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Needed prescription medicines but could not get them, past 12 months

Codes and Frequencies

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NOTMEDS indicates whether, at any time during the past 12 months, the person needed prescription medicines but could not get them.

"Prescription medicines" was defined in the Field Representative's Manual as "medicine which can only be obtained with the approval of a licensed health care professional. The medication is usually obtained through a pharmacy using a written note or telephoned instructions from the health care professional to the pharmacy." This definition was not routinely shared with respondents.

The Field Representative's Manual instructed interviewers to accept any reason respondents gave (e.g., "missed bus" or "too busy") as a valid response for being unable to get service.

NOTCARE indicates whether the person needed medical care or surgery but did not get it during the past 12 months. Other variables indicating specific types of medical care that the person needed but did not receive during the past 12 months include: NOTADULTDAY (for adult day care); NOTASSTLIVE (for assisted living); NOTDENTAL (for dental services); NOTGLASS (for eyeglasses); NOTHOMCARE (for home health care); NOTHOSPICE (for hospice care); NOTMENTAL (for mental health services); and NOTNURSHOME (for nursing home care).


Apart from the change in universe, this variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1993: All persons in quarters 3 and 4.
  • 1994-1996: All persons.


  • 1993-1996