Glossary of Drug and Alcohol Terms

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AA – Alcoholics Anonymous. Self-help fellowship with recommended program (steps) which when followed (working one's recovery program) could help individuals maintain their commitment toward abstinence and grow in their sobriety.

AAA – Area Agency on Aging. Department responsible for administering Bucks County's programs and services for older adults and senior citizens, including home care, meals, etc.

Act 33 – Act 124 of 1975 & Act 136 of 1982. Child Protective Services Law.

Act 35 – This Act strengthened the procedures for determining a recipient’s eligibility to receive Medical Assistance Benefits from the PA Department of Human Services. The changes include residency, employability and age requirements. The Act went into effect in 1996.

Act 126 – This Act broadens the information that can be shed on individuals in treatment and included in Juvenile Court.

Act 152 – Legislation that provides for an allocation of state funds to SCAs for the provision of inpatient non-hospital detoxification and rehabilitation services to recipients of Medical Assistance (MA). Prior to this Act, public assistance recipients were limited to outpatient or hospital-based alcohol and other drug treatment services through their MA. After January 1997 Act 152 funding for the five Southeastern counties was rolled into their capitated Medicaid Managed Care contract with the state Department of Human Services.

Act 211 – A state law that requires all public schools to provide instruction in alcohol, chemical and tobacco abuse in grades K-12 and to establish a community coalition to address these issues.

Act 1972-63 – Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act.

Act 1972-64 – The Controlled Substance, Drug Device and Cosmetic Act.

Act 1985-119 – Established the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Act 1986-64 – Amended the Insurance Company Law of 1921 to include benefits for alcohol abuse and dependence in group insurance plans.

Act 1988-152 – Amended the Act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175) providing for benefits for non-hospital alcohol and drug detoxification and treatment.

Act 1989-106 – Amended the Insurance Company Law of 1921 to include benefits for drug abuse and dependency in group insurance plans.

Act 1997-53 – Amended Bucks County’s partner in the provision of behavioral health services to Medicaid recipients.

Advocacy – Interceding on behalf of an individual; speaking out on behalf of an individual when negotiating with social service agencies and treatment agencies when the individual is denied services or treatment and cannot successfully negotiate on his or her own.

AFA – “Against Facility Advice” is the term used when an individual leaves treatment without the advice of the treatment team.

Aftercare – Any activities designed to reduce potential for relapse to chemical use/abuse. Aftercare programs support the recovering person who desires to refrain from use of all mood-altering chemicals.

Al-Anon – Self-help fellowship for friends and relatives of the alcoholic, it helps the involved other persons to understand alcoholism and its effect on family and friends. It provides a manageable solution to continuing on with one's life.

Alateen – Similar to Al-Anon; for teenage children living with an active alcoholic.

Appeal – A request for a reversal of a denial of authorization for a prescribed or recommended service that was made by an appropriately qualified practitioner.

ASAM – The American Society of Addiction Medicine; has developed patient placement criteria for the treatment of psychoactive substance use disorders. ASAM criteria provides a way to match individuals with substance use disorders with the services and tools they need for a successful and long-term recovery.

ASO – Administrative Service Organization - A managed care company may fully manage care under a contract at a capitated rate. Additionally, managed care companies are sometimes contracted to provide certain administrative services at a special rate to assist in the provision of treatment. In this later case, the contractee may be referred to as an ASO.

Assessment – The process of gathering information to ascertain the degree and severity of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use, the social, physical and psychological effects of that use, and the strengths and needs of the individual.

ATOD – Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs.

AWOL – “Away Without Leave” is a term used when an individual leaves treatment without the advice of the treatment team.

BAC – Blood Alcohol Content. In Pennsylvania, drivers with .10 BAC are deemed legally intoxicated.

BCDAC, Inc. – Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc.  Designated by the County Commissioners as the agency responsible for the planning, implementation and supervision of all alcohol and other drug prevention, intervention and treatment services in Bucks County. Operates with the assistance of a policy setting, governing board appointed by the County Commissioners.

BFIC – Bloomsdale-Fleetwing Improvement Committee. A grassroots community based civic association in Bristol Township.  

BSU – Base Service Unit. Terminology for the assessment and intake function, provided under contract with the Bucks County Office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation, within the four Community Mental Health Centers in Bucks County; Penn Foundation, Lenape Valley Foundation, Penndel Mental Health Center and Bristol Bensalem Mental Health Center. Through usage, the centers themselves have become known as Base Service Units, or BSUs. 

