Glossary

ACE Inhibitor

Medication that lowers blood pressure

Average charges

Total charges divided by the number of patients for the selected service. Average charges can be significantly affected by a few unusually high or low charges.

Average length of stay

Total number of inpatient days divided by total number of patients for the selected procedure. (Patients discharged on the same day they were admitted are considered to have stayed in the hospital one day.) Average length of stay reflects, in part, the medical complexity of the patients a hospital serves. Patients with more severe symptoms or complications will generally require longer hospital stays.

Average payments

Total payments divided by the number of patients for the selected service. The average Medicare payment includes the base payment, diagnosis-related-group (DRG) for inpatient or Ambulatory Payment Classification for outpatient and, where applicable, additional payments for graduate medical education, indirect medical education, disproportionate share, and capital in accordance with Medicare payment policies.

Beta blocker

Medicine used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions by reducing the heart rate and the heart's output of blood.

Chronic condition

Always present or reoccurring medical condition usually lasting three months or more.

Complication

An additional problem that arises following a procedure, treatment or illness and is secondary to it.

Computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT) Scanner

A machine that uses a 360-degree X-ray beam and computer production of images, which shows a cross-sectional view of body organs and tissues.

Critical access hospitals

Rural hospitals that have 25 beds or less. A critical access hospital (CAH) is a hospital that is certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. The reimbursement that CAHs receive is intended to improve their financial performance and thereby reduce hospital closures.

Diagnosis-related grouping (DRG)

A DRG is one of 559 currently valid groups that classify patients into clinically cohesive groups that demonstrate similar consumption of hospital resources and length-of-stay patterns.

Inpatient procedure

A procedure that requires a patient to be admitted to a hospital for treatment and to stay at least one night.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

Type of three-dimensional radiation therapy using computer images to show the size and shape of a tumor.

Intensive care unit (ICU)

A separate, clearly designated treatment area maintained within the facility solely for the care and treatment of patients who are critically ill.

Joint replacement or reattachment

Surgical replacement of a joint such as knee or hip.

Left ventricular function (LVF)

The pumping function of the heart chamber supplying body circulation.

Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD)

Abnormal activity of the left chamber of the heart often occurring following a heart attack and increasing the patient's risk for recurrent heart attacks, heart failure or other fatal events.

Long-term acute-care hospitals (LTACHs)

Specialty care hospitals designed for extended-stay patients with chronic conditions.

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)

A machine that uses a large, powerful magnet to create images of blood vessels.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

A noninvasive procedure using a large, powerful magnet that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure.

Major diagnostic category (MDC)

There are 25 major diagnostic categories that are mutually exclusive groups based on principal diagnosis. The majority of MDCs are organized by major body system and/or are associated with a particular medical specialty.

Medicare cost reports

An annual report required of all institutions participating in the Medicare program, which records each institution's total costs and charges associated with providing services, the portion of those costs and charges allocated to Medicare patients, and the Medicare payments received.

MedPAR

Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data is information abstracted from the Medicare claims record.

Outpatient procedure

A procedure that allows the patient to go home the same day he or she was treated; also referred to as ambulatory.

Oxygenation assessment

Measuring the oxygen level in the blood.

PCI-percutaneous coronary interventions (previously called Angioplasty, Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary [PTCA], or Balloon Angioplasty)

Encompasses a variety of procedures used to treat patients with diseased arteries of the heart.

Pneumococcal vaccination

A shot to prevent pneumonia.

Positron emission tomography (PET)

A specialized imaging method that generates three-dimensional colored images of the body.

Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)

An imaging technique measuring blood flow within the brain.

Thrombolytic Medication

Medication used during a heart attack to dissolve clots that may block blood flow in the coronary arteries.