Participate in a supportive network of local primary care services to increase comprehensive care.
Across BC, divisions of family practice and health authority, First Nations and community partners are working to establish primary care networks (PCNs).
Read about changes to the PCN model, announced August 22, 2023.
Download info sheets
A PCN is a clinical network of local primary care service providers located in a geographical area, with patient medical homes (PMHs) as the foundation. A PCN is enabled by a partnership between the local division of family practice and health authority, along with local First Nations and Indigenous partners.
In a PCN, physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, allied health care providers, health authority service providers, and community organizations work together to provide all the primary care services a local population requires. Together, they:
- Enhance patient care using a team-based approach to care.
- Support each other and work to their own strengths.
- Ensure patients are linked to other parts of the system, including the health authority’s specialized community services programs for high risk and vulnerable population groups.
- Collectively work to increase access and attachment to primary care.
Participation in a primary care network enables a patient medical home to operate at its full potential. In a PCN, patients get access to timely, comprehensive and coordinated team-based care, guided by eight core attributes.
PCN Core Attributes:
- Access and attachment to quality primary care
- Extended hours
- Same day access to urgent care
- Advice & information
- Comprehensive primary care
- Culturally safe care
- Coordinated care
- Clear communication
When participating in a PCN, family physicians can:
- Provide optimal care for patients with the support of teams, and easily-accessed health authority services.
- Access expanded services for vulnerable populations and those with complex health conditions.
How do PCNs work?
A patient medical home represents the work in the doctor’s office, while the PCN represents system change in the community. A PCN is governed by the local PCN Steering Committee which is supported by the division-health authority partnership with additional engagement with First Nations, nurse practitioners, patients and community partners, among others.
- Decisions about the local PCN are made collectively by the local PCN Steering Committee and are informed by the participants, including family doctors.
- Working with their division, family doctors are integral in designing and influencing how local PCNs support patients.
- Physician leadership and division participation is essential to establish PCNs as the foundation of an integrated system of care.
Creating PCNs across BC
Across the province, CSCs are exploring opportunities to establish and support primary care networks, building on other successful local initiatives.
When CSC partners are ready to formally engage in designing a local PCN (or PCNs) for their community (or communities), they complete an Expression of Interest (EOI), indicating their readiness to participate.
Once the EOI is reviewed and approved, the CSC is provided with a $150,000 change management funding advance and other supports to develop a Service Plan for their local needs.
The CSC is encouraged to focus their first phase of service planning on ensuring patients who do not have a primary care provider are attached to one. Once the attachment gap is narrowed, the focus is on redesigning local services and adding resources to optimize the team-based care approach.
Following approval of the Service Plan, CSCs are provided with funding to establish a PCN Steering Committee, hire staff and begin implementation.
BC Communities involved in PCNs
PCNs in implementationSixty-four PCNs have approved funding allocations and are now implementing their service plans:
- Fraser| Burnaby (3), Chilliwack (3), Fraser Northwest (4), Mission (1), Ridge Meadows (2), Surrey-North Delta (6), White Rock-South Surrey (1)
- Vancouver Coastal | North Shore (3), Richmond (3), Vancouver (6)
- Island | Campbell River (1), Central Island (1), Comox Valley (1), Cowichan Valley (1), Nanaimo (2), South Island (2), Victoria (4)
- Interior | Central Interior Rural (1), Central Okanagan (3), East Kootenay (1), Kootenay Boundary (1), Shuswap North Okanagan (2), South Okanagan Similkameen (1)
- Northern | North Peace (1), Northern Interior Rural (7*), Pacific Northwest - Bulkley Valley Witset (2), Prince George (1)
There are several additional Collaborative Services Committees in early stages of PCN engagement and planning.