Primary health care updates

Primary Care Networks governance

A new PCN governance structure is being created that includes a Provincial PCN Committee and five Zone PCN Committees. The Provincial PCN Committee will provide governance, leadership, strategic direction and priorities for the PCNs. The Zone Committees will work to align planning across PCNs in their zone, create and implement a zone-wide service plan, optimize service delivery for populations across zones, and create efficiencies through shared services.

Primary Care Network review

Alberta Health undertook a review of Primary Care Networks (the Review) in 2015 as a part of the ministry’s internal oversight responsibility to ensure primary health care is being delivered in an effective manner.

The Review involved an analysis of the financial practices and service delivery approaches of a sampler of 13 PCNs and the Primary Care Network Program Management Office. The review supports the government’s goal of ensuring Albertans are getting the right care, in the right place, at the right time, by the right healthcare team, with the right information.

Primary health care strategy

The Primary Health Care Strategy, released in May 2014, is an exciting plan to improve primary health care delivery in Alberta. It sets the direction for the long-term Primary Health Care transformation and reinforces the vision for “a Primary Health Care system that supports Albertans to be as healthy as they can be.” To do this, the strategy has 3 strategic directions: enhancing the delivery of care, cultural change, and building blocks for change.

Primary Care Network evolution

The Government of Alberta is collaborating with the Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health Services to improve primary health care through the work of Primary Care Network (PCN) Evolution. Primary Care Networks have been a successful model for providing Albertans primary health care services. Primary Care Network Evolution is a collection of initiatives aimed at enhancing Primary Care Networks. Work includes notifying Albertans of their Primary Care Network attachment, enhancing patient access, and requiring Primary Care Networks to report on core indicators for evaluating overall primary health care.

Primary health care evaluation framework

In recognition of the importance of primary health care to the broader health system, and with the introduction of new delivery models to the landscape, Alberta Health commissioned the development of a comprehensive evaluation framework. The Primary Health Care Evaluation Framework is intended to support ongoing assessment and evaluation of primary health care in the province and to contribute to the continuing efforts to strengthen primary health care in Alberta.

Primary health care reports and publications

This section contains reports concerning primary health care in Alberta, Canada, and abroad. These reports are provided for research and information purposes and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Alberta.

1 – PCN Evolution Vision and Framework: Report to the Minister of Health PDF icon by the Alberta Medical Association Primary Care Alliance, December 2013

The PCN Evolution Vision and Framework: Report to the Minister of Health, was developed by the Alberta Medical Association’s Primary Care Alliance to present their vision and framework for PCN Evolution. The report describes a number of objectives –

  • Informally and formally connecting Albertans with family physicians and PCN health homes;
  • Improving access and integrating delivery of primary health and social needs-based care;
  • Enhancing health professional teams by working towards an inter-professional team model;
  • Establishing effective governance at all levels and increasing organizational effectiveness;
  • Developing clear performance goals and measurement indicators for PCN accountability;
  • Reviewing physician compensation models and funding to enable effective team-based care; and,
  • Implementing information management and information technology (IM/IT) enablers for efficient information sharing.

2 – Evolving Primary Care Networks in Alberta: A Companion Document to the PCN Evolution Vision and Framework PDF icon by the Alberta Medical Association Primary Care Alliance, December 2013

The Evolving Primary Care Networks in Alberta: A Companion Document to the PCN Evolution Vision and Framework, outlines a number of initiatives that are framed as first steps toward some of the main report’s objectives. The companion document states that, during the implementation of PCN Evolution, many of the initiatives listed in the document may be removed or modified. The companion document seeks to focus attention on specific initiatives, mainly those that:

  • align with the recently developed Primary Health Care Strategy;
  • can be implemented through program changes or on a voluntary basis over the next two fiscal years;
  • may be implemented with little or no incremental operational funding for PCNs through the use of surplus and closing cost reserve funds;
  • do not require significant compensation or funding reform as a pre-requisite for success;
  • foster pan-PCN cooperation to jointly fund and implement;
  • leverage infrastructure that exists in the province, notably with AHS; and,
  • avoid overwhelming PCNs and their participating physicians.

3 – Local Area Family Care Clinic Prioritization Framework – Review of Background Information and Proposed Indicator Framework PDF icon TELUS Health, August 2012

TELUS Health Solutions was engaged to assess the primary health care needs of communities all across Alberta. Using 13 quantitative indicators, all 132 Local Areas in the province were assessed according to health service need. The indicators used to determine the level of primary health care needs were based on 3 areas:

  1. The burden of disease in the population that could be monitored and/or mitigated by primary health care services;
  2. Gaps between population health needs and available health care services;
  3. The health status of the population which may be improved with the provision of primary health care services.

This report is presented in 5 parts. First, a literature review that explores potential indicators to assess health needs; second, a review of existing frameworks and models; third, an overview of the 132 Local Areas, mapped and listed; fourth, the health need indicators chosen for analysis; and fifth, the final analysis of the Local Areas, based on primary health care needs. This report has informed some of the work done to date on the development of the FCC model.


4 – Strengthening Primary Health Care in Alberta Through Family Care Clinics: From Concept to Reality PDF icon by Tholl, B., Grimes, K., October 2012

The Alberta government has committed to improve the overall functioning of the health system by providing all Albertans with “a home in the health care system” where they can expect to receive ready access to a full range of integrated health and social services. The establishment of FCCs across Alberta will ensure this commitment is achieved by focusing on Albertans’ health and social needs. The Strengthening Primary Health Care in Alberta Through Family Care Clinics report provides a conceptual policy framework for the deployment of FCCs in Alberta.

The report focuses on 3 key areas:

  1. The current state of primary health care reform in Alberta and across the country;
  2. A possible preferred future state that reflects the Government of Alberta’s commitment to improve the overall functioning of the health system; and
  3. Opportunities to leverage the current strengths of Alberta’s primary care system in the establishment of FCCs.