Hash­tag roulette

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

As some­one who has Googled AMGA in search of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal Group As­so­ci­a­tion only to find the Amer­i­can Meat Goat As­so­ci­a­tion’s web­site in­stead, Out­liers is aware that acronyms used in health­care are not unique to the world of medicine.

This is es­pe­cially true on Twit­ter where, by putting a # in front of name, sub­ject or comedic cliche (#amiright?)—you can cut through the clut­ter and find out what peo­ple are say­ing about sub­jects that in­ter­est you—usu­ally.

Un­for­tu­nately, for the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion—which has adopted the rather un­wieldy Twit­ter han­dle of @Amer­med­i­calassn— many oth­ers use #AMA to de­note the Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards, Amer­i­can Mo­tor­cy­cle As­so­ci­a­tion and some­thing in Span­ish that Out­liers couldn’t quite de­ci­pher. The AMGA has the same prob­lem, as it seems there are more #AMGA tweets in Span­ish than English.

The Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion’s Spe­cialty So­ci­ety Rel­a­tive Value Scale Up­date Com­mit­tee serves as a pay ad­vi­sory panel to the CMS and is bet­ter known as the “RUC.” But if you search for #RUC, you’ll also find protests over plans to close the Rut­gers univer­sity Cam­den cam­pus.

Speak­ing of Medi­care pay­ment, the sus­tain­able growth-rate for­mula—or Sgr—used to cal­cu­late Medi­care re­im­burse­ment for physi­cians is a com­monly tweeted topic, and do­ing a Twit­ter search of #SGR will turn up plenty of tweets from doc­tors urg­ing con­gres­sional ac­tion to repeal the spend­ing for­mula, which calls for slash­ing physi­cian pay by 27% on March 1.

There also ap­pears to be some other mean­ing for SGR in other lan­guages. For most young English-speak­ing tweet­ers, how­ever, #SGR ap­pears to stand for (ahem) “S%*t get­ting real.” Out­liers is stumped on the ex­act in­tent of this phrase, but—if Congress doesn’t act on stop­ping the threat­ened physi­cian pay cut—we have a feel­ing its mean­ing will be ap­par­ent Feb. 29.

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