Friday, 21 October 2016 08:00

Primary Care Networks in Alberta happy to be able to create sustainability in the system

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Although still waiting for the details, officials with the Palliser Primary Care Network (PPCN) are pleased they will be able to put even more money toward helping provide quality health-care services to area residents.


At the end of September, the provincial government announced new policies governing PCNs will see these organizations being able to retain a small portion of any surpluses they might accumulate each year. They also will not have to set aside funds to cover closing costs, as the government has agreed to pick up those expenses should closure occur.
“It will be able to allow us to have flexibility to meet the unique needs in our communities,” says Treena Klassen, executive director of the Palliser PCN.
In the past there has been some difficulty meeting certain needs when funding is based on a three-year business cycle. With the ability to set aside some surplus funding, it can be used to help the PCNs become more responsive. For example, says Klassen, the influx of Syrian refugees to the area was unseen by the PCN during the current budget cycle. Surplus funds could be used to help cover the expenses associated with serving and incoming and unexpected population.
In southeast Alberta, officials with the Palliser PCN have always looked to the future with an eye on creating sustainability. The organization has always looked at creating stability around programming, especially when there can be fluctuations with government, and thus funding.
“Our goal has been to maintain steady programming, so (clients can keep) the services they are used to,” adds Klassen
“Primary Care Networks provide health care for 3.5 million Albertans — they are central to our efforts to help patients get the care they need, right in their communities. We have worked closely with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) to make changes that support Primary Care Networks so they can continue delivering these important services to Albertans,” said Sarah Hoffman, Alberta Minister of Health in a news release.
A detailed policy on PCN surpluses is being finalized, but officials with the AMA are appreciative of the government’s support.
“This government is the first to understand that investing in primary care is the key to address cost-effective, health-care system reform. Ensuring long-term support for PCNs is a significant commitment to quality, equitable and sustainable care for Albertans,” said Dr. Phillip van der Merwe, Primary Care Network Physician Lead, AMA in a news release.
Primary Care Networks are networks of doctors and health providers such as nurses, dietitians and pharmacists working together to provide primary health care to patients. The first PCNs opened in 2005. There are now 42 PCNs in the province.
The Palliser PCN first started in 2006 and 97 per cent of the area’s physicians are participants, points out Klassen.
“We have over 75 professionals in doctors’ offices to provide services to patients,” she adds.
More information about the Palliser PCN can be found online at: www.palliserpcn.ca , including a list of doctors in southeast Alberta who are accepting new patients.

Read 721 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:26
Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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