Family Doctor Speaks at the Detroit Public Library

In October, I had a great opportunity to speak at the Detroit Public Library about health care. The focus of my talk was our Family Medicine practice in Southwest Detroit called Plum Health DPC. The DPC stands for Direct Primary Care and our mission is to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for everyone.

This talk was well attended by Detroiters and Library Patrons who wanted to learn more about lowering the cost of their health care. Folks in Detroit and across America are facing ever-rising costs for health insurance premiums and prescription drugs, ER visits and lab work.

One such Detroiter showed me the bill from a recent ER visit, which illustrates the inflated cost of medical care, especially the medical care delivered in emergency departments.

 A Detroiter shows me their medical bill, showing the inflated costs of a chest x-ray, breathing treatments, blood work, and an EKG. Shared with permission.

A Detroiter shows me their medical bill, showing the inflated costs of a chest x-ray, breathing treatments, blood work, and an EKG. Shared with permission.

So let’s run through this bill and demonstrate the inflated costs of health care services when you receive them through the emergency department.

This person was charged $120 for a Basic Metabolic Panel, a test that costs $6 in our office.

This person was charged $47 to check their Magnesium level, and it’s $10 in our office.

This person was charged $57 for an EKG in the emergency department, and it’s $2 in our office.

A 2 view x-ray in the Emergency Department cost this person $107, but it can be obtained for $38 in the community.

Worst of all, this Emergency Department visit was billed out at a Level 5, or the highest level of severity for any emergency department visit. This would be on par with a stroke, heart attack, or gun shot wound. Because of this high level coding, this person was charged $1,204.00 for this visit, which was an asthma attack.

At Plum Health, we value price transparency, and we want to make sure that folks understand the costs of their medical care before those services are rendered. This prevents people from being sent to medical bankruptcy, the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

“A study done at Harvard University indicates that this is the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies. One of the interesting caveats of this study shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance, thus bucking the myth that medical bills affect only the uninsured.” - Investopedia article

This is why I get out into the community and speak at different events - I want to educate folks about how they can live healthier lives and prevent financial calamity in the process.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Want to take a deeper dive? Read our book, published on Amazon.

 Paul Thomas MD at the Detroit Public Library speaking about Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD at the Detroit Public Library speaking about Direct Primary Care.

 Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Detroit Public Library about Direct Primary Care and making health care more affordable and accessible.

Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Detroit Public Library about Direct Primary Care and making health care more affordable and accessible.

Paul Thomas MD Speaking at Michigan State University

This week, I was invited to speak at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine regarding Direct Primary Care. It was a neat experience because the school has three campuses and my lecture was simulcast to the other two campuses. I spoke at the Detroit location (did you know that Michigan State University has a medical school campus in Detroit?) and the talk was broadcast to the East Lansing and Macomb campuses.

The lecture was an hour, and in the first 45 minutes I discuss the current crisis in primary care, I define Direct Primary Care, and then I give real-world examples of how Direct Primary Care is working in our clinic in Southwest Detroit. During the last 20 minutes, I answered as many questions as I possibly can.

I love speaking with students about our healthcare system and about Direct Primary Care because I see the lightbulb go off - I see them ‘get it’ and understand the model and why it works well. I love witnessing that moment - the “aha” moment.

A few students bought my book about Direct Primary Care after the event and the pictures below are of me signing the book. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Get your copy of the book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System

  Signing a book  for one of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Students.

Signing a book for one of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Students.

 Dr. Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC signing the book,  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System  after a speaking engagement at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC signing the book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System after a speaking engagement at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

Direct Primary Care Book by Paul Thomas MD

Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System

This week, I had the privilege of publishing and releasing my first book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System. Here’s the blurb I wrote for the book on Amazon:

They said it couldn't be done. It wouldn't be possible to fix our broken healthcare system. It wouldn't be possible to fix a healthcare system that undervalues primary care and human relationships. But here we are, a courageous group of primary care doctors, tirelessly working to create value for our patients in communities across the country. This is the story of the Direct Primary Care movement, and how it could revolutionize not only primary care, but the entire healthcare system. The book begins by describing the current crisis in primary care and goes on to define the scope of Direct Primary Care. It closes with concrete examples of how the Direct Primary Care model is working at Plum Health DPC in Southwest Detroit.

It’s been a long journey from “idea” to “published”, and there’s still a lot of work to do promoting the book and getting it out into the world. I wrote the book because I believe that healthcare should be affordable and accessible for everyone, and I also believe that the Direct Primary Care model gets us closer to that goal. So, in the book, I set out to explain and describe the ethos of the Direct Primary Care movement and the work that I do in SW Detroit with Plum Health DPC.

Kindle/eBook version:

 Screenshot from Amazon.com with the Kindle version of the book.  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System .

Screenshot from Amazon.com with the Kindle version of the book. Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System.

 Screenshot from Amazon.com with the Paperback version of the book.  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System .

Screenshot from Amazon.com with the Paperback version of the book. Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System.

Within 72 hours, these titles will be merged into one page on Amazon!

Author Page for Paul Thomas MD on Amazon.com

One of the things that I had to do to publish the book on Amazon, was to set up an Author Page for myself, Paul Thomas MD, on Amazon.com. My bio reads something like this:

Dr. Paul Thomas is a board-certified family medicine physician practicing in Southwest Detroit. His practice is Plum Health DPC, a Direct Primary Care service that is the first of its kind in Detroit and Wayne County. His mission is to deliver affordable, accessible health care services in Detroit and beyond. He has been featured on WDIV-TV Channel 4, WXYZ Channel 7, Crain's Detroit Business and CBS Radio. He has been a speaker at TEDxDetroit and is a graduate of and Clinical Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine. You can find out more at PlumHealthDPC.com.

It’s pretty neat and motivating to get working on the next book! I have a lot of ideas that I want to write about, mostly involving Direct Primary Care, and this was such a cool process.

The Process of Writing the Direct Primary Care Book

I wrote the book in about one week in January 2018. I thought I’d have it published in March. Boy was I wrong! After writing it, I sent the draft to some brave alpha readers, who read it and gave me feedback. That brought me to February. I then edited the draft with those suggestions and came up with a second draft, which I sent to some beta readers.

From there, Amanda and I edited the entire book and had the final draft. This was March. I still needed a cover design, formatting, promotional quotes from people I knew, and so many other things that I was naive to prior to starting this process.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have a million people to thank, from those alpha readers to those who helped me design the cover through those who wrote blurbs for the book and my publisher. It definitely took a village to get this over the finish line. A very special thank you to Zain Ismail for writing the foreword.

Reception So Far

So far, the reception to the Direct Primary Care book has been good. We have been number one in the “Physician & Patient” and “Administration & Policy” categories on Amazon.com, which is exciting, and we broke the top ten for “Medical eBooks!”

  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System  trending in Medical eBooks “Administration and Policy”.

Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System trending in Medical eBooks “Administration and Policy”.

  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System  is trending in Medical eBooks “Physicians & Patient” Category on Amazon.com

Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System is trending in Medical eBooks “Physicians & Patient” Category on Amazon.com

Thanks so much for reading, I appreciate all of you, and enjoy the book!

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, Physician with Plum Health DPC and now author of Direct Primary Care: The Cure for our Broken Healthcare System

 We’ve been getting a ton of support on Social Media, like our Facebook post. Follow us on Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/PlumHealthDPC/

We’ve been getting a ton of support on Social Media, like our Facebook post. Follow us on Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/PlumHealthDPC/

 We’ve been getting a lot of support on Social Media, like on our Instagram Page, follow us here: https://www.instagram.com/plumhealthdpc/

We’ve been getting a lot of support on Social Media, like on our Instagram Page, follow us here: https://www.instagram.com/plumhealthdpc/

Dr. Paul Thomas at the Future of Family Medicine Conference

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak with over 100 students and residents interested in the specialty of Family Medicine. This was at the aptly named “Michigan Future of Family medicine Conference” hosted by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians. The event was held at Michigan State University and hundreds of students were able to attend on a Saturday morning in October.

 The invitation for the fifth annual Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference, hosted by Michigan State University and the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

The invitation for the fifth annual Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference, hosted by Michigan State University and the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

For students, it can be hard to get excited about the future of Family Medicine. Family Physicians work long hours, have to deal with tons of insurance bureaucracy and red tape, and earn less than their colleagues in other specialties. It can leave students deflated.

 Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051106817705725953

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051106817705725953

However, I find that when I speak about Direct Primary Care and the opportunities that a DPC model of care can provide, students are energized and excited about the future of family medicine. You see, Family Medicine Doctors have the most tools in their tool set and can have the biggest impact on the community level - we lower admission rates to hospitals and decrease the cost of care for our patients. We also lower the rates of disease and death rates from disease.

But, as mentioned previously, Family Medicine is less desirable from the student’s perspective as it pays less and is a difficult job because of insurance hassles.

I think our profession, Family Medicine, is at a real moment of crisis, but also at a crossroads for opportunity. We can continue to be a part of the healthcare industrial complex, billing and coding, racking up charges on our patients, or we can adopt the Direct Primary Care model and serve our patients and our community with affordable and accessible health care services that are more just and compassionate in their delivery.

That’s my message, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to share it, and I’m very happy to have seen it resonate with so many energetic and eager medical students and residents.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC, a Direct Primary Care service in Southwest Detroit

 Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051097050086035456

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051097050086035456

 I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of over 100 + Medical Students and Medical Residents at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference in October 2018. I shared the stage with Dr. Sheala Jafry, Dr. Fatin Sahhar, and Dr. Amy Keenum. The event was held at Michigan State University and hosted by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of over 100 + Medical Students and Medical Residents at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference in October 2018. I shared the stage with Dr. Sheala Jafry, Dr. Fatin Sahhar, and Dr. Amy Keenum. The event was held at Michigan State University and hosted by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

Dr. Paul Thomas Speaks at DPC Nuts and Bolts 3.0

Today, I had the honor of speaking at the Direct Primary Care (DPC) Nuts and Bolts 3.0 Conference in Orlando, Florida. This conference is hosted by the Docs 4 Patient Care foundation, and specifically Lee S. Gross, MD who tirelessly works to support and uplift Direct Primary Care and DPC Docs.

I was able to speak about “Being the Doctor You Are Meant to Be”, and specifically the concept of Ikigai, or the reason for being. I believe that Family Doctors and Primary Care Physicians are more likely to reach a fulfilling practice if they have the Ikigai framework in place.

A fulfilling primary care practice and a fulfilling life looks like pursing your passion and practicing with purpose. It also means embracing your authenticity as a physician and having enough time to demonstrate the fullest care for your patients.

In our current system doctors aren’t allowed to care to their fullest capacity because of time limitations. In the DPC model, doctors can care deeply because they have the time and the resources to do this.

I am so proud of my Direct Primary Care colleagues for their time, energy, and effort in lowering the cost of health care, fixing our broken healthcare system, and becoming the doctors they were meant to be.

Thanks for reading,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC in Detroit, Michigan

 At the podium, sharing about passion, purpose, authenticity and caring. — with  Chad Savage ,  Josh Umbehr  and  Lee S. Gross  at  Rosen Hotels & Resorts Orlando .

At the podium, sharing about passion, purpose, authenticity and caring. — with Chad Savage, Josh Umbehr and Lee S. Gross at Rosen Hotels & Resorts Orlando.

 With the first panel of speakers, including some of my mentors. Thank you  Lee S. Gross  for hosting this amazing event.

With the first panel of speakers, including some of my mentors. Thank you Lee S. Gross for hosting this amazing event.

 The crowd - packed house of DPC docs and those aspiring to become DPC docs. The momentum of the  Direct Primary Care Alliance  is building.

The crowd - packed house of DPC docs and those aspiring to become DPC docs. The momentum of the Direct Primary Care Alliance is building.

 “Dr.  Paul Thomas  is rocking it! If you know folks in the Detroit area check out  Plum Health DPC  for a doctor that is following his passion!” - Dr. Nicholas Tomsen of Antioch Family Medicine in Wichita Kansas (photo cred and quote from Dr. Nicholas Tomsen)

“Dr. Paul Thomas is rocking it! If you know folks in the Detroit area check out Plum Health DPC for a doctor that is following his passion!” - Dr. Nicholas Tomsen of Antioch Family Medicine in Wichita Kansas (photo cred and quote from Dr. Nicholas Tomsen)

This is the video from the first day of the conference, with introductions to the first panel at 44:25, and my speech commencing at 46:16. Again, this is the live stream from Friday November 2nd in Orlando Florida at the Direct Primary Care Nuts and Bolts 2018 Conference.

Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health Receives the Vanguard Award

Last night, I had the incredible honor of receiving the Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award for our work with Plum Health DPC in Southwest Detroit. We believe in providing affordable, accessible health care in Detroit and our mission is resonating with people in the greater Detroit community. These sort of awards are meaningful in that they can bring greater attention and awareness to those underserved by our current health care system.

Thank you for reading, - Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health serves a Health Professional Shortage Area

Plum Health serves a Health Professional Shortage Area, and we’re proud to do this. Part of our mission is to deliver affordable, accessible health care services in Detroit and beyond. This is important because we are passionate about making health care available to communities that have been traditionally neglected by the existing medical system.

Unfortunately, doctors and hospital systems choose to locate their practices in neighborhoods and communities that have higher income levels and higher rates of private insurance coverage. You see, doctors in the current fee-for-service system only receive what they are paid by third party payers, like Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies.

And some of these payers pay more for services than others. For example, Medicaid reimbursement is much lower than Medicare reimbursement or Private Insurance reimbursement. This really hurts Detroit as a greater proportion of Detroiters rely on Medicaid for health insurance relatives to other counties in our region.