Care Management (Administrative Care Management) – This term refers to the process of managing care for individuals and encompasses the determination of eligibility for funding/services and medical/clinical necessity. In our offices it includes authorization and re-authorization for services and retrospective reviews, utilization management and individual grievance and appeal.

Case Management – Activities designed to ensure individual continuity of service, efficient and effective utilization of available resources and appropriateness of service to meet individual needs.  In Bucks County, case management is carried out as facility/agency level monitored and overseen by BCDAC. It is a strength based process.

C & Y – Children & Youth Social Services Agency. Department responsible for administering Bucks County's programs and services for children and youth, including protective services, foster care, etc.

Capitation – A method of paying providers for health care services. Under a capitation arrangement, the plan pays the provider a set monthly amount for each member, regardless of how often the member actually uses services during that month, if at all. The assumption is that payments received for patients who require few or no services will offset the cost for those patients who need more extensive care.

Ceiling – The maximum amount of funds, under fee for service reimbursement that can be drawn upon by an agency via the delivery of services.

CIS – Client Information System – Computerized system BDAP has in place statewide to replace, to record and track uniform data elements on individuals in treatment.

COA/ACOA – Children of Alcoholics/Adult Children of an Alcoholic.

Community Development Approach/Philosophy – An approach to prevention that develops a community so that all elements of the community have the capability to address alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention needs. Prevention activities can occur within the workplace, family, school, peer group, neighborhood, community and countywide.

Communities That Care – A community development approach endorsed as the state model for drug abuse and violence prevention. This model is active throughout Bucks County.    

Concurrent Review – A routine review of the medical necessity for continued treatment, by an internal or external utilization reviewer, during the course of an individual’s treatment. Our Approval of Care office conducts concurrent reviews for individuals.

Consent – A form that an individual signs which gives permission to someone else to send or receive information on that individual.

Continuum of Care – A licensed or approved system of treatment services which enables the matching of individuals with the appropriate type and level of care. The continuum of care is comprised of a network of specialized service components, which include detoxification, residential treatment and rehabilitation, intensive outpatient partial hospitalization, outpatient and transitional living.

Continued Stay Review – The process for reviewing the appropriateness of continued stay at a level of care and/or referral to a more appropriate level of care. Our Approval of Care Department conducts these reviews on individuals.

Co-occurring Disorder – A term used to identify a substance use disorder when present with a major mental illness.

Co-pay or co-payment – The out-of-pocket fee that patients pay directly to a provider when they receive medical services.

CCAP – County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. Home of affiliate organizations of county social service programs including the PA Association of County Drug & Alcohol Administrators.

CSAP – Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Federal lead agency for alcohol, tobacco and other drug Prevention. A division under SAMHSA. (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration)

CSAT – Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. A Federal lead agency in treatment which in turn is a division of the Health & Human Services of addictions, a division under SAMHSA. (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration)

Cultural Competency – A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and competence policies that come together to enable systems, agencies or communities to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

D.A.R.E. – Drug Abuse Resistance Education – D.A.R.E. is a 16 session AOD prevention education program facilitated by law enforcement officers. Usually taught in the "exit grade" before middle school, it is designed to equip elementary school children with skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with AOD, including tobacco.

DASPOP – Drug & Alcohol Service Provider Organization of Pennsylvania. This is a 501©(4) lobbying Agency.

DDAP – Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol. The state level policy, implements federal and state drug/alcohol legislation by issuing rules, standards and regulations and provides funds to the SCA’s for use in the provision of services at the county level.

Deductible – A specified dollar amount that is paid by a patient before the plan begins to pay for covered services.

DHS – Department of Human Services.

DOE – Department of Education (state).

DOH – Department of Health. In PA, the Cabinet office of which BDAP is a part. The DOH has legislative authority for licensure of all drug and alcohol services and programs.

DUI – Driving Under the Influence. The act of operating a vehicle when your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level is .08 or greater.

EAP – Employee Assistance Program. A service at the work site or available to employees whereby the employee can determine if a personal problem is causing a work related problem, receive an evaluation and, where appropriate, referral to treatment.

Fee for Service – A reimbursement mechanism where a negotiated rate is paid only after the delivery of a specific service which is being purchased from an agency per a contractual agreement.

Grievance or Complaint – The filing of a formal complaint by an individual, family member or advocate when an issue is not resolved to the individual’s satisfaction.

