Data element name

Sub data element name


Code System Owner

Name211 LA
Phone number(626) 350-1841, ext 2147
AddressP.O. Box 726, San Gabriel, CA 91778
Code System Maintainer (Steward)Name211 LA
Phone number(626) 350-1841, ext 2147
AddressP.O. Box 726, San Gabriel, CA 91778
Code System PublisherName211 LA
Phone number(626) 350-1841, ext 2147
AddressP.O. Box 726, San Gabriel, CA 91778
Code System NamesFormal name of the code system211 Human Services Indexing System (formerly known as 211 LA Taxonomy of Human Services)
Short name of the code system211HSIS
Code System Technical IdentifiersHTA-endorsed URI
HTA-endorsed OID
Other URIs
Other OIDs
Case Sensitive Codes (TRUE/FALSE)TRUE (default value)
Code System InformationLink

Structure and Contents 

The 211 Human Services Indexing System (formerly the 211 LA Taxonomy): 

  • Is comprehensive with a logical niche for every concept. 
  • Incorporates terminology accepted in the field. 
  • Contains terms that are clearly named, defined, and cross-referenced. 
  • Differentiates between the services agencies provide and the target populations they serve, avoiding the common classification pitfall of splitting services which are essentially the same only on the basis of the different groups that utilize them. 
  • Begins with the perspective of how services are delivered rather than the funding streams they follow, the goals they are trying to achieve, the problems they attempt to resolve, or the organizational structure through which they are delivered.   
  • Structures terms in a hierarchical arrangement with mutually exclusive categories, making the logical relationship between terms an integral part of its structure and supporting easier and more reasoned indexing and retrieval once the structure is understood.   
  • Has a flexible structure which permits growth and change as the human services delivery system evolves. 
  • Can be customized to meet the unique needs of communities. 
  • Is designed specifically for an automated environment.

The 211HSIS contains more than 10,000 terms that are organized into a hierarchical structure that shows the relationships among terms. There are ten basic service categories with a separate section for target populations or beneficiaries:   

  • Basic Needs 
  • Consumer Services 
  • Criminal Justice and Legal Services 
  • Education 
  • Environment and Public Health/Safety 
  • Health Care 
  • Income Support and Employment 
  • Individual and Family Life 
  • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services 
  • Organizational/Community/International Services 
  • Target Populations 

Each concept is broken down into up to six increasingly specific levels.  Not all sections include six levels. Some may, for example, have only two or three. The following example under Health Care illustrates the hierarchical arrangement: 

  Level I   L     Health Care 

  Level II  LR       Rehabilitation 

  Level III LR-8000     Speech and Hearing 

  Level IV LR-8000.0500    Audiology 

  Level V  LR-8000.0500-800     Sign Language Instruction 

  Level VI LR-8000.0500-800.05    American Sign Language

Types of Terms (Facets) 

The 211HSIS incorporates a faceted index to facilitate use and filtering by each of the following distinct domains.  Additional details are summarized in the full 211HSIS training and use documentation, and in the forthcoming HL7 Gravity Implementation Guide.

Service: Service indexing allows you to specify in detail what an organization does.   

Organization/Facility Type: Organization/facility type indexing allows you to specify what an organization is. It permits the user to filter entries by senior centers, hospitals, adult schools or other types of organizations.

Modality/Delivery Mode: The modality terms provide information about how a service is provided rather than the nature of the service itself. For example, you can search for programs that help people who are seeking a divorce and distinguish between those that provide legal counseling, mediation or actual representation in court.

Named Programs: Some terms carry the formal name by which particular programs (mostly those at the federal level) are generally known to professionals and end users alike, e.g., Medicaid, TANF.   

Target Populations: The last section of the 211HSIS contains target population terms which indicate the people for whom services are designed, the who facet. Examples include people with developmental disabilities, in a certain occupation, or who have been diagnosed with a specific health condition. 

Data Elements in the 211HSIS

  • Term Identification Numbers (Codes): The alphanumeric codes mark the place and level of terms within the hierarchy. The computer has no way of knowing that Rehabilitation has anything to do with Health Care or that Speech and Hearing is a subset of Rehabilitation. But it can readily tell that LR-8000 is a subset of LR and that LR is, in turn, a subset of L. The ID numbers, not the terms, create the logic of the hierarchy.  
  • Term Names: The term names indicate the preferred wording for service concepts in the hierarchical display. An effort is made to select clear, unambiguous wording that accurately describes the service each term represents and to use terminology that is accepted in the field.   
  • Definitions: Definitions are provided for all terms and serve as a touchstone to ensure that different people are using terms the same way. They are descriptive of the way services are provided, not prescriptive for what services ought to be. Definitions are not a substitute for service narratives. Different organizations may offer the same service in different ways. The service narrative needs to describe these individual differences. 
  • See Also References: See also references identify related terms in other parts of the hierarchy. They help to assure that indexers and searchers have found the most appropriate term. 
  • Use References: Use references are synonyms for preferred terms in the hierarchy. They help to accommodate regional differences in the language and facilitate common language word/phrase searches using alternative terminology. There are more than 30,000 use references in the 211HSIS.
  • Facet: Each term is assigned to one of five facets which capture its intended use, as summarized above. 
  • Bibliographic References: Bibliographic References list source material for definitions and structure.  
  • Comments: The comments field provides information about a term including tips for indexers about how a term should be used or help in distinguishing the term from others that may be similar.