Therefore, the current fee-for-service system incentivizes doctors to locate their practices in higher-income communities, and thus leaves lower-income communities medically underserved. As an example, the ratio of primary care physicians to general population in Detroit is roughly 1 primary care physician for every 6,300 residents. In Oakland county, there’s about 1 primary care physician for every 683 residents.

Below are the medically underserved areas in Detroit as of 2017. We are proud to be practicing in the Southwest Detroit/Corktown neighborhoods and serving our neighbors, community members, and small businesses with high-quality medical services.

2018 Plum Health DPC serves a medically underserved neighborhood in Detroit.png

Thank you for reading and understanding this important issue,

-Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC in Detroit, Michigan

More on the above map: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a Federal Agency, develops shortage designation criteria to determine whether a geographic area, population group or facility is a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P). HPSAs may be designated as having a shortage of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers. They may be urban or rural areas, population groups, or medical or other public facilities. MUAs may be a whole county or a group of contiguous counties, a group of counties or civil divisions, or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of health services. MUPs may include groups of persons who face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to health care.

Additional information on Medicaid rates in Wayne county, take from MLive:

Medicaid Rates in Wayne County.png
Michigan Medicaid Map.png

Plum Health DPC on WDET

This week, we ran an advertisement on WDET with the Corktown Business Association. I have been a long-time fan, listener and supporter of WDET and it’s one of the best places to advertise for our business because the people who listen to WDET are those who think and care deeply about Detroit and the issues facing the city.

Also, WDET does an excellent job of informing the public about important issues of the day and it’s a great platform for community-level information and journalism.

At Plum Health, we are addressing the lack of health care and primary care resources in the City of Detroit, and we know that this mission resonates with people who care about the city and its future.

As a part of the Corktown Business Association, we work with other business owners in the neighborhood to make it a better place to live, work, shop, eat, play, and be healthy. I’m proud to be in the Corktown Business Association and I’m glad we had the opportunity to tell the story about a wonderful place to be with vibrant businesses, Corktown Detroit.

Here’s the spot that we sponsored on WDET, with some images added from our archive:

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

Dr. Paul Thomas, Physician with Plum Health DPC

Paul Thomas, MD Speaks at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

This week, I was able to speak at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine to a group of about 50 enthusiastic first and second year medical students on September 24th, 2018. This presentation focuses on the philosophy and practice of Direct Primary Care and the main points of a DPC practice.

I believe in Family Medicine and I believe in Family Medicine doctors and their ability to fix our broken healthcare system, to remake it into a compassionate, intuitive system that delivers comprehensive care.

Because of this belief, I speak as often as I can to medical students, residents, doctors, and allied health professionals about Direct Primary Care and its transformative power in our healthcare ecosystem.

Thanks for reading and watching,

-Dr. Paul Thomas, family medicine physician practicing at Plum Health DPC in Southwest Detroit

Plum Health at Crain's Detroit Homecoming 

Last week we attended Detroit homecoming at the Lexus velodrome sponsored by Crain’s Detroit. It was an event that brought together small business owners in Detroit and members of the Detroit expat community.

First of all, the Lexus velodrome is a really cool and exciting venue! It is a four lane track and there were cyclists racing at certain points of the event which was cool to see. In the middle of the track was a spectator spot with a bar and meeting areas for the small business owners, journalists, and members of the expat community to enjoy. Around the track there was booths for small businesses to set up and that is where we has the opportunity to interact with each other and the expats.

For me it was great to see the Detroit expats getting excited about small business and the growing entrepreneurial community in the city and it was nice to have some of them lend their expertise, knowledge, and insights during the event

The evening programming/after party was held at the Corner where they had a live band and an opportunity to get onto the historic Tiger’s stadium surface and hit some dingers!

In closing this was another fantastic event and a sign of the momentum in the Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

 Dr. Paul Thomas, MD of Plum Health DPC at the Crain’s Detroit Homecoming Event at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Paul Thomas, MD of Plum Health DPC at the Crain’s Detroit Homecoming Event at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, Michigan.

Plum Health DPC on Channel 7 Action News Detroit

Plum Health DPC on Channel 7 Action News Detroit

This week, our clinic Plum Health DPC was interviewed by the journalists at Channel 7 Action News in Detroit. The piece will be airing on Monday September 24th at 11 pm, after the season 2 premiere of “The Good Doctor”. This will air on Channel 7 in the Greater Detroit television market.

I was very impressed by the depth of questioning and level of examination our Direct Primary Care practice received during the course of the filming and interviewing. The journalists at Channel 7 WXYZ Detroit did a phenomenal job of learning about our practice and what makes us unique.

