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National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2004

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SAMHSA Client/Patient Sample Survey (CPSS)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)

Mode of Administration

Data collection was accomplished primarily by mail with telephone followup to participating sample mental health programs. Program staff (i.e., medical records personnel, clinicians) were requested to complete and mail back survey questionnaires on a sample of the program's client/patient caseload.

Survey Sample Design

Conducted periodically, the CPSS collects general purpose statistics on the sociodemographic, clinical, and service use characteristics of clients served in the inpatient, residential, outpatient, and partial care programs of specialty mental health organizations in the United States (not all program types in all survey years). For each survey, a probability sample of programs is selected by type of organization and by size. Within sampled programs, a probability sample is selected of clients/patients admitted during a 1-month period (all survey years) and clients/patients under care on a single day (1986-1997 surveys, only). The sample data collected are weighted to generate national estimates of the total number of persons admitted during 1 year to all specialty mental health organizations in the nation. (The organizations include: State and county mental hospitals, private psychiatric hospitals, multiservice mental health organizations, Veterans Administration medical centers, the separate psychiatric services of non-Federal general hospitals, residential treatment centers for emotionally disturbed children, freestanding outpatient clinics, and freestanding partial care programs; not all organization types surveyed in all years.)

Primary Survey Content

Psychiatric diagnosis, other functional/health status, services utilization, services financing, legal status, length of stay

Population Targeted

For the 1997 survey, persons admitted and persons under are in the inpatient, residential, and less than 24-hour (i.e., outpatient and partial care) programs of specialty mental health organizations, nationwide.

Demographic Data

Age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, veteran status, other socio-demographic

Years Collected

Periodically, 1970 to 1997.


Periodic, about every 10 years.

Geographic Estimates


Contact Information

Agency homepage:

Agency mental health information center:


Milazzo-Sayre, LJ, Henderson, MJ, Manderscheid, RW, et al. "Persons Treated in Specialty Mental Health Care Programs, United States, 1997." Center for Mental Health Services. Mental Health, United States, 2000. DHHS Pub. No. (SMA) 01-3537. Washington, DC: Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2001.

"Sources and Qualifications of the Data: 1997 Client/Patient Sample Survey." Center for Mental Health Services. Mental Health, United States, 2000. DHHS Pub. No. (SMA) 01-3537. Washington, DC: Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2001.



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