Halfway House – A licensed inpatient non-hospital residential treatment and rehabilitation facility that provides substance abuse treatment and other services for chemically dependent persons in a supportive, chemically free environment. It emphasizes protective and supportive elements of family living, self-help, assistance in economic and social adjustment and integration of life skills into daily life and a solid program of recovery. Individuals entering this environment must have already had some experience in another type of treatment. This is a live in/work out environment.

HHS – Health & Human Services. The federal Cabinet office that dictates national drug/alcohol policy, implements federal drug/alcohol related legislation and issues to the states for drug/alcohol services appears in the HHS budget.

HIO – Health Insurance Organization.

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 will ensure the security and confidentiality of medical records.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – A managed care plan that insures and provides covered health care services to patients through contractual relationships with specified physicians, hospitals and other providers. Except in emergencies, covered health services generally are limited to those provided by the member's primary care physician or authorized by this physician and provided by designated providers.

LOC – Refers to level of care.

MA or Medicaid – Medical Assistance. A program administered by the state Department of Human Services (OMAP  and OMHSAS), which provides reimbursement to licensed agencies for certain drug and alcohol medical/counseling services provided to individuals whose income falls below specified levels. The Medicaid Managed care program is managed by Bucks County Department of Behavioral Health.

MA Eligible – An individual becomes eligible for MA on the date that the County Office of Assistance (COA) opens their coverage.

MA Enrolled – An individual becomes enrolled when they are eligible for medical assistance and as a result their behavioral health care becomes covered by an HMO or managed care company.

Managed Care – Approaches and insurance plans (including HMOs and PPOs) that promote efficient use of health care services by emphasizing preventive medicine and overseeing the entire range of patient care.  These plans also assess the appropriateness of administered health care services. Many managed care plans limit coverage to services received from contracted providers or require higher out-of-pocket costs. Cost containment and quality assurance methods include the formation of preferred provider networks, gate keeping (or pre-certification), care management, relapse prevention, retrospective review, and claims payment.

Managed Care Organization – This terminology is used locally to refer to a specialty organization providing managed care services for mental health and substance abuse (behavioral health).

M.E.D.S. – Project M.E.D.S. – Medication Education Designed for Seniors is a program whereas trained senior volunteers do presentations before senior groups regarding medication misuse. It is a joint project of BCDAC and Bucks County Area on Aging.

MES – Mobile Engagement Services.

MH/DP – Mental Health/Developmental Programs. Department responsible for administering Bucks County's programs and services for citizens who are mentally ill or retarded. Includes the Base Service Units (BSUs), involuntary commitments, etc.

MAT – Medication Assisted Treatment.

NA – Narcotics Anonymous.  Self-help fellowship, similar to AA. However, the focus of meetings is on abstinence from drugs other than alcohol.

NarAnon – Similar to Al-Anon. However, the focus is on coping with life with someone using drugs other than alcohol.

NASADAD – National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors.

NCADI – National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. Created by a merger of the clearinghouse for NIAAA and NIDA, this agency is the national resource for up-to-date print and audiovisual information.

NIAAA – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Similar to NIDA; however, the focus is on alcohol.

NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse, agency within the National Institute of Health as of 10/92, responsible primarily for research into scope and causes of drug abuse, its prevention and treatment. From time to time NIDA makes funds available through competitive grants for research projects.

OCYF – Office of Children, Youth and Families, within the PA Department of Human Services.

OMAP – Office of Medical Assistance Programs, within the PA Department of Human Services.

OMH – Office of Mental Health, within the PA Department of Human Services.

OMHSAS – Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, PA Department of Human Services.  Source of funding to BCDAC, Inc. to address impact of welfare reform.

OVR – Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, PA Department of Labor and Industry.

PACDAA – Pennsylvania Association of County Drug & Alcohol Administrators. The statewide association of Executive Directors and Drug & Alcohol Program Specialists who are responsible for the operation of each county's “Single County Authority.”

PCCD – Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency. The source for planning, statistical analysis and program development for Pennsylvania's justice system. Also a funding source for criminal justice initiatives.

PCPA – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association that includes a division for mental health and substance abuse providers across the state.

Placement – The process of matching the assessed service and treatment needs of an individual with the appropriate level of care and type of service.

POI – Proof of income.

POR – Proof of residency.

Pre-Certification – The initial process of determining what services should be authorized for the individuals/patients care.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – A managed care plan that offers discounted fees on health care services administered by a network of providers with whom the plan has negotiated lower fee-for-service rates. A PPO patient is usually permitted to seek services out of the network, although at a higher out-of-pocket cost.

