We’ve all been there. We’ve gone into our first meeting in our new job at a new company and sat there nodding our heads in agreement with the speaker, only to walk out of the meeting thinking, “What the heck was that all about?” There was something about the SOPs of filling in the BSCs in order to complete the MICPs by the end of the year. Did anyone think to provide new employees with a handbook of company frequently used acronyms? Of course they didn’t and for good reason. It’s an earned rite of passage to emerge into the league of the acronym inner circle.

We move in and out of several acronym inner circles in our lives. We volunteer for the PTA then move into the AARP and along the way volunteer for the HBA. The earned rite of passage is sometimes a slow process where there are only a few acronyms to learn to join the inner circle. Sometimes it can take several months or years before one is totally educated on all the acronyms. However, once the encryption is decoded and we speak to others in the circle we know we have arrived into an elite league. If you have reached this point in your respective groups, you can consider yourself an expert.

The new age of health reform policy has served as a catalyst for a new acronym inner circle to emerge. Not only has the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA) put the wheels in motion for expanding insurance coverage to millions of Americans, it has also expanded the list of ‘need to know’ acronyms by about just as many; thus, creating a new acronym inner circle. I’ve sat in several meetings and conferences where the experts (those who know the code) spilled out the various acronyms of policy to enlighten those of us who were still earning our rites of passage. However, someone forgot the no acronym handbook rule. The Alliance for Health Reform has issued a coveted list of acronyms and definitions for health reform policy at http://www.allhealth.org/glossary/. Now, armed with a code book, I have secretly accelerated my journey into the health reform policy acronym inner circle.

As a whole, I like acronym inner circles. They provide me a simple gauge to monitor my expertise in a certain area. I realize that at about the same time I can spill out every acronym in the circle that it correlates with it being time for me to move into another circle and begin learning some new acronyms. So next time you find yourself deciphering ubiquitous acronym code delight in the fact that you are in the process of becoming a member of another acronym inner circle in your life’s journey.

See here where not understanding inner circle code led George Costanza: