Glossary of Healthcare Terms

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S Corporations

Corporations that can issue stock, but are limited to seventy-five stakeholders and can only issue one class of stock: common or preferred.


A flow-through taxable entity where earnings are only taxed once they are paid out to shareholders.

Safe Harbor

Specific regulatory criteria that must be met to shield an arrangement from liability, and are meant to protect practices unlikely to result in fraud or abuse.

Safety-Net Hospital

A hospital, often an academic hospital, which provides care to low-income, uninsured, or vulnerable patient populations.

Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope

"A laser scans your eyes in seconds, and then produces digital images of your retinas. Your doctor can use the images to check for abnormalities."

Secondary Equity Offering (SEO)

Shares of stock that are purchased from publicly traded firms.

Self-Designated Practice Specialty

"The specialty which (a physician) has chosen to designate for himself/herself."


Self-insuring employers make a conscious choice to undertake the risks associated with the cost of healthcare, and set aside money to pay these costs as they arise. Often, a self-insurer will hire a commercial insurer or third party administrator to run their medical benefits program and adjudicate claims.


The practice of referring a patient for a designated health service (DHS) to an entity in which the referring physician (or a member of his immediate family) has an ownership or investment interest.

Service Quality Indicators

Benchmarking metrics used to measure customer satisfaction regarding provided healthcare services.

Shared Losses

"A portion of the ACO

Shared Savings

"A portion of the ACO

Short Term Acute Care Hospitals

Hospitals whose patient base has an anticipated length of stay which is less than twenty-five days.

Short-Term Acute Care Hospital

A short-term hospital that has facilities, medical staff and all necessary personnel to provide diagnosis, care and treatment of a wide range of acute conditions, including injuries.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Also known as nursing homes, these facilities provide predominantly inpatient skilled nursing care and rehabilitative services and can be part of a hospital or hospital system. These facilities focus their attention on rehabilitating patients though specialty care and therapies, including physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy. They also house patients who have recently been discharged from a hospital and are in a transitional period before returning home.
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