Data on the prevalence and adverse consequences of, and use of medical care for, three disorders ultimately treatable by surgical intervention are used in the Health Insurance Study (HIS) to investigate the effect of different levels of insurance on health status and quality of care. The three conditions--hernia, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids--were selected because of their fairly widespread prevalence, potential for causing temporary or chronic incapacity and disability, possibility of serious complications if untreated, and responsiveness to both medical and surgical therapy. This volume reviews pertinent medical literature, details the HIS definitions of these disorders, describes HIS methods for measuring their presence and impact on people's lives, presents and discusses enrollment data for the six HIS sites, and introduces disease-specific quality-of-care criteria. An appendix deals with the extent to which the HIS-enrolled population had tonsil disease or had ever had tonsil or gall bladder surgery.
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