Behind the Scenes: CUPS Health Clinic


Delivering customized care that can change lives

At CUPS, our mission is to offer integrated healthcare, education and housing services. Together with our community partners, we assist adults and families in Calgary living with the adversity of poverty and traumatic events to become more resilient and self-sufficient. By building resilience in people, we build a more resilient community for all.

It might sound like a straightforward mission, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen. To help shed some light on our operations, throughout the year we’ll be taking clients, donors, volunteers — the entire community! — on a journey inside CUPS, so that they can better understand the many programs that enable us to effectively support vulnerable Calgarians. This month, we’re highlighting our Health Services programs.

Building resilience in health

The CUPS Health Clinic provides access to primary health care for low-income adults, children and families. CUPS aims to build health resilience by improving access to primary care, supporting individuals to manage and address their physical and mental health conditions and providing low barrier access to substance use treatment options.

Comprehensive programs

CUPS health programs offer a comprehensive set of services, including:

  • Primary Health Services: Connection to a primary care provider, general check-ups, diagnosis, treatment, screening and health education.

  • Family Health Services: Health programs for babies, children and women.

  • Dental Services: Dental services, including tooth extractions and restorative care.

  • Eye Care: Eye exams and access to eyeglasses funding.

  • Liver Clinic: Hepatitis C education, screening, treatment and further comprehensive liver and sexually transmitted blood borne infection (STBBI) care through a harm reduction lens.

  • Specialist Care: Access to experts in chronic pain, heart disease and other conditions.

  • Diabetes Group: Education sessions for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

  • Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) Program: Low barrier access to treatment for opioid dependency.

  • Outreach Partners: Increasing accessibility to health care across six locations in Calgary.

  • Shared Care Mental Health Services: Access to mental health supports provided by a team working collaboratively.

  • Connect 2 Care: Partnership with Alpha House to provide outreach support to individuals who need support navigating their health care.

Making an impact

Last year, CUPS had over 8,000 active clients, and many of these clients had at least one encounter with a Health Services program. By gathering and monitoring key metrics, we know that we’ve made an impact.

A few notable successes include:

  • The CUPS Health team is a multi-disciplinary team with over 60 staff, including nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, counsellors and medical office assistants, just to name a few!

  • The Connect 2 Care (C2C) program saw 50 per cent of unhoused clients successfully get a roof over their heads after engaging with the program.

  • 60 per cent of C2C clients were also connected to primary care providers and obtained medication coverage.

  • Through C2C, the total average emergency department visits were cut in half and inpatient stays were reduced by two thirds. This translates to a cost savings of $10,000 per client!

  • There was a 53 per cent increase in access to mental health counselling services, enabling individuals living with negative effects of trauma to understand and mitigate impacts as they build resilience.

  • The Dental clinic had 190 visits for cleanings and restorative care (and 489 teeth were pulled!). For low-income Calgarians with partial insurance coverage, these services provide low-barrier access to dental care without added costs.

  • Through the Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) program, CUPS increased access to low-barrier treatment with the aim of reducing drug-related harms and strengthening connections to primary care services for clients.

  • Last year, CUPS Opioid Agonist Treatment facilitated 229 OAT initiations.

We know that each client has a different story, and each client needs a different kind of support. These health programs are a critical component in CUPS providing effective, integrated community-based programs and services. As we continue to implement, refine and improve our brain-science approach, we will continue to better service vulnerable Calgarians and increase our impact. The best part? Not only does this approach support clients, it builds a better community for all!

Visit our blog next month as we dive deeper into our healthcare programs and learn more about how they help meet the complex needs of low-income individuals and families.

Interested in getting involved at CUPS? Click here.


CUPS 2019 Corporate Video

newsKaren Meades