They went into great detail about the membership pricing, the wholesale medications, at-cost labs, and at-cost imaging services. I came away with a greater understanding and appreciation for how much work goes into each and every segment that we watch on the local news and I am so excited to see the final piece, tonight at 11!

Thanks for reading and watching, teaser trailer after the break,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC in Detroit, Michigan

To make an appointment, call 313.444.5630. To enroll online, go to this link. To learn more, check out our main webpage.

Full Video from WXYZ Channel 7 News Featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC.

Video trailer of the WXYZ Detroit Channel 7 News Clip featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC:

I had a blast speaking at the AAFP Direct Primary Care Conference

I cannot tell you how much fun I had speaking at the AAFP DPC Conference, I loved it this much:

 Dr. Paul Thomas speaking about Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care practice at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Paul Thomas speaking about Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care practice at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Seriously, I had an amazing opportunity to speak directly with my Direct Primary Care colleagues about Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care practice at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

I believe that our family physicians are the backbone of the health care system in America, and I am encouraged and enthused by their willingness to step into their own power and create ideal practices that optimally serve their individual patients and their greater communities.

I'm all in on helping my colleagues create their best practices and to become the doctors they were meant to be. One of the biggest challenges that doctors face is in the realms of branding and marketing as most family physicians have little or no training in these areas. 

What I conveyed in my lecture was how to create a brand, engage in branding your practice, and actively market your practice. I'm posting about this again because I'm that amped up and because the lecture is now live on the AAFP website, here

Thanks for reading and for watching! Below are some bonus screenshots from the talk. If you're an individual looking for this type of care for yourself, your family, or your employees, please call me at 313.444.5630 or send me an email at paul@plumhealthdpc.org. If you're a DPC doctor and you need help branding and marketing your practice, reach out to me because I'm happy to help.

Sincerely,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, physician with Plum Health DPC in Southwest Detroit 

How to Find the Best Prescription Drug Prices in Detroit

As many of us are aware, the price of prescription drugs can be astronomical. People are paying for a retail markup at pharmacies, often paying 10 - 20 times as much as the drug actually costs at wholesale. Even worse, insurance companies often charge more for medications purchased via your insurance plan than the medication would cost if you bought it at the cash price. 

Why is this important to me? I'm a Family Doctor in Southwest Detroit and I took an oath to do no harm, and for me that oath also includes doing no financial harm. So, I am focused on lowering the cost of health care for my patients and the greater community. 

How to find the best prescription drug prices in Detroit

If you're like many people, you probably go to the pharmacy with your Rx card or prescription card from your health insurance company. You then have the pharmacist 'run the card' to find out if you get a discount when you purchase medication. 

What you should do instead is ask the pharmacist, "what is your cash price for this medication?" Also, you can ask for any coupons that the pharmacist might have. If you are dissatisfied with the price, then pull out your insurance card and ask for them to 'run the card'. This will ensure that you have a fair price point to start from. 

In addition, you can shop around for the best prescription drug prices in Detroit or in your local community by comparing prices online. Using tools like GoodRx.com can help you find the exact price for the medication you need. 

Using Direct Primary Care to Lower Drug Prices

There is another option to find even lower prescription drug prices. That option is called Direct Primary Care. In the Direct Primary Care model, doctors aim to provide as much value as possible for patients' health care dollars. In simple terms, we DPC doctors try to lower the cost of health care. 

What does this look like? It looks like 70% - 90% savings on prescription drug prices in Detroit and the Metro Detroit Area. Just check out this chart and see for yourself the actual, wholesale cost of the medication compared to the price you would pay at the pharmacy with the retail pharmacy mark up, or the inflated price. 

 Original image taken from  Consumer Reports .

Original image taken from Consumer Reports.

 

How do we do this? At Plum Health DPC, we buy the medications at a wholesale price and then we sell them to our patients at-cost. This means if we buy a bottle of 1000 blood pressure medications at $10, each pill costs 1 cent. Then your monthly prescription cost for that blood pressure medication is 30 cents.

In the above example, we are able to get Pioglitazone (Actos) for $4.30 per month, Celecoxib (Celebrex) for $6.47 per month, Duloxetine (Cymbalta) for $7.04 per month, Atorvastatin or Lipitor for $2.09 per month, and Clopidogrel or Plavix for $4.28 per month. The total monthly cost would be $24.18 for our patient, and that is a huge cost savings compared to the nearest retail pharmacy.

By lowering the cost of medications, we can improve access to primary care services, better control blood pressure and diabetes, and therefore decrease the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and complications of diabetes in our community. This will lead to lower rates of disability and death, or a healthier society. 

We are proud to make a difference in this way. Thank you for reading and learning about the cost of prescription drugs, and let me know if I can help you or a family member lower the cost of health care.

