The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) has released a new report with what it says is evidence of the value, cost, and quality of care delivered by two primary care clinics in the province.

For the past 20 years, Crowfoot Village Family Practice in Calgary (CVFP) and The Taber Clinic (TC) have operated under an alternate funding model.

The Council says it found this alternate funding model enabled the design and delivery of a team-based practice model that provides comprehensive, cost-effective care and downstream cost-savings to the health system.

“As primary health care providers, we see tremendous benefit to practicing in an alternate funding model, for our patients, ourselves and the health system in Taber,” says Dr. Andrea Hargrove, partner, The Taber Clinic. “We are pleased that the HQCA report confirms what we have experienced over the past 19 years. The report shows the robust evidence for continuing this model of care. Our patients benefit from fewer hospital admissions and fewer, more comprehensive, timely clinic visits, from a full functioning multi- disciplinary team. We are hopeful that our model of care can be successfully translated to other communities across the province.”

In 2016-17, the practice models delivered by CVFP and TC realized health system cost savings of $4.3 million and $7.2 million respectively. This trend of health system cost savings has been consistent since 2007-08 with 10-year accumulated savings of $57.3 million and $62.2 million respectively.

The HQCA is recommending no new funding agreements should be implemented in Alberta without first developing a provincial alternate funding model framework.

Alternate funding models are designed so that healthcare providers are paid a prospective amount to cover services provided to patients within a specific period of time, versus a fee-for-service model more typical in Alberta primary care clinics.