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Delayed care because wait too long in doctor's office

Codes and Frequencies

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DELAYWAIT identifies sample children and sample adults who had delayed getting medical care during the past 12 months because "once you get there (the clinic or doctor's office), you have to wait too long to see the doctor." The Field Representative's Manual for 1997 forward states, "Waiting time to see the doctor includes only time from arrival until the health care provider is seen."

DELAYWAIT is one of several variables identifying barriers to getting medical care. Interviewers began the series of questions by saying, "There are many reasons people delay getting medical care. Have you delayed getting care for any of the following reasons in the past 12 months?" Other (non-financial) reasons for delayed access to care identified in the survey are: "you couldn't get an appointment soon enough" (DELAYAPPT); "the clinic/doctor's office wasn't open when you could get there" (DELAYHRS); "you couldn't get through on the telephone" (DELAYPHONE; and "you didn't have transportation" (DELAYTRANS).

This series of questions was not intended to elicit instances when needed medical care was foregone entirely; the Field Representative's Manual states, "Delayed assumes that medical care has been or will eventually be received."


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children under age 18.


  • 1997-2018