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The Value Proposition of Prevention: The Impacts of Pure North S’Energy Foundation’s Preventive Care Program on Acute Care Utilization in Alberta

This analysis of Pure North S’Energy Foundation’s preventive health services shows that
the acute health care cost savings of being pro-active, rather than reactive, and averting
chronic disease, are significant, immediate and worth pursuing further.
Chronic disease, such as cardiovascular maladies, diabetes, cancer and other long-term
illnesses, represents the leading cause of disability and death in Canada. An estimated 25
per cent of expenditures in the public health system go towards treating these frequently
avoidable diseases. This health-care cost curve, which sees more money expended on
fighting the increase of chronic disease, can be bent, so to speak, through prevention
services that offer long-term benefits to people’s health. Preventing disease is not just
good for individuals, but for the health system in general, as prevention frees up acute
care beds for more timely access by those who need them. The concern for health care
decision makers struggling to find dollars to meet current health care needs is that
investment in prevention is risky compared spending on medical treatment. It is often
expressed that the health cost savings of prevention are too far off in the future and there
is a lack of convincing evidence that preventive services and interventions will achieve the
health gains expected.
Pure North offers participants in its eight-year-old program access to a variety of health-
care practitioners, including doctors, naturopaths, nurses, nurse practitioners and dentists.

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