Sincerely,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health featured on the Beyond Medicine Podcast

This week, I was able to speak with Dr. Rami Wehbi about Direct Primary Care on his podcast, the Beyond Medicine Podcast

Dr. Wehbi brings a unique perspective to the conversation as he is a Family Medicine Resident, considering his options as he creates a career for himself in Medicine. 

This a crucial time in the life of a young professional, especially the life of a family physician. For a family doc like Dr. Wehbi, he could pursue an additional year of training in something like Sports Medicine, he could become a teaching physician, he could sign a contract with a large hospital system to see patients at a high rate, he could start a Direct Primary Care practice, or he could take on other options.

For me, Dr. Wehbi is the future - his choice, and the choices of his colleagues like him, will shape the future of family medicine and the future of how our patients afford and access health care in their communities.

I am so grateful to Dr. Rami Wehbi for having this conversation with me and I know that he will be successful in whatever path he chooses. People like Dr. Wehbi thinking critically about health care, and how we deliver that care, will advance the discussion and bring us closer to a better system. 

In this part of the show, we discuss why health insurance really hurts low income people. Health insurance sets the price point too high for accessing routine, every day care. Often times, uninsured folks who are unable to afford the high cost of private insurance often go without basic health care services. For these patients, they cannot participate in the system because they don't have enough money to buy into the system. Further, if they do buy private insurance, they might be afraid to use health care services in the fee-for-service system because of the unknown/unclear pricing in that system.

In this video, we discuss the difference between health care and health insurance. In our health care model, we focus on developing relationships with our patients so that we can get to the root of the problem, rather than just treating the symptoms. We have this ability because we have enough time with our patients.

Here's the full list of what we discuss in the Beyond Medicine Podcast episode:

  • Background of Dr. Paul and why he decided to start a Direct Primary Care practice in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Why Insurance is a failing system in the medical world.
  • How Insurance is inflating the cost of medicine.
  • Why doctors have been unable to maintain a healthy doctor patient relationship.
  • The difference between Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine.
  • What is included in a Direct Primary Care practice.
  • How does Direct Primary Care work and how does it benefit patients.
  • How to find a doctor that practice in a Direct Primary Care model.
  • How DPC can work with your insurance plan. HMO vs PPO vs Medicaid
  • How Direct Primary Care can save you money every month.
  • Doing the math of savings and how you can change your insurance plan and join a direct primary care.
  • Wholesaling medications for patients in Detroit and Southeast Michigan and how Dr. Paul is able to save patients the cost of membership with the savings on medications alone.
  • How DPC can work in non- affluent neighborhoods and how to start one.
  • Patient pool in DPC vs a insurance based model.
  • How to make a DPC practice sustainable and profitable. My experience with being demoralized seeing the current state of healthcare.
  • How do you order imaging, get consults from specialists.
  • How does pricing work?

You can listen to or download the podcast, here. You can find out more about Dr. Wehbi, here

Thanks for reading and watching, and have a wonderful day.

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Below are some extra videos produced by Dr. Rami Wehbi, enjoy!

In the above video, we discuss our values at Plum Health DPC, and we value the doctor-patient relationship. We value getting to know our patients, understanding who they are, and where they want to go in their health care journey. We also really value price transparency. We want all of our patients to know what the prices for health care are, so that they can make informed choices about consuming health care services.

Below, Dr. Rami Wehbi and I discuss why it's important to have longer, often 1 hour appointments with our patients. This really allows us to focus on the relationship, and developing strong relationships with our patients. 

Dr. Paul Thomas is a Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award Recipient

 

This week I am humbled to have been selected as a Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award Recipient along with an amazing class of movers and shakers. The winners are from various professional backgrounds and represent the next generation of leaders in Detroit and beyond.  

Beyond being an award, this honor symbolizes that this idea is gaining traction. The idea that health care should be affordable and accessible for everyone. The idea that Detroit deserves excellent primary care services. The idea that we can make a tangible difference in people's lives by doing the right thing.

A sincere thank you to the Detroit Young Professionals organization for selecting me for this honor, and a heartfelt congratulations to my fellow awardees. See you October 24th at the Vanguard Awards!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Paul Thomas MD Plum Health Vanguard Detroit Young Professionals Award Winner 2018.jpg

Speaking at the AAFP DPC Summit 2018

Speaking at the AAFP DPC Summit

This weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at the American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) Direct Primary Care Summit 2018. The DPC Summit 2018 took place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 13th - 15th and we shared best practices about Direct Primary Care.

