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). Click here for PCN governance details.
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.
In a PCN, physicians (via patient medical homes), other primary care providers, 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 strengths.
- Further link patients to other parts of the system, including the health authority’s specialized community services programs for vulnerable patient groups (e.g., frail elderly, mental health and substance use).
- Collectively increase a community’s capacity to provide greater access to primary care for people without a primary care provider.
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:
- 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:
- Get what they need for patients quickly and conveniently from an array of services in the community.
- Provide optimal care for patients with the support of teams, allied health care providers, and easily-accessed health authority services.
- Access expanded services for vulnerable patients and those with complex health conditions.
A PCN and patient medical home are mutually dependent:
- By expanding and improving access to services for patients, the PCN enables a PMH to operate at its full potential.
- As optimized family practices, PMHs are at the core of the PCN.
Opportunities for physicians to participate will be made available as PCNs are developed across BC communities. For more information about primary care networks, please contact your local division of family practice.
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 and supported by the division-health authority partnership with additional support from First Nations and community partners, through the local Collaborative Services Committee (CSC) or, in some cases, a PCN Steering Committee.
- Decisions about the local PCN are made collectively by the local CSC partners and are informed by the participants, including physicians.
- Working with their division, family doctors are integral in designing and influencing how local PCNs are designed to support patients.
- Physician leadership and division participation is essential to establish PMHs and 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 $150,000 change management funding 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 begin implementation.
BC Communities involved in PCNs
PCNs in implementation
Twenty-four Collaborative Services Committees (CSCs), supporting 59 PCNs, have approved funding allocations are now implementing their service plans:
- Fraser| Burnaby (3), Chilliwack (3), Fraser Northwest (4), Mission (1), Ridge Meadows (2), White Rock-South Surrey (1), Surrey-North Delta (6)
- Vancouver Coastal | North Shore (3), Richmond (3), Vancouver (6)
- Island | Comox Valley (1), Cowichan Valley (1), South Island (2), Central Island (1), Nanaimo (2), Victoria (4)
- Interior | Central Interior Rural (1), Central Okanagan (3), East Kootenay (1), Kootenay Boundary (1), South Okanagan Similkameen (1)
- Northern | North Peace (1), Northern Interior Rural (7*), Prince George (1)
Communities applying for PCNs
New Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from communities that have not yet begun the formal PCN planning process are being accepted. Communities are asked to work with their partners to assess whether they are ready to enter into the formal planning process prior to submitting their EOI. Approvals and funding will be issued as capacity allows through 2022. This differs from the previous approach where approvals took place in “waves,” recognizing that work will happen at different paces related to community dynamics and local, regional and provincial capacity to support this work. The current EOI template and information can be found on the PCN Toolkit website.
Research and Evidence
- The Benefits of Relational Continuity in Primary Care
- GPSC Visioning Literature Review Summaries: