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Release Date

August 2, 2018

Census Bureau Publishes PRA Notice for the "Service Annual Survey"; Acknowledges Opioid Crisis, Begins Measurement of Telemedicine

The Census Bureau has published an August 31 PRA notice seeking a revision of a currently approved collection - Service Annual Survey.

The full text of the notice can be found at Note highlighted passage regarding the measurement of telemedicine and the current opioid crisis.

Over 50 percent of all economic activity is generated by businesses in the services sectors, defined to exclude retail and wholesale trade. The U.S. Census Bureau currently measures the total output of most of the service industries annually in the Service Annual Survey (SAS). This survey currently covers all or portions of: Utilities; Transportation and Warehousing; Information; Finance and Insurance; Real Estate and Rental and Leasing; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services; Educational Services; Health Care and Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation; Accommodation and Food Services; and Other Services (except Public Administration) as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The SAS provides the only official source of annual revenue estimates for the service industries.

Estimates from the SAS are essential to measurement of economic growth, real output, prices, and productivity for our nation's economy. A broad spectrum of government and private stakeholders use these estimates in analyzing economic activity; forecasting economic growth; and compiling data on productivity, prices and the gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, trade and professional organizations use these estimates to analyze industry trends, benchmark their own statistical products and develop forecasts. Private businesses use these estimates to measure market share, analyze business potential, and plan investments.

Beginning in survey year 2018, the operating expenses portion of the questionnaire will be condensed substantially in non-Economic Census reference years. This change will relieve respondent burden with the goal of improving the rate and quality of survey response.

The Census Bureau will also begin measuring telemedicine. The use of telemedicine by mental health professionals is increasing as the nation's behavioral health is a huge concern, especially with the current opioid crisis. With increased insurance coverage for the cost of these services, it is likely that more healthcare professionals will begin delivering services via telemedicine. This question will provide the first federal data on the new business model of telemedicine for outpatient medical providers. It will be an expansion of the current patient visits question, and will appear on forms SA-62000A/E, SA-62150A/E, and SA-62190A/E (total of 6 forms). The question will be subject to cognitive testing, modified based on results if necessary, and implemented when it has cleared testing. Cognitive testing will be conducted under the Census Bureau's generic clearance for questionnaire pretesting research.

This information collection request may be viewed at Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to or fax to (202) 395-5806.

Updated: August 31, 2018