The present study aimed to assess the effect of psychological screening of medical inpatients using the Symptom Check List, SCL-90-R. A sample of 630 medical inpatients who were referred to a psychosomatic consultation-liaison service was assessed using the SCL-90-R. A clinical interview was conducted with all assessed patients. Patients referred to the consultation-liaison service showed high psychological distress. 73% of the subjects were classed as cases using the International Classification of Diseases (10th Revision) criteria and psychological impairment. The screening characteristics of the SCL-90-R were not as good as those reported for other outpatient samples. The SCL-90-R appears to have been valuable for the consultation-liaison service since subjects with mental disorders scored significantly higher on almost all the scales than subjects without mental disorders. The questionnaire can serve as a useful tool for understanding patients' current status regarding mental health problems.