This study of the catchment area policy in New York City's 10 municipal
psychiatric inpatient units and emergency rooms showed that of a total of
52,170 emergency room visits and 18,558 admissions in 1982, 35% and 24%,
respectively, were of patients from outside the hospitals' catchment areas.
The authors discuss the factors associated with the relative
ineffectiveness of the policy and the implications for municipal hospitals'
funding and patient care. They suggest that policy makers consider a
different model for acute-care hospitals and propose a network approach as
a plausible alternative. The need for further research is also