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eriu: Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured Initiating and disemminating research to spark new policy discussion on health coverage issues.
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National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)

The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) is a national survey that provides information about 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. The survey was conducted annually from 1973 to 1981, in 1985, and annually since 1989. Each physician is randomly assigned to a 1-week reporting period. During this period, data for a systematic random sample of visits are recorded by the physician or office staff on an encounter form provided for that purpose. Data are obtained on patients' symptoms, physicians' diagnoses, and medications ordered or provided. The survey also provides statistics on the demographic characteristics of patients and services provided, including information on diagnostic procedures, patient management, and planned future treatment. A question pertaining to health insurance coverage is asked. The Primary Expected Source of Payment for a particular health visit is recorded. Categories include: Private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Worker's compensation, Self-pay, No charge, Other, and Unknown. Also, the survey records whether or not the patient belongs to an HMO.

Information about the NAMCS can be found at