History of PCBF funding

PCBF was brought to Alberta in 2010 for long-term care settings. It’s an acuity-based funding model, which determines how many hours of care each continuing care resident receives based on an assessment of their unmet needs. Under the model, a resident with frailty, dementia, and comorbidities is funded for more hours of care per day than a younger, healthier resident.

PCBF replaced previous per diem funding models, which historically provided operators with a set, daily amount of funding, regardless of the resident’s health. Per diem models have long been criticized for failing to adequately fund the higher costs associated with higher acuity (frail/ill) residents.

Today, PCBF remains the funding model for long-term care spaces in Alberta. There have also been discussions regarding modernizing the funding model across the designated supportive living (DSL) level of care.

Why CHAA commissioned our 2020 PBCF study

Ten years after PCBF was introduced in Alberta, CHAA began to look further into questions we’d been hearing from our not-for-profit operators over the preceding decade:

  • A perception that operators today are seeing higher resident acuity in long-term care settings – ever since Alberta initiated a separate care stream for lower acuity residents.

  • A sense that staff were struggling to meet the care needs of residents within the funded staffing hours.

  • Concerns about the funding model’s ability to support different facility types and the upkeep of aging buildings and care homes.

To answer these questions, CHAA commissioned a year-long study and economic analysis on the first decade of PCBF in Alberta. The study looked at:

  • The accuracy of PCBF’s inputs and assessment tools in measuring resident health needs and acuity levels.

  • The extent to which PCBF appropriately funds staffing hours and labour costs to meet care needs.

  • The ability of PCBF to accommodate a variety of care models and facility types/sizes, particularly for resident populations with dementia.

Our study involved analyzing a decade worth of funding advices across 19 not-for-profit care homes, representing nearly 3,000 long-term care spaces. We also analyzed collective agreements over the same period to assess how well funding lines up with actual labour costs.

Related content

Learn more about the funding model in Alberta and CHAA's position on it.