In 2003, Alberta Health and Wellness, the Alberta Medical Association and Alberta's Regional Health Authorities (now Alberta Health Services) established the Primary Care Initiative (PCI) to improve access to family physicians and other frontline health care providers in Alberta.
The purpose of the PCI is to develop Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and support them in meeting the objectives of the program.
In the 2003 PCI Master Agreement, the three health partners set an agenda of:
- Increasing the number of Albertans with access to primary care services
- Managing access to appropriate round-the-clock primary care services
- Increasing the emphasis on:
- Health promotion
- Disease and injury prevention
- Care of patients with medically complex problems
- Care of patients with chronic diseases
- Improving coordination of primary health services with other health care services including hospitals, long-term care and specialty care services
- Fostering a team approach to providing primary health care.
The Primary Care Initiative oversees and supports the development of PCNs. There are 40 PCNs operating throughout Alberta more in the planning stages.
More than 2,500 eligible family physicians in Alberta are working in PCNs.