The lecture presents foundations and results of the work of a commission of the German Rheumatological Association. Based on epidemiological data on the occurrence of selected rheumatic disorders, reference figures for both, in- and outpatient services are developed. There is need of at least one full-time rheumatologist for every 150,000 residents. The commission identifies various actual deficits in the care of rheumatic patients. The most important seems to be the insufficient number and unequal spatial distribution of practicing rheumatologists. Other deficits concern the imperfect integration of preventive, curative and rehabilitative services, of in- and outpatient care and of the work of primary and secondary physicians with various allied health professionals at the community level.