The first Primary Care Network began operations in 2005. The program has grown steadily since its inception. As of April 2012, there are 40 PCNs operating in the province, involving over 2,600 family physicians and more than 600 full-time equivalent other healthcare providers in delivering primary healthcare services to 2.9 million Albertans.
The Department of Health expects to spend more than $170 million on the PCN program in 2012-13, and has provided over $700 million in funding to date.
Why it is important to Albertans
The significance of the PCN program goes far beyond the direct funding the Department provides to it. PCNs are a critical link that operationally connects family physicians with AHS in the delivery of primary healthcare services. High quality primary healthcare is critical for prevention of acute illness and for effective and efficient management of chronic disease. By focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, primary healthcare can help identify disease at its onset and reduce the subsequent severity of an illness. This can produce better health outcomes for Albertans and reduce the demand on more expensive acute care services.