Infusion Center Definitions

Every industry has its vernacular and the Infusion Center industry is no different. We have compiled a list of common words, phrases, slang, and acronyms below to help the new and experienced alike talk the talk. Have a suggestion for a term not shown here? Send it over and we will put it up!

Buy & Bill

The term used to describe how a provider-based in-office infusion suite or a standalone infusion center acquires and seeks reimbursement for the medications they deliver to patients. The term is commonly used to refer to infusible or injectable medications. The provider or office “Buys” the medication and then “Bills” the insurance company or Medicare/Medicaid for the cost of the inventory. (hopefully at a profit)

Direct Supervision

A regulatory requirement from Medicare (CMS) and some private insurers that means the physician or nonphysician practitioner must be present during a patient treatment in order to be paid for services rendered.

The physician or nonphysician practitioner providing supervision must be “immediately available” and “interruptible” to provide assistance and direction throughout the performance of the procedure; however, he or she does not need to be present in the room when the procedure is performed.

For physician office settings, Medicare has specifically clarified the term “available” to mean that the provider is in the contiguous suite.


The continuous slow introduction of a solution or medication into a vein. Usually used to describe the medication delivery route of Intravenous for a patient.

Injectable Medication

Typically used at a high level to describe the route of administration for medications that must be delivered via intravenous, intravenous push, subcutaneous, or intramuscular procedure.

Intramuscular Injection (IM)

The term used to describe the route of administration of a medication through injection directly into the muscle of a patient.

Intravenous (IV)

Administration within or into a vein or veins. Used to describe the route for a medication delivery. Alternative delivery routes to “Intravenous” include INTRAVITREAL – into the eye, INTRASPINAL – into the spine, etc.

Intravenous Push (IVP)

A medication delivery method by rapid injection (push) into the vein (Intravenous) using a syringe. Typically administered by a registered nurse over a period of less than 15 minutes without the aid of an electronic or manual external pump.


An acronym that is short for IntraVenous ImmunoGlobulin. IVIG contains the pooled immunoglobulin G (IgG) immunoglobulins from the plasma of approximately a thousand or more blood donors.

IVIG is commonly used in infusion centers and suites to treat a number of immune deficiencies and neurological conditions.

Specialty Pharmacy

When used to describe a type of pharmacy business, a Specialty Pharmacy is a type of pharmacy that typically specializes in rare, biologic, IVIG, or specialty medications.

The term is also commonly used to describe the process by which a provider-based infusion suite or standalone infusion center acquires medications for patients. An office or provider may decide (or be required by contract) to have a Specialty Pharmacy provide a medication for a specific patient as an alternative to using the Buy & Bill method of acquiring the inventory.  Example: “This patient is going to be Specialty Pharmacy from now on because we can no longer Buy & Bill their medication.”  

Subcutaneous Injection (SQ)

Term used to describe the route of administration for medications that are delivered through a small gauge needle directly into the subcutaneous layer of the skin.