This report describes ambulatory care visits to hospital outpatient departments in the United States. Statistics are presented on selected hospital, clinic, patient, and visit characteristics.
The data presented in this report were collected from the 1997 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). NHAMCS is part of the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey that measures health care utilization across various types of providers. NHAMCS is a national probability sample survey of visits to hospital outpatient and emergency departments of non-Federal, short-stay, and general hospitals in the United States. Sample data are weighted to produce annual estimates.
During 1997, an estimated 77.0 million visits were made to hospital outpatient departments in the United States, an overall rate of 28.9 per 100 persons. Visit rates did not vary by age. Black persons had higher rates of visits than white persons. Of all visits made to hospital outpatient departments in 1997, 34.1 percent and 27.8 percent, respectively, listed private insurance and Medicaid as the primary expected source of payment, and 20.1 percent were made by patients belonging to a health maintenance organization. There were an estimated 7.1 million injury-related outpatient department visits during 1997.