Prevention – Planned strategies, targeted at the total population or stratas, designed to preclude or reduce those uses of alcohol and other drugs, which have a negative impact on the individual, the family, and the larger society. Includes activities that promote positive behaviors, i.e. increased self-understanding, improved interpersonal and human relations’ skills and effective coping behaviors. Federal prevention categories are Information Dissemination, Education, Community Based, Problem Identification, Environment and Alternatives.

Primary Care Physician – A physician specializing in family practice, general internal medicine or pediatrics. In an HMO plan, the primary care physician oversees all health care services administered to a patient, whether by his or her own practice or by referral to other providers.

Program Funding or Cost Reimbursement – A reimbursement mechanism where a block of funds are given to an agency prior to provision of a service, in anticipation that some pre-agreed upon level of service will actually be provided. Typically an agency is paid based on a monthly invoice for expenses net of all other revenues.

Provider – Any individual or organization that delivers health care services, including but not limited to, primary care physicians, specialists, diagnostic testing centers, hospitals, home care agencies and pharmacies.

QA – Quality Assurance – The process of insuring that services are provided in a quality way to individuals with meaningful results.

Red Ribbon Campaign – A national campaign usually observed at the end of October, where the wearing of red ribbons denotes a commitment to a drug-free lifestyle.

Referral – An authorization generally made by the primary care physician, for a specialized health care service beyond the expertise of that primary care physician. The referral documents the medical need for the service and ensures payment.

Regulation – Any document promulgated by an agency under statutory authority in the administration of any statute administered by or relating to the agency or prescribing agency practice and procedure. A regulation establishes a standard of conduct, which has the force of law.

RFA – Request for authorization is a form that outlines individual demographic information, level of care requests and authorizations as well as funding pool. It is required on the application to our agency for funding for treatment services.

RFP/RFI – Request for Proposals/Request for Information – The formal invitation to submit proposals for funding to a grant source.

Risk – The expected financial cost of insuring health coverage. The probability of risk is referred to as high or low, with high-risk patients more likely to require services and incur greater costs.

SADD – Students Against Drinking & Drugs. National organization of students with local chapters usually based in schools, whose primary goal is to prevent drinking/driving deaths.

Safe & Drug-Free Communities Act – The federal Drug-free Schools and Communities Schools and Act of 1986 requires all schools participating in its funding to ensure that the school will be an important part of a community-wide effort to achieve a drug-free population.

SAMHSA – Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration. Lead federal agency for Substance Abuse & Mental Health and a division of Health and Human Services.

SAP – Student Assistance Program.  A service within the schools similar in structure to the EAP. The SAP may include the provision of intervention level and aftercare services within the school.

Screening – The first step in identifying the presence or absence of alcohol or other drug (AOD) use whereby data is collected on an individual in order to make an initial determination if an alcohol or other drug problem exists and/or to determine if emergency services are warranted.

Self-sufficiency – The point at which the individual is able to maintain recovery efforts and service needs without the help of the case manager or significant support from other social service agencies.

Service Planning – The development of a specific plan for each individual, with provisions or action steps necessary for the individual to access identified needed support services; a well-documented plan of action for the individual to achieve and maintain participation in needed services.

SSA – Single State Agency – The State Agency appointed to administer public funds for the Commonwealth drug and alcohol program. In Pennsylvania, this is the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP).

Strengths based approach – A model of case management which identifies a person’s strengths and potentials, and takes an active role in helping individuals secure community resources; an approach that provides the individual with support toward asserting direct control over the search for resources. Advocacy is a major emphasis of this model.

Subcontractor/Provider – Agency or individuals receiving funding service from BCDAC, Inc. via contract.

Subrecipient – Another term for subcontractor or provider.

Treatment – Activities carried out to assist individuals to deal with the negative causative effects or consequences of drug or alcohol abuse. Includes the application of social, psychological or medical service methods.

TX – Stands for treatment.

Unit Cost – The specific amount paid for a defined service, i.e., the cost for one-day (unit) of residential treatment might be $80 and the cost for one hour (unit) of family therapy at an outpatient program might be $40.

Utilization review – An assessment of each patient case, which examines how health care services are delivered and the appropriateness of the care provided.

WFS – Women For Sobriety. Self-help program for women who are recovering from alcoholism/drug addiction. WFS offers a "new life" program to women with a major focus on improving their self-esteem and concept.