Additional Special Features

Related Concepts: Many organizations are accustomed to a classification system whose primary method of organization is by target group focus or problem: services for seniors, people who have disabilities, people who are homeless and so forth. These users may be disoriented by an indexing system that is structured primarily by services. We have developed a set of target groups/problems and connected them with 211HSIS terms for services that are typically associated with those groups. Having access to the related concepts categories allows users to choose to look at the 211HSIS through a different lens.   

External System Crosswalks: 211 LA County has crosswalked the 211HSIS to six other classification structures: UWASIS which was published by United Way of America and is now out of print, the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE), published by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at the Urban Institute and the Nonprofit Program Classification System (NPC), also published by NCCS, the AIRS Problems/Needs List and the Canadian Problems/Needs List and the Health Related Social Needs crosswalk that used CMS funded programs to track the needs of patients whose social needs may be interfering with positive health outcomes.

U.S. and Canadian Locales: There are three versions (locales) of the 211HSIS: the U.S. English locale which includes terms and definitions that are appropriate for users in the United States, and two others that have been configured for use in Canada, one in English, the other in French. 

Arrangement or agreements with HL7 for use of content
Version management
The 211HSIS is updated and new versions are released monthly. All past versions are cataloged by the month and year of their release, and are available next to the current version on our website.
Code System Copyright, Intellectual Property and LicensingCopyright Statement"The 211HSIS and the selection, compilation, collection, arrangement and assembly thereof are protected by U.S. and international copyright, trademark and other laws, and you acknowledge that these rights are valid and enforceable. We [211LA] retain and shall own all right, title and interest in and to the 211HSIS Website and any content contained therein (except for any Public Domain Material) and any derivative works or other modifications thereof, including, without limitation, all copyright, trademark, trade secret and other intellectual rights, subject only to the limited license set forth herein. You hereby assign, and agree to assign, to us all right, title and interest (including all intellectual property rights) throughout the world that you have or may have in the 211HSIS Website or any content contained therein (including with respect to any modifications suggested by, or other contributions made by, you), which assignment shall be deemed effective as to any future modifications or contributions immediately upon the creation thereof. You further irrevocably waive any "moral rights" or other rights with respect to attribution of authorship or integrity of any modifications suggested by, or other contributions made by, you under any applicable law under any legal theory.

The structure of the services index and definitions of the terms contained in the 211HSIS Website were originally published in A Taxonomy of Human Services A Conceptual Framework with Standardized Terminology and Definitions for the Field, Copyright© 1983-2011 Information and Referral Federation of Los Angeles County, Inc., PO Box 726, San Gabriel, CA 91778. No part of this listing of human services terms and definitions may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Information and Referral Federation of Los Angeles County, Inc."

Copyright Information
Intellectual Property Information(a)    211HSIS. As between 211LA and HL7, all intellectual property rights in and to the 211HSIS, including all copyright therein, shall vest and remain with 211LA. HL7 hereby assigns, and agrees to assign, to 211LA all intellectual property rights throughout the world HL7 may have, including all copyrights, in the 211HSIS, which assignment shall be deemed effective as to future contributions to the 211HSIS immediately upon creation thereof.
(b)    HL7 Standards. As between HL7 and 211LA, all intellectual property rights in and to the HL7 standards, including all copyrights therein, shall vest and remain with HL7. 211LA hereby assigns, and agrees to assign, to HL7 all intellectual property rights throughout the world 211LA may have, including all copyrights, in HL7 standards (excluding the 211HSIS and any HL7 Products), which assignment shall be deemed effective as to future contributions to the HL7 standards immediately upon creation thereof. 
Licensing Information
HTA endorsement status (Draft, In review, Endorsed for use, Pending re-endorsement, Retired) ValueIn Review
Assignment date20220614
HTA review statusLast review date
Next review date
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1 Comment

  1. Discussed during the 2022-11-09 vocab co-chair call. Should the proposed url, remove the trailing "/"?