 Several of the founding members of the Direct Primary Care Alliance, an organization advocating for the needs of the independent DPC doctors, including Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, Dr. Ryan Neuhoffel, Dr. Julie Gunther, Dr. Phil Eskew, Dr. Nicholas Tomsen, Dr. Landon Roussel, Dr. Amy Walsh, Dr. Delicia Haynes, Dr. Jeff Gold, Dr. Luke Van Kirk, Dr. James Gaor, Dr. Staci Benson, et al.

Several of the founding members of the Direct Primary Care Alliance, an organization advocating for the needs of the independent DPC doctors, including Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, Dr. Ryan Neuhoffel, Dr. Julie Gunther, Dr. Phil Eskew, Dr. Nicholas Tomsen, Dr. Landon Roussel, Dr. Amy Walsh, Dr. Delicia Haynes, Dr. Jeff Gold, Dr. Luke Van Kirk, Dr. James Gaor, Dr. Staci Benson, et al.

The name of my talk was "DPC Hustles Harder", an homage to the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude of my home town summed up in the phrase "Detroit Hustles Harder." I also see several parallels between Detroit and the DPC movement - embattled, not fully understood, at a crossroads, with the potential to grow rapidly. 

I named my talk DPC Hustles Harder because as a DPC doctor, your name is not on the back of your patients' insurance card and you will not get referrals from large health care systems or their doctors or administrators. In fact, as a DPC doctor, you have to go out, pound the payment, write for local papers, write blog posts, send emails, and leverage social media platforms to reach your target audience.

All of this can be a ton of work and it can feel overwhelming, especially for physicians who haven't had any formal communications or digital marketing training. So I set out to simplify the tools and processes for doctors to reach more patients. 

I did this because I believe in the Direct Primary Care model and the DPC movement, it's ability to lower the cost of care and deliver a higher quality of service for patients, families, and communities across our nation. I sincerely believe in the abilities of my DPC colleagues, and I want to help and uplift their efforts. 

I don't have the full video version of my presentation, but I will post it as soon as it's available. For now, I have several pictures taken by my colleagues (see below), some great memories from connecting with my colleagues, and a deep sense of gratitude for the ability to teach others about how to overcome challenges when it comes to branding and marketing their Direct Primary Care practices. 

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

 Speaking at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Summit 2018, my lecture was called DPC Hustles Harder and it focused on Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care Practice. 

Speaking at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Summit 2018, my lecture was called DPC Hustles Harder and it focused on Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care Practice. 

Barriers to Starting a Direct Primary Care Practice and How to Overcome Them

I am so excited for this weekend! I'll be speaking at the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians annual conference on Saturday morning. The title of my presentation is "Direct Primary Care: Barriers to Adoption and How to Overcome Them." The lecture will be held at Western Michigan University and will start at 8:10 am. 

Here's what the MAFP has to say about the presentation:

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a dynamic and exciting practice model well-suited for Family Physicians. Its adoption in Michigan, however, has lagged behind other states, such as Florida, Colorado, and Kansas. This engaging session will begin by defining DPC and identifying successful practices in Michigan, as well as regionally and nationally. We will then identify barriers to starting a DPC practice and how to overcome them. Paul Thomas, MD, Plum Health Direct Primary Care (Detroit)

2018 MAFP Logo.jpg

I am speaking because I believe that we have a unique opportunity to remake our healthcare system into one that is truly compassionate, and one that benefits all parties involved - namely patients, their families, their physicians and allied health professionals. 

I am so enthusiastic about Direct Primary Care because it removes the middle men and barriers between patients and their doctors, and allows for a restoration of the doctor patient relationship. It also lowers costs on everything from office visits, to lab work, medications, and imaging studies. 

If you're available, please join me for this lecture, Saturday July 14th at 8:10 am in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Below is a PDF from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians quarterly magazine about the upcoming presentation, and beneath that is a short video from the conference: 

2018 MAFP Article in the Summer Issue.png

Plum Health Featured in Model D Media

Today I'm ecstatic to see Plum Health DPC mentioned by Model D Media. If you're unfamiliar, Model D Media is a relentlessly positive digital publication that focuses on art, architecture, business, and development in and around Detroit. 

The article featuring Plum Health DPC was entitled "8 Detroit startups that could change the world." Here's their take on Plum Health:

Plum Health DPC

Your own personal doctor, on call and on demand. That’s what Dr. Paul Thomas is pitching with his Plum Health practice in Detroit. Rather than pay a doctor for each visit, Thomas is instead instituting a monthly subscription-style service for his patients. What’s more is that you don’t need health insurance for his services (though Thomas does encourage patients have health insurance as he doesn't offer hospital-type healthcare).

