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Oct 21 --  The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has submitted the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 2021-23 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval and invites public comments on any aspect of NHIS design and implementation by November 20, 2020.
The annual NHIS is a major source of general statistics on the health of the U.S. population and has been in the field continuously since 1957. This voluntary and confidential household-based survey collects demographic and health-related information from a nationally representative sample of households and noninstitutionalized, civilian persons throughout the country. NHIS data have long been used by government, academic, and private researchers to evaluate both general health and specific issues, such as smoking, diabetes, health care coverage, and access to health care. The survey is also a leading source of data for the Congressionally mandated “Health US” and related publications, as well as the single most important source of statistics to track progress toward HHS health objectives.

The NHIS sample adult and sample child questionnaires include annual core content that is scheduled to be fielded in the survey every year, rotating content that is fielded periodically, emerging content to address new topics of growing interest, and sponsored content that is fielded when external funding is available. In July 2020, content related to the COVID-19 pandemic and for which emergency OMB clearance was obtained on June 22, 2020 was added to both the sample adult and sample child questionnaires. Items on positive COVID-19 cases, and access to non-pandemic care were added to both the sample child and sample adult questionnaires. Items on underlying health conditions, immunosuppression, access to cancer care, access to skilled and informal caregiving, social support, impact of chronic pain, and social distancing at current or most recent job were added to the sample adult questionnaire only. All of these items will be fielded as part of the 2021 NHIS.

Sample adult content fielded in the 2020 NHIS that will be removed from the 2021 NHIS includes dental services and other provider services, physical activity, walking for transportation and leisure, sleep, fatigue, smoking history and cessation and alcohol use. Sponsored content that will be removed include content on asthma, diabetes prevention, diabetes family history, opioid use, pain management and cancer control items on lung cancer screening, environment for walking and sun care protection. Sample child content fielded in the 2020 NHIS that will be removed from the 2021 NHIS include items on dental services, mental health services, other provider services, height and weight, physical activity, neighborhood characteristics, sleep, and screen time will rotate off the sample child core. Sponsored content on asthma will be also be removed.

The 2021 rotating sample adult core will include questions that were previously fielded in the 2019 NHIS including items on chronic pain, preventive screening tests and aspirin use. New rotating core include items on allergies and psychological distress, both of which were fielded in the pre-redesigned NHIS. New sponsored content includes items on epilepsy, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), insulin affordability, diabetes distress, A1C testing, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer screening, occupational health, life satisfaction, hepatitis A and B vaccination coverage, COVID-19 vaccination coverage, and loss of the sense of taste and smell. New sponsored cancer control content that focuses on cancer screenings uses questions similar to those used in the 2019 NHIS.

The 2021 rotating sample child core will include items on stressful life events previously fielded in 2019 and on allergies, fielded in the pre-redesigned NHIS. New content included for analyses in conjunction with the adolescent follow-back study (see below) includes items on social and emotional support, bullying, health care utilization and life satisfaction.

Beginning around July 1, interviewers will ask the respondents for sample children aged 12-17 (usually the parent or guardian) for permission to contact the adolescent by web, phone, or mail and to ask follow-up questions about topics (1) already included in the sample child NHIS and (2) topics added to the sample child specifically related this follow-back. The adolescent questionnaire will be conducted web phone, or mail and include items on general health and well-being, height and weight, health care utilization, content of care in past year (or at last wellness visit), health care access, use of complementary and alternative health, physical activity, sleep, screen time, cognition, concussions, behavior, depression and anxiety, sexual orientation and gender identity, mental health care use and unmet need, social support, stressful life events, bullying, everyday discrimination, and demographics. Items on the survey environment and experience with the survey will also be asked.

Like in past years, and in accordance with the 1995 initiative to increase the integration of surveys within the DHHS, respondents to the 2021 NHIS will serve as the sampling frame for the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In addition, a subsample of NHIS respondents and/or members of commercial survey panels may be identified to participate in short, web-based methodological and cognitive testing activities to evaluate the questionnaire and/or inform the development of new rotating and sponsored content using web and/or mail survey tools. In the future, a subsample of NHIS respondents may also be re-contacted for a brief health exam.
NHIS website  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/index.htm  
2021 NHIS proposal submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202010-0920-003  Click on IC List for survey design, View Supporting Statement for narrative on proposed plans, uses, methods, data products.
FR notice inviting comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/21/2020-23265/agency-forms-undergoing-paperwork-reduction-act-review
NCHS point of contact: Stephen Blumberg, Division of Health Interview Statistics  301.458.4107  swb5@cdc.gov    
For AEA members wishing to provide comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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