Three hundred ninety-eight patients treated in the emergency room for non-urgent complaints who stated that they had no regular source of primary medical care were referred to one of several medical care centers in the area. Overall, 34 per cent of such patients complied with the referral. Correlates of compliance were: age (very young and very old), patient-perceived health status, medically determined need for follow-up care, and having an appointment made by the emergency room provider. Another group of 500 successfully referred patients became excellent users of the primary care office, complying with requested health maintenance and follow-up visits. However, emergency room utilization by the successfully referred patients did not decrease more than among referred patients who did not enroll in the primary care source.