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National Health Care Surveys


Data from the National Health Care Surveys are organized according to the health care settings in which the data are collected. This overview is intended to help you decide which survey(s) to select.

Ambulatory and hospital care settings

Physician offices

The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) is designed to meet the need for objective, reliable information about the provision and use of ambulatory medical care services in the United States. Findings are based on a sample of visits to non-federally employed office-based physicians who are primarily engaged in direct patient care. Physicians in the specialties of anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology are excluded from the survey.

Years survey was fielded: 1973-1981, 1985, 1989-present

Most recent year of data available: 2007

Emergency and outpatient hospital departments

The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) is designed to collect data on the utilization and provision of ambulatory care services in hospital emergency and outpatient departments. Findings are based on a national sample of visits to the emergency departments and outpatient departments of non-institutional general and short-stay hospitals, exclusive of federal, military, and Veterans Administration hospitals, located in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Years survey was fielded: 1992-present

Most recent year of data available: 2007

Ambulatory surgery

The National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery (NSAS) is the only nationally representative sample of ambulatory surgery visits. In 2006, we went back in the field collecting data from hospital-based and freestanding ambulatory surgery facilities for the first time in 10 years. Our 2006 survey has detailed data on facility characteristics. Data and reports will be available in 2009.

Years survey was fielded: 1994-1996, 2006

Most recent year of data available: 2006

Inpatient hospital care

Inpatient hospital care

The National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) is designed to meet the need for nationally representative information on inpatients discharged from nonfederal short-stay hospitals in the United States. Only hospitals with an average length of stay of fewer than 30 days for all patients, general hospitals, or children's general hospitals are included in the survey. Federal, military, and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, as well as hospital units of institutions (such as prison hospitals), and hospitals with fewer than six beds staffed for patient use, are excluded. In 2007, approximately 366,000 inpatient records were obtained from 422 hospitals. Beginning in 2008 the sample was reduced to 239 hospitals. The NHDS was last fielded in 2010 and data for that year will be available by early next year.

Years survey was fielded: 1965-2010
Most recent year of data available: 2009

The National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS) is a new survey that integrates inpatient data formerly collected by the National Hospital Discharge Survey with emergency department (ED), outpatient department (OPD), and ambulatory surgery center (ASC) data collected by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey . Currently a new sample of 500 hospitals is being recruited for this survey. During the first two years of the survey, hospitals will be asked to provide Uniform Bill (UB)-04 administrative claim data for all inpatients, as well as facility-level data through a facility questionnaire. In 2013, in addition to inpatient data, the hospitals will be asked to provide data on the utilization of health care services provided in their EDs, OPDs, and ASCs. Also in 2013, a sample of freestanding ASCs will be recruited.

Years survey was fielded: 2011- onward
Most recent year of data available: coming soon

Long-term care settings

Nursing homes

The National Nursing Home Survey (NNHS) is a continuing series of national sample surveys of nursing homes, their residents, and their staff. Although each of these surveys emphasized different topics, they all provided some common basic information about nursing homes, their residents, and their staff. All nursing homes included in this survey had at least three beds and were either certified (by Medicare or Medicaid) or had a state license to operate as a nursing home.

Years survey was fielded: 1973-1974, 1977, 1985, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2004

Most recent year of data available: 2004

Home and hospice care providers

The National Home and Hospice Care Survey (NHHCS) is a continuing series of surveys of home and hospice care agencies in the United States. Information was collected about agencies that provide home and hospice care and about their current patients and discharges. The NHHCS is based on a probability sample of home health agencies and hospices. The survey includes all agencies that are licensed or certified (by Medicare or Medicaid).

Years survey was fielded: 1992-1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2007

Most recent year of data available: 2007

Residential care facilities

The National Survey of Residential Care Facilities (NSRCF) is the first ever national survey of residential care places.

Year survey was fielded: 2010

Most recent year of data available: 2011

Long -term care providers

The National Study of Long-Term Care Providers (NSLTCP) will track trends in the supply and use of five major types of long-term care—assisted living and residential care communities, adult day services centers, home health agencies, nursing homes, and hospices. Every two years the NSLTCP will collect information about the characteristics of long-term care providers, the services they offer, and their staffing profile, as well as demographics, functional status and health of the people they serve.

Year survey was fielded: 2012
Most recent year of data available: expected late 2013



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Contact Us:
  • Division of Health Care Statistics
    National Center for Health Statistics
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  • Page last reviewed: November 6, 2015
  • Page last updated: August 15, 2012
  • Content source: CDC/National Center for Health Statistics
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