by Caitlin Rossiter
I drove to NCSL this beautiful AM and listened to an NPR analysis of the SCOTUS oral arguments on the ACA. The story discussed the rulings of the AIA applicability and noted that the IRS ruled it applicable. The ESQ who represented states discussed the unconstitutionality of the individual mandates and the ESQ who represented the USDHHS, discussed ERISA and HIPPA, federal regulations that address economic and confidentiality concerns in healthcare.
As the debates continued, my DNA started to boil from confusion. Traffic grew heavy from construction, no doubt funded by ARRA dollars. I needed GPS or ESP to navigate this world of acronyms—and a detour! I switched stations ASAP and listened to ABBA’s rendition of SOS.
Acronyms inundate our everyday speech, especially in the world of government. They are abbreviations of words or phrases, formed by the initial components or letters and are pronounced in different stylistic manners depending on the speaker or content. For example, people may individuate the letters of A, A, R, P, whereas others may say AARP—if you’re from Massachusetts, like my family, omit the R.
FYI: Some acronyms are capitalized, some are mixed with numbers (K9), and some are even regularly used words like laser, radar, and scuba.
Often times, acronyms can make even the most in-the-know person feel out-of-the-loop. Personally, I maintain a list of acronyms on my HP desktop, which is helpful when reading various documents.
Imagine reading a record of testimony before the legislative health committee made by a healthcare provider. The record references a health report from a PPO or HMO that requires a patient to receive an EKG along with an FDA approved treatment for CVD. The PCP suggests filling the Rx at CVS (not to be confused with the one in the body) and recommends reviewing CMS forms to confirm dual-eligibility for Medicare and SSI automatic prescription drug coverage. Moreover, the record states the patient has two children under five, one who has ASD, and receives TANF, SCHIP, SNAP (AKA food stamps), and WIC.
We are drowning in an alphabet soup of acronyms.
Anyway, I must GTTP and get back to my health policy report on LTC which is due B4 COB. Explaining the meaning of acronyms at the beginning of a document, or throughout if the document is lengthy, is important for readers. I hope this all makes sense. TTFN, TTYL, and thanks for reading.
**Acronym Used Above
AAA-Anti-Aircraft Artillery/American Automobile Association
AARP- just AARP
(formerly American Association of Retired Persons)
ABBA-the band members first initials: Agnetha / Bjorn / Benny / Anni-Frid
ACA-Affordable Care Act
AKA-Also Known As
AM- Latin: ante-meridiem, English: before the Sun has crossed the line
ASAP-As Soon As Possible
ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder
AWOL-Absent Without Leave
COPD-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CVS-Customer Value Store/Cardiovascular System
DNA-Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (blood)
DOD-Department of Defense
DOT-Department of Transportation
EKG (or ECG)-Electrocardiogram
EPA-Environmental Protection Agency
ERISA-Employee Retirement Income Security Act
ESP-Extra Sensory Perception
ESQ-Esquire (an attorney)
FDA-Food and Drug Administration
FYI-For Your Information
GPS-Global Positioning System
GTTP-Get To The Point
HIPAA-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
HMO-Health Maintenance Organization
INN-International Nonproprietary Name
IRS-Internal Revenue Service
K9-canine, police dog
Laser-Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
LTC-Long Term Care
NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NCSL-National Conference of State Legislatures
NLRA-National Labor Relations Act
NPR-National Public Radio
PCP-Primary Care Physician
PPO-Preferred Provider Organization
Radar-Radio Detection and Ranging
SCOTUS-Supreme Court of the United States
Scuba-Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
SCHIP-State Children’s Health Insurance Program
SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SOS-Save Our Ship
SSI-Supplemental Security Income
TANF-Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
TTFN-Ta, Ta, For Now
TTYL-Talk To You Later
USDA-United States Department of Agriculture
USDHHS-United State Department of Health and Human Services
VA-Department of Veterans Affairs
WIC-Women, Infant, Child Special Supplementary Nutrition Program
WWII-The second World War