Community mental health centers hospitalize patients for a significantly shorter time than do private psychiatric hospitals. Proponents of the private system of care assert that the shorter hospitalization contributes to an increased probability of readmission. A comparison of the readmission experience of CMHC patients and private patients who were hospitalized at the same institution showed no significant differences in the short-term recidivism rate. It is suggested that an aftercare network that is closely integrated with hospital care is a necessary supplement to brief hospitalization. In addition, it appears that restrictive reimbursement policies for outpatient care result in an increase in the duration of hospitalization and in the probability of rehospitalization.