Massachusetts General Hospital says it will soon start questioning all patients about their alcohol and illegal drug use, no matter what their reason for visiting. The program is scheduled to start this fall and is part of a broader plan to improve addiction treatment at the Boston hospital and its community health centers.

Caregivers will ask patients how often they have had six or more drinks on one occasion, and whether they have used an illegal drug in the past year. If the questioning reveals a possible addiction, doctors can summon a team to conduct a "bedside intervention" and, if needed, arrange treatment.

MGM officials tell the Boston Globe that a study found that patients with identified substance abuse disorders had longer stays and higher admission rates, boosting the cost of care.