Pop-up liver disease clinics scheduled in Listowel
February 3, 2023 5:50am
A Hepatologist, or liver disease specialist, out of London has partnered with the Listowel Wingham Hospital Alliance to bring a liver disease specialist clinic closer to home.
Dr. Paul Marotta says he’s able to do so since the technology used to scan the liver is portable, and explains the procedure is quick and non-invasive.
“It’s a technique like an ultrasound, where you get a little jelly on your belly, and within a matter of a few minutes we can scan the liver,” said Dr. Marotta. “It then does some calculations and it gives us a large volume to analyze of the liver and tells us how much liver damage there is.”
Dr. Marotta says about 25% of the population may suffer from fatty liver disease, so it’s important to offer services that can be accessed by anyone.
“You can’t send everybody to an urban centre because the sheer volume [of patients] wouldn’t make any sense. This is a primary medicine disease and unfortunately the specialists are still looking after it. That’s why we’re trying to bring technology and education to the area,” said Dr. Marotta.
Dr. Marotta says they held their first pop-up clinic in Listowel in January, and it was quite successful. He aims to provide this service about once a month, with the next clinic scheduled for March 2. However, if there is demand for it, he says it’s possible the clinic could run more than once a month.
“I assumed it would be about once a month but because of the number of people in the surrounding locations, [a clinic] might be held every two weeks. So the wait time is quite reasonable, you aren’t waiting a year for this, you’re waiting a couple of weeks at most,” he said.
Dr. Marotta adds this procedure may not be fully covered by OHIP. In places like the GTA and in London, the fee is typically between $140 to $160. The fee for this clinic held locally is about $80 plus tax. Dr. Marotta adds, however, the cost is covered by most private insurance plans and very few patients have had to pay out of pocket.
Patients can be referred to one of these clinics by their primary care physician.