National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 1996 summary

D A Woodwell
Advance Data 1997 December 17, (295): 1-25

OBJECTIVES: This report describes ambulatory care visits made to physician offices within the United States. Statistics are presented on selected physician, patient, and visit characteristics of ambulatory care visits.

METHODS: The data presented in this report were collected from the 1996 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). The NAMCS is part of the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey, which measures health care utilization across various types of providers. The NAMCS is a national probability sample survey of visits to office-based physicians in the United States. Sample data are weighted to produce annual estimates.

RESULTS: During 1996, an estimated 734.5 million visits were made to physician offices in the United States, an overall rate of 2.8 visits per person. One quarter of the NAMCS visits were made to general and family physicians, which was significantly higher than the other 13 specialties. Persons 75 years and over had the highest rate of physician office visits, 6.3 visits per person. Females had a significantly higher rate of visits to physicians offices than males did overall, as did white persons compared with black persons. Of all visits made to these offices in 1996, 87 percent were covered by some form of insurance, and 8.7 percent were paid "out-of-pocket." There were an estimated 87.6 million injury-related visits during 1996, or 33.1 visits per 100 persons. Three-quarters of these visits were for unintentional injuries.

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