The thesis of this paper is that patient emotions have not been sufficiently integrated into patient-centeredness, a well-established organizing principle of health care management. We first review the scientific knowledge on emotions that is of relevance to support their being a core component of patient-centeredness. We then report a field study designed to investigate the mechanisms by which emotions influence care outcomes (specifically, patient satisfaction). Structural analyses performed on self-reports by 283 minor care patients in an Emergency Department revealed that both positive and negative emotions influence satisfaction indirectly by biasing patient perceptions of quality of care in a valence-congruent direction. Negative emotions have an additional direct effect on satisfaction. Patients who were made to wait longer to see the physician not only manifested a progressive deterioration of their emotional states (i.e. decrease in positive affects and increase in negative affects) but their satisfaction judgments became more importantly formed on the basis of emotions. Implications of the research for healthcare management are discussed.