A primary care department is a unit or clinic within a hospital that provides such primary care services as general pediatric care, general internal medicine, family practice and gynecology through hospital-salaried physician and nursing staff. It focuses on evaluating and diagnosing medical problems and providing treatment on an outpatient basis.

According to the American Hospital Association’s 2015 edition of AHA Hospital Statistics, the percentage of U.S. community hospitals with primary care departments (44 percent), ambulatory surgery centers (29 percent) and hospital-based outpatient care center services (79 percent) all have increased in the past five years, contributing to greater outpatient visits.

In 2013, outpatient visits totaled more than 677 million and represented 45 percent of total gross revenue.

For more information on AHA data, go to www.ahadataviewer.com.