Dr. Thomas’s patients receive unlimited care for a monthly fee, which breaks down as follows: Ages 0 to 17, $10 per month; 18 to 39, $49 per month; 40 to 64, $69 per month; and ages 65 and up, $89 per month. The service results in significantly cheaper lab tests, prescriptions, and more.

Dr. Thomas could disrupt the field of primary care, right from his office in Detroit.

 A tweet from @ModelD about Plum Health DPC, a startup in Detroit that could change the world.

A tweet from @ModelD about Plum Health DPC, a startup in Detroit that could change the world.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health Interviewed by Daily Detroit

This week, we were interviewed by Daily Detroit about our Demo Day Win! Here's the "News Byte"

In the above interview, Jeremiah mentions a previous interview, and that interview can be heard here:

If you're unfamiliar with our service, my name is Dr. Paul Thomas and I'm a Family Medicine Doctor in Detroit. Our office is in Southwest Detroit and we take care of people of all ages and stages - our youngest patient is 6 months old and our oldest is now 92 years young. 

We offer the same services as any other primary care office, but we use a membership model - that means that our members pay $10/month for children and starting at $49/month for adults to use our service. This allows us to have more one-on-one time with our patients and deliver a higher level of service in our office. 

One way that we go above and beyond is that every patient has my cell phone number - meaning that they can call or text me anytime they need me. We guarantee same-day or next-day appointments, and the majority of our in-office procedures are free of charge, like abscess drainage, toenail removal, ear lavage, etc...

If you're ready to start your journey to better health with Plum Health, then head over to our enrollment link, here

Thanks for reading and listening!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health Interview on Podcast Detroit about winning Detroit Demo Day.png

Plum Health Wins Detroit Demo Day 2018

Last night, Plum Health DPC won the Detroit Demo Day 2018 prize for $50,000 in the "Start" category! This was an amazing experience from start to finish - the level of professionalism on the Demo Day team is unrivaled. 

It was an honor to even be selected for the pitch competition, but then to have a team of professionals help me hone the pitch, and a team of people create such an amazing event to showcase small businesses in Detroit was truly incredible. Thank you to these folks at Quicken and at the Music Hall!

I was blown away by the amount of people who came out to support entrepreneurship in Detroit, the Music Hall auditorium was packed with cheering family members, friends, business associates, investors and enthusiasts - this is truly a special moment in Detroit for entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

Additionally, I have so much love for all of the presenters and Detroit entrepreneurs who stood tall and pitched their unique businesses, whether or not they walked away with prize money. They are all worthy of your support as they've worked tirelessly to even get onto this stage - House of Pure Vin,  Michigan Farm to Freezer, Rebel Nell, Accelerate Kid, Building Hugger, Cynt-Sational Popcorn, Detroit Denim, Tait Design, The Ten Nail Bar, Bloomscape, Lush Yummies, Reilly Craft Creamery, Fangage, and Yum Village. 

Now that we've won, we plan on growing into a larger space, hiring another doctor, and serving more people in our community. This is just the beginning. 

Here's our winning pitch (time 1:11:23):

And here's the announcement for the $50,000 prize (time 2:13:20):

If you're ready to start your journey to better health with Plum Health, you can enroll online here, or call 313.444.5630.

Thanks so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! 

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC, delivering affordable, accessible health care in Detroit and beyond. 

 Screenshot from Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day video - winners from the "Start" category including Justin Mast of Bloomscape with a $75,000 prize, Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC with a $50,000 prize, James Chapman (host), Jennifer Lyle of Lush Yummies Pie Co with the $25,000 People's Choice Award and the $100,000 prize, Ron Bartell of Kuzzo's Chicken and Waffles and former Detroit Lion (judge), and Janelle Bechdol of The Hall Pass Tour (host). Judges not pictured here are Anne Sempowski Ward a Detroit native and CEO of CURiO brands and Charles Adler the Co-founder of Kickstarter.

Screenshot from Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day video - winners from the "Start" category including Justin Mast of Bloomscape with a $75,000 prize, Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC with a $50,000 prize, James Chapman (host), Jennifer Lyle of Lush Yummies Pie Co with the $25,000 People's Choice Award and the $100,000 prize, Ron Bartell of Kuzzo's Chicken and Waffles and former Detroit Lion (judge), and Janelle Bechdol of The Hall Pass Tour (host). Judges not pictured here are Anne Sempowski Ward a Detroit native and CEO of CURiO brands and Charles Adler the Co-founder of Kickstarter.

Further reading: Crain's Detroit Business has written an article about the event, here. The Detroit News has written an article about the event, here.

Above are photos from my friend and fellow Detroit Entrepreneur Fares Ksebati and below is a video from my friend and entrepreneur, Andrew Koper. Fares and Andrew, thank you for capturing these moments of the pitch and thanks for being there!