Quick Response Programs (QRP) have been instituted to contain hospital costs by reducing unnecessary hospital admissions through the prompt co-ordination of Home Care Services. No formal economic evaluation of the impact of this redirection of services has been conducted. This paper describes a randomized controlled trial designed to compare the costs and effects between comparable emergency department patients (ED) serviced by the QRP versus the usual department services. Patients were assessed at baseline and 10 days following discharge from the ED specifically for their health status, caregiver burden, satisfaction with health care services and expenditures. QRP was an acceptable alternative to ED services for a small percentage of patients and was not more expensive in total care costs although there was a shift in expenditures from hospital to Home Care services. Due to the small sample size the power to detect the clinically important differences in health status was 60 per cent.