vary depending on the type of appointment.
Deductible The amount of money a person must pay each year before their insurance starts paying for medical treatment. The deductible may vary between in-network and out-of-network medical care.
DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order A legal document that allows someone to say no to receiving CPR or life support if their heart stops. A DNR order and a living will are not the same thing, although a DNR order can be part of a living will. You do not need a living will to create a DNR order.
Financial Assistance Help from a hospital or health system if a patient has difficulty paying a bill in full immediately.
Freestanding Emergency Center An emergency department that is not physically located in a hospital, but is in a different area on its own.
FSA (Flexible Spending Account) A type of savings account that allows people to put money in without paying taxes on it, but they must use it all within a year and it can only be used on certain types of medical expenses or on care for a dependent (such as childcare). A person cannot set up an FSA on their own, but may have access to one via their insurance plan. The amount of money to be put in is decided before the year starts and cannot be changed. If the money is not all used during the year, the money will not be returned.
Home Health Professional medical care in the patient’s home, designed for patients who are unable to leave home.
Hospice A type of medical care for patients at the end of life. See “Basics of Hospice” for more information.
HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) An account where a company puts money for an employee to use for certain kinds of health-related expenses. The money is not able to be kept by the person if they move to a different company. The rules for using the money are the same as a health FSA.
HSA (Health Savings Account) A type of savings account that allows people to put money in without paying taxes on it and save it for later years or for retirement. It may only be used on healthcare related expenses. A person cannot set up an HSA on their own, but may have access to one via their insurance plan if they have certain kinds of high-deductible insurance plans. The amount of money being put in may be changed over the course of the year, and money that is not used will stay in the account for future years.
In-network A group of doctors and hospitals that an insurance company has an agreement with, setting how much money the insurance company will pay the doctors and hospital for certain kinds of medical care. Using in-network doctors and hospitals almost always costs the patient less money than using out-of-network doctors and hospitals.
Living Will A legal document that lists the treatment wishes of a person if they are unable to share their wishes.
Memory Care Care in a facility or a part of a facility that is specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Nurse-Midwife A registered nurse with a master’s degree and post-masters training who provides support and medical care for women around birth and throughout their lives, collaborating closely with physicians.
Nurse Navigator A nurse who works for a hospital or health system who helps patients with a complex disease navigate treatment options, finding assistance for paying for medical care and help at home, and otherwise serving as a support person.
Opioid A highly-addictive type of drug that has legal and illegal uses. See “What to Know About Opioid Overdose” for more information.
Provider A person, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, who provides healthcare to a patient.
Online Portal A secure website that allows patients to see their appointments and test results and communicate with their doctors.
Telehealth A way to receive certain types of health care via the internet using a video chat.
Bon Secours 24/7 Bon Secours’ telehealth platform.
MyChart Bon Secours’ version of an online portal.
Outcome Result, usually of a treatment or procedure that a patient received.
Out-of-network The doctors and hospitals that an insurance company does not have an agreement with. Using out-of-network doctors and hospitals almost always costs the patient more money than using in-network doctors and hospitals.
Palliative Care Provides physical, emotional, and spiritual support for people with serious and chronic illnesses. See “Introduction to Palliative Care” for more information.
Population health The health of a large group of people, often defined geographically.
Premium The amount of money paid by an individual to an insurance company each month to have insurance.
Skilled nursing Care for someone who cannot take care of themselves, often due to aging, and needs assistance 24/7.