trained in a certain branch of medicine or dentistry related to specific services or procedures (e.g., surgery, radiology, pathology); certain age categories of patients (e.g., geriatrics); certain body systems (e.g., dermatology, orthopedics, cardiology); or certain types of diseases (e.g., allergy, periodontics). Specialists usually have advanced education and training related to their specialties. *

Specialty Care

Services provided by medical specialists who generally do not have first contact with patients (e.g., cardiologists, urologists, dermatologists). In the United States, there has been a trend toward self-referral by patients for these services, rather than referral by primary care providers. *

Tertiary Care

Services provided by highly specialized providers (e.g., neurologists, thoracic surgeons, intensive care units). Such services frequently require highly sophisticated equipment and support facilities. The development of these services has largely been a function of diagnostic and therapeutic advances attained through basic and clinical biomedical research. *

Uncompensated Care

Service provided by physicians and hospitals for which no payment is received from the patient or from third-party payers. Some costs of these services may be covered through cost shifting. Not all uncompensated care results from charity care. It also includes bad debts from persons who are not classified as charity cases but who are unable or unwilling to pay their bills. *

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement