This basic text presents a step-by-step impact evaluation methodology that can be used by students and administrators without prior exposure to the field. The treatment is nontechnical and sparing in its use of statistical technique and economic terminology, but it covers the major components required to perform the cost-benefit analyses that underlie reliable policy decisions. The book will be as useful to those who are called on to read evaluations as to those who prepare them. The focus of the primer is on impact evaluation of publicly supported programs designed to deliver comprehensive or specialized ambulatory health services. Impact evaluation, in the authors' usage, is concerned not only with whether specific goals are achieved but also with the unplanned and unanticipated effects and side-effects of programs. It offers a means for making improvements based on a program's total impact on its client population and the community at large. The methodology is applicable to a range of health-care operations as diverse in their structure, functions, and processes as community mental health centers, health maintenance organizations, professional service review organizations, and single-purpose medical intervention facilities, such as alcohol abuse and treatment centers, burn centers, and renal dialysis programs. Each chapter is followed by case exercises and extensive bibliographic listings for those readers who wish to explore specific topics in greater technical detail.