About Family Care Clinics

Questions and answers

1. Are Family Care Clinics going ahead?

The government has decided that the Family Care Clinic program will not be expanded beyond the three operational Family Care Clinics operated by Alberta Health Services and the Peace River Family Care Clinic announced in Budget 2015. The Family Care Clinics in Slave Lake, East Edmonton, and East Calgary will continue with normal operations.

2. What is primary health care?

Primary health care addresses Albertans’ day-to-day health care concerns with a wide range of coordinated services. This may mean an annual check-up with a family physician, consultation with a pharmacist, or support in accessing mental health services or managing a chronic condition like diabetes. Primary health care combines the expertise of many different providers to support people and their families.

3. How is a Primary Care Network different from a Family Care Clinic?

Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks work with Alberta Health Services and other health professionals to coordinate the delivery of primary care services for their patients. A Primary Care Network is a network of doctors and other health providers such as nurses, dietitians and pharmacists working together to provide primary health care to patients. A Primary Care Network can be comprised of one clinic with many physicians and support staff, or several doctors in several clinics in a geographic area. The Alberta government provides supplementary funding to hire other health professionals to help deliver enhanced patient services. Each network has the flexibility to develop programs and to provide services in a way that works locally to meet the specific needs of patients.

Family Care Clinics

Family Care Clinics are local, team-based primary health care delivery organizations that provide individual and family-focused primary health care services that are tailored to meet the health needs of a community. Clinic staff co-ordinate a comprehensive range of primary health care services that cover an individual’s entire lifespan. Family Care Clinics provide patient access to the most appropriate member of a health care team who can address their health and social needs. The clinics are expected to provide extended hours of service and provide same-day access. Team members may include family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, mental health professionals and other providers.

4. What kind of services are provided at an Family Care Clinic?

Family Care Clinics provide team-based primary health care services tailored to meet the needs of the community. Examples include diagnosis and treatment of non-emergency illness, screening, vaccinations and links to other health services and community agencies. There is an emphasis on wellness, health promotion, disease and injury prevention, self-management and care of chronic disease. The clinics also connect people to social supports that influence health status, such as housing services or employment supports.

5. Are Family Care Clinics accountable for their operations?

Yes. The clinics must adhere to Alberta Health Family Care Clinic policies and operating requirements, and must also be accountable to their own boards. An AHS-operated Family Care Clinic requires a Family Care Clinic Community Advisory Committee. Family Care Clinics are required to submit an annual three-year rolling business and financial plan including an annual budget and quarterly reporting. To continue receiving funding, Family Care Clinics must submit all required documentation and meet key targets and outcomes on an annual basis. Family Care Clinics also need to meet accreditation standards for primary care services.

More information – Family Care Clinic reference manual

The Family Care Clinic Reference Manual provides background information about the Family Care Clinic program and an overview of the Family Care Clinic development process. It also provides a general overview of the processes involved in the establishment and operation of the Family Care Clinics.