Chronic disease may be defined as any deviation from health that affects a person's total life pattern in a significant way because of either duration or prolonged after-effects. The practicing physician has long been aware, and had to face, the many problems, not only medical but economic and social, that result from prolonged illness. Medicine has approached and fought the major chronic diseases one by one. Services for specific diseases have been established by a number of different agencies, each group working toward a solution of problems in its specific area.
Now, in midcentury, there can be seen and appreciated the need to tackle the common denominators of the chronic diseases, the various forms of chronic illness and disability, whether they stem from disease or accident, which create similar problems, require similar facilities and demand coordinated program planning. The physician has experienced the need for more closely knit services—not only