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Commentary
April 7, 2010

The Challenge of Multiple Comorbidity for the US Health Care System

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (Dr Parekh), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Dr Barton), US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2010;303(13):1303-1304. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.381

The aging of the US population, combined with improvements in modern medicine, has created a new challenge: approximately 75 million people in the United States have multiple (2 or more) concurrent chronic conditions, defined as “conditions that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living.”1,2 Is the 21st-century US health care system prepared to deal with the consequences of successfully treating patients who have conditions, often multiple, that they would not have survived in the early 20th century? Current indications suggest that it is not.

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