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Public Health & Philanthropy Lexicon

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uncompensated care — services provided by physicians and hospitals for which no payment is received from the patient or from third-party payers. Some costs for 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.

underinsured — people with public or private insurance policies that do not cover all necessary health care services, resulting in out-of-pocket expenses that exceed their ability to pay.

underrepresented minorities — racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in a particular field relative to their numbers in the general population, most often used in relation to the health care field, postsecondary education and positions of political influence. See diversity in the health professions.

underserved — individuals or populations that face barriers to accessing health care and other resources for reasons of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, disability, religion, language group, geographic area or social position. See medically underserved area and medically underserved population.

uninsured — people who lack public or private health insurance.

utilization —  rates of use of a single service or type of service, e.g., hospital care, physician visits and prescription drugs. Utilization is also expressed in rates per unit of population at risk for a given period.

utilization review — evaluation of the necessity, appropriateness and efficiency of the use of health care services, procedures and facilities. In a hospital, this includes reviews of the appropriateness of admissions, services ordered and provided, lengths of stay, and discharge practices, both on a concurrent and retrospective basis. A utilization review can be done by a peer review group or a public agency.

vital statistics — statistics relating to births (natality), deaths (mortality), marriages, health and disease (morbidity). Vital statistics for the United States are published by the National Center for Health Statistics.

wellness — a dynamic state of physical, mental and social well-being that comes from a way of life that equips the individual to realize the full potential of his or her capabilities and to overcome and compensate for weaknesses. A lifestyle that supports wellness recognizes the importance of nutrition, physical fitness, stress reduction and self-responsibility. Wellness has been viewed as the result of four key factors over which an individual has varying degrees of control: human biology, environment, health care organization (system) and lifestyle.

Wellness Approach — The California Wellness Foundation’s approach to grantmaking, which includes a commitment to responsive, statewide grantmaking; core operating support; and funding of direct services, public policy and capacity building.

women-centered health care — health care that takes into account the needs of women and creates an environment that is appealing and welcoming to women and girls.

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