Frequently Asked Questions

Since 2005, the Chinook Primary Care Network, located in Lethbridge, Alberta, has represented the collaboration between local physicians in the Southwestern Alberta area and Alberta Health Services. In total, there are over 128 physicians participating in the Chinook Primary Care network (CPCN), providing care to just over 174,000 regional residents.

The Chinook Primary Care Network supports your care by assisting participating clinics receive the staff and resources to serve you through multi-disciplinary family practice teams (RNs, LPNs, social workers, etc).  We also analyze information, improve efficiencies and identify opportunities for physicians to facilitate preventative care screening to better address your needs.    

Chinook PCN allocates resources to support its participating medical clinics in the following ways:  

  • Focusing on attachment and increased access to patient-centered medical home
  • Applying quality improvement to increase access to high quality, evidence-based care while aiming to improve efficiencies and influence processes
  • Collaborate with CPCN clinics to optimize patient care and experience
  • Partner with AHS facilities and programs to facilitate coordinated care through increased data sharing, communication, and patient attachment (connecting a patient with a primary care physician)
  • Provide access to a Central Support Team dedicated to improving linkages between primary care and community health resources available in our communities
  • Promote and advocate for patient partnerships within health care, strengthening knowledge of patients and clinic teams on the importance of patient-centered care, patient self-management and advocacy.
For a list of Chinook PCN services, please visit here 

See our vision and mission statements

Chinook PCN Central Support Office does not provide direct patient services.  To see a health care provider, please contact one of our member clinics.  Please visit our homepage to find available clinics and primary care practitioners.  

Why can’t I see a health care provider at Chinook PCN?

Physicians in Alberta work within privately owned clinics or Alberta Health Services.  Many clinics are members of Chinook PCN and are provided funding to build their own multi-disciplinary teams who work together to optimize the delivery of patient care. 

Learn more on how CPCN supports primary care for patient care needs by visiting our FAQ page.  

Primary care is the first point of contact people have with the health system. It’s where patients receive care for their everyday health needs; illness prevention, health promotion, care for common illnesses and management of ongoing health problems. It’s the care provided by family doctors and other health care providers such as nurses, dietitians, mental health professionals, pharmacists, and others. For example, a patient with high blood pressure may not only see their family doctor, but also a nurse who will regularly monitor their blood pressure, and a dietitian for help with selecting the right foods to eat.

Primary Care Networks are formal arrangements between a group of family doctors and Alberta Health Services to jointly provide comprehensive primary care services to their patients. Both family doctors and health regions provide primary care services. By working together more closely, they can better coordinate services and improve access to primary care services.

Once Primary Care Networks are well established, we anticipate:
  1. More Albertans will be able to find a family physician 
  2. Primary care services (e.g., home care, public health, and other services)
    will be better integrated between doctors and the local health region 
  3. Patients will have access to a comprehensive range of primary care services within their Primary Care Network 
  4. There will be increased focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and care for patients with chronic diseases

Please note that Chinook PCN cannot schedule appointments.  Please call your clinic directly to book an appointment.  If you do not have a primary care practitioner, please visit our homepage to find a physician or other medical care options.

Primary Care Networks may provide the following services:
  • Primary care services provided for patients 
  • Basic non-hospital care (ambulatory care) 
  • Care of complex health problems and follow-up 
  • Psychological counselling 
  • Chronic disease screening and prevention 
  • Family planning and pregnancy counseling 
  • Care for healthy children 
  • Pregnancy and delivering babies (obstetrics) 
  • Care during terminal illness (palliative) 
  • Care for chronic illness 
  • Elder care (geriatrics) 
  • Minor surgery 
  • Minor emergency care 
  • In-hospital or long-term facility primary care 
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Information management (ensuring patient privacy)
  • Community health and promotion (“population health”) 
  • Services that link primary care and other areas 
  • Access to laboratory and diagnostic imaging 
  • Coordination of: 
    • - Home care
    • - Emergency room services
    • - Long-term care
    • - Secondary care
    • - Public health


You still require contact with your family doctor. Your doctor would remain the first point of contact for the system and would decide when to refer you to a specialist. Most specialists do not take patients without a referral from a family physician.

Participation in Primary Care Networks is voluntary for physicians. Some physicians will choose to work within these Networks and some will not.

YES. Patients are free to make their own choices about the health care they seek out.