Many of the medical and other terms used within the Medical Home Portal may be unfamiliar, or have a special meaning in the medical context. We list below several of those terms and acronyms and their definitions, along with links to other web sites with more exhaustive glossaries, dictionaries, and term/acronym lists.

Internet Resources for Medical Terminology

For more extensive information about diseases or conditions, visit Responding to a Diagnosis.
MedlinePlus Understanding Medical Words - A video tutorial to help families learn about medical words, from the National Library of Medicine.
GeneTests.org Glossary - Offers definitions, further links, and some case examples for most genetic terms. Aimed at health professionals, but may be very helpful for families also.
Medical Abbreviations Dictionary - A commercial site that offers definitions or explanations of over 200,000 health and pharmacy related abbreviations and acronyms.
Genetics Home Reference Glossary - An extensive list of genetic terms with definitions, compiled from other sources. Site is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine.
Dictionary of Cancer Terms - Offers over 4,000 definitions and explanations of cancer terms and offers searches by entering the first few letters of a term or letters that may be contained in the term. Site is sponsored by the the National Cancer Institute.
Human Genome Project Information - Offers definitions of terms from the field of genetics. Site is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
National Human Genome Research Institute - Provides a talking glossary terms from the field of genetics for parents, students, teachers, and others without a scientific background. The glossary includes audio files, pronunciation, images, and links to more information. Site is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Office of Rare Diseases - Offers definitions from glossaries prepared by government offices and university centers that research rare diseases. Site is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Terms Used Throughout the Medical Home Site:

Co-pay - The part or percentage of the bill your insurance provider expects you to pay.
Covered Benefits - The services, treatments and medications your insurance company will pay for.
Deductible - The amount of your medical expenses you must pay before your insurance company will begin paying for services.
Medicaid is a federal health care program for people with low incomes and limited assets.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, and for people who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for two years.
Network Provider - A healthcare provider who is a member of your insurance plan.
Pre-certification or Pre-authorization - Advance acknowledgement from your insurance company that a service or procedure you have scheduled will be covered.
Pre-existing Condition - An injury or illness that existed prior to the effective date of your current insurance policy and therefore may not be fully covered.
Referral - A request from your primary care doctor for you to see another doctor or specialist.
Special Health Care Needs - The definition from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) is: Children with Special Health Care Needs are those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

Acronyms Used Throughout the Medical Home Site:

AAFP - American Academy of Family Physicians - A national medical organization of family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective health care for patients of all ages.
AAP - American Academy of Pediatrics - A national organization of pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.
ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - See one of the medical dictionaries above for a definition.
CCCS - Consolidated Credit Counseling Service - Provides certified financial counselors who help families examine their financial picture and overcome debt.
CHIP - Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - This program enables states to insure children from working families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private health insurance.
CYSHCN or CSHCN - Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs - Children and youth who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally. Also known as CYSHCN - Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.
EIF - Emergency Information Form - A current medical summary to inform emergency medical workers of your child's conditions, medication, and history.
EMS - Emergency Medical Services - Services including emergency transportation and medical attention.
HMO - Health maintenance organization - A type of health plan which requires you to use hospitals affiliated with and doctors employed by the HMO.
NT - Neuro-typical - A term often used to denote people who do not have special needs.
PPO - Preferred Provider Organization - A type of health insurance utilizing a network of providers from which you may choose and there is usually a co-payment for each visit.
SSI - Supplemental Security Income - From the SSI Application Process, benefits payable to disabled children under age 18 who have limited income and resources, or who come from homes with limited income and resources.

Definitions Used Throughout the Medical Home Site:

See the Diagnoses & Conditions section for definitions of specific conditions.
Advocacy - Advocacy means educating others about a need, small or large, in an effort to get help meeting that need.
Respite care - Respite care means temporary care provided for people with disabilities, enabling their families to take a short break from the routine of caregiving.
Questions? Visit the Feedback page to ask us about other terms or acronyms that you are having difficulty finding.


Information & Support

For Professionals

Genetics in Primary Care Institute (AAP)
Contains health supervision guidelines and other useful resources for the care of children with genetic disorders; American Academy of Pediatrics.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: June 2008; last update/revision: November 2018
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Alfred N. Romeo, RN, PhD
Reviewer: Gina Pola-Money