In-Phase Care Clinic is hosting a free Hepatitis C screening day at their office at 7381 Hurd St. on Aug. 26. Patrick Penner / Mission Record

In-Phase Care Clinic is hosting a free Hepatitis C screening day at their office at 7381 Hurd St. on Aug. 26. Patrick Penner / Mission Record

Full-service addiction clinic moving next door to Haven in the Hollow

In-Phase Care Clinic hosting free Hepititus C screening day on Aug. 26 to mark move

A full-service addiction clinic will be moving next door to the Haven in the Hollow shelter by the end of the month.

In-Phase Care Clinic offers synchronized care, streamlining services for addiction patients and offering them a “medical home,” said Dr. Larina Reyes-Smith, who left Fraser Health to start the clinic in 2019.

She said it’s the only clinic of its kind in Mission.

“I have a very different practice.” Reyes-Smith said. “A patient walks in, gets counselling, and gets blood work that day. If they have housing issues, a social working is in the clinic.”

The clinic on Hurd Street, directly across from Mission Memorial Hospital, got off to a good start, with 80 regular patients in the first year. Then COVID hit.

The restrictions disrupted the “one-stop shop” function of the practice, Reyes-Smith said, and her patient load dwindled.

“I am very, very underutilized,” she said. “I provide all the services, but somehow referrals are not getting to me.”

Reyes-Smith currently goes to Haven in the Hollow about once a week to see patients, and before COVID, would regularly go to the homeless camps with the Union Gospel Mission to find others.

With the move across from the shelter, she says she’ll be able to see patients there five times a week.

“You can reach a lot more people because you do not take them out of their environment,” Reyes-Smith said.

“We should pay attention to those who are receiving less; people who are really needing the care but not getting it.”

Hep C screening day, Aug. 26

To mark the move to the new space, In-Phase Care Clinic is hosting a free Hepatitis C screening day at their office at 7381 Hurd St. on Aug. 26 during the afternoon.

Patients will come in and get blood work done, which will be sent to the lab on their behalf. They can return in one to two weeks to get the results, and if positive, treatment can start immediately.

Reyes-Smith said it’s the only dedicated Hepatitis C service in the eastern Fraser Valley that she’s aware of.

She wants to get the word out about how much more effective and simple modern treatments are.

Five years ago, a patient would have to go back and forth between a doctor and a lab, before being sent to a specialist (usually out town) – a significant difficulty for people with addictions, who commonly suffer from the blood borne illness.

Reyes-Smith said she would always lose patients after handing them the requisition forms.

“One year later, they haven’t done blood work. So it’s good to actually catch them at the point of care,” she said. “I can apply treatment right away.”

This style of care is also being pushed for in family practice, according to Reyes-Smith.

The first screening event was hosted once before in 2019, with 28 patients attending in an afternoon.

For this year’s event, more resources are being provided through collaboration with the BC Hepatitis Network, Lifelabs, the Mission Friendship Centre, and volunteer nurses. Another physician and a specialist will also be on site.

Treatment of Hepatitis C now has a cure rate of 90 per cent, and can be completed in 12 weeks; previous medicines would take 42 weeks, and could have bad side effects, Reyes-Smith said.

“I just really want awareness to be recognized, because of the treatment that is available,” Reyes-Smith said. “It could be sitting there for 10 years without giving you any symptoms.”


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

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Dr. Larina Reyes-Smith left Fraser Health in 2019 to start the In-Phase Care Clinic. Patrick Penner / Mission Record

Dr. Larina Reyes-Smith left Fraser Health in 2019 to start the In-Phase Care Clinic. Patrick Penner / Mission Record

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