Acronyms have taken center stage in social media postings. LOL, OMG and BRB are commonly used in our texts and other informal messages. In our more formal writings, we still follow the long-standing rule to write out the full name of an acronym the first time we use it in a piece. This practice has become increasingly important as the number of acronyms has increased so substantially over the past years. This is especially true in Payment and Practice Management. In fact, one of the most common acronyms we use even includes an embedded acronym: the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) where CHIP is the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program.
Acronyms do serve a purpose. They allow us to communicate more quickly and efficiently. They may even provide some insight into the level of expertise someone has in a given topic. For instance, how much confidence do you have in the privacy or security advice you get from someone who makes consistent references to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act as “HIPPA” rather than “HIPAA”?
However, have acronyms become so over-used that they impede communication? Consider these examples (a key to the meaning for each is at the end of this article):
- The CF is part of the MPFS along with RVUs for work, PE and PLI.
- PI used to be ACI and before that it was MU.
- Are you a MIPS EC or are you in an APM?
- The MBI has replaced the HICN.
- MACRA created the QPP.
- Required elements on an 837P claim include DOS, POS, DX, and NPI.
- Should I use a QCDR or a QR or my EHR to report my MIPS activities?
- How does CMS use HCCs?
- The NCCI includes PTPs and MUEs.
- Have you confirmed information on file in PECOS and the NPPES?
- HARP accounts will replace EIDM accounts for QPP related issues.
Acronym use has become so prevalent that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides a look up tool for acronyms that are commonly used in Medicare. You may find this a handy aid in keeping up with all the changes we face and to make sure everyone is in synch with what an acronym stands for - especially when there can be multiple meanings. For example, what first comes to mind when you see “AA”? Is it anesthesiologist assistant or anesthesia care personally performed by an anesthesiologist?
The start of a new year is a good time to make sure that our communications are working as intended!
ACI Advancing Care Information
APM Alternative Payment Model
CF Conversion Factor
DOS Date of Service
EC Eligible Clinician
EHR Electronic Health Record
EIDM Enterprise Identity Management
HARP HCQIS Access Roles and Profile
HCC Hierarchical Condition Category
HCQIS Health Care Quality Information System
HICN Health Insurance Claim Number
MBI Medicare Beneficiary Identifier
MIPS Merit-based Incentive Payment System
MPFS Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
MU Meaningful Use
MUE Medically Unlikely Edit
NCCI National Correct Coding Initiative
NPI National Provider Identifier
NPPES National Plan and Provider Enumeration System
PE Practice Expense
PECOS Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System
PI Promoting Interoperability
PLI Professional Liability Insurance
POS Place of Service
PTP Procedure to Procedure
QCDR Qualified Clinical Data Registry
QPP Quality Payment Program
QR Qualified Registry
RVU Relative Value Unit
 BTW, why is there only one “M” in “CMS”?
 Another embedded acronym