Speaking Engagement

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.

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).

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

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 

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

Wayne State University School of Medicine History Presentation

Our video has been posted online! I had the opportunity to present the history of Wayne State University School of Medicine, and it is now available as a YouTube video. Check it out, below.

Thanks for reading and watching!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

 

The History of Wayne State University School of Medicine

This week, I was invited to give a presentation on the history of Wayne State University School of Medicine during its Sesquicentennial Celebration. Yes! The WSU SOM is 150 years old, and it has a rich history of diversity, inclusion, and innovation that should be celebrated. Interestingly, the history of the Medical School is the history of the University, as the University grew out of the Medical School. While I can't cover the entire history in a single blog post, I will give some highlights from the early years of the college below. When the full presentation is released later this year, I will post it to the blog as well. 

 Theodore A. McGraw, MD, founder of the Detroit Medical College, which would later become Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Theodore A. McGraw, MD, founder of the Detroit Medical College, which would later become Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The Detroit Medical College was founded in 1868 by five returning Civil War Veterans. One can only imagine the horrors that they saw on the battlefield and you can also imagine the inadequacy that they felt in treating wounded soldiers. In the 1860's, aseptic surgical techniques were only beginning to be used and anesthesia was not fully understood. 

Can you imagine what it might have felt like to be a battlefield clinician, and not having the proper tools or training? Dr. Theodore McGraw, founder of the Detroit Medical College is quoted as saying: "I had discovered in my two years of army activity that I was deficient in that exact knowledge of anatomy that was essential to good surgery.  The advent of antiseptic and aseptic surgery, besides, had opened a new field for operative work, that of the abdomen, which demanded a study of anatomical relations which had never been taught in the schools."

Dr. Theodore McGraw was focused on both teaching and learning, and that desire is summed up in this quote "We entered into the matter with unbounded enthusiasm – enthusiasm for teaching and developing ourselves."

To this end, the charter of the Detroit Medical College elucidated how this would be achieved. In the charter (pictured below), it is written that "Pains will be taken to instruct each Student in PRACTICAL DIAGNOSIS. For this purpose the advanced Students will be called upon in turn to examine patients. After pronouncing a Diagnosis, questions will be asked in relation to differential symptoms... ...Little benefit can result to the Student from seeing cases diagnosticated and treated by the Professor of Practical Surgery and Medicine, unless he is first allowed to exert his own powers, and test his own knowledge, by personal examination of the patients."

 The Detroit College of Medicine charter from 1868, signed by founding physician Thodore A. McGraw, MD. The charter puts forth the founding principles of the institution. 

The Detroit College of Medicine charter from 1868, signed by founding physician Thodore A. McGraw, MD. The charter puts forth the founding principles of the institution. 

This ethos of having students practice medicine, to serve the community, and to learn by doing, echoes throughout the history of the School of Medicine. This is the very foundation of the University and the key to its enduring greatness. It is also the reason that I chose to attend WSU SOM - I wanted to immerse myself in the diversity of the city and the breadth of clinical opportunities available in Detroit, from serving homeless and uninsured patients in community clinics to learning from some of the leading minds and researchers in the country at the University clinics. 

At its inception, the Detroit Medical College set up a relationship with Harper Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital, which allowed students to learn from and serve the people of Detroit. The focus is, and has always been, learning by doing. The early photos below illustrate these tenets. 

 

 

The above photo series include the following images: first is the Detroit Medical College, which housed the medical school after 1868, the second image shows students during anatomy lab sometime around 1900, which is not very different than anatomy lab at the School of Medicine today. The third image is St. Mary's Hospital, one of the two clinical training sites after 1868. The fourth image is the operating theater at St. Mary's Hospital in 1898. The Operator is Dr. Henry O. Walker. At his left, hands behind his back, is Dr. Theodore McGraw, the founder of the Detroit Medical College who emphasized teaching by doing. The final image is Harper Hospital, the primary clinical training site for students at the Detroit Medical College. 

It was an honor to be able to relay the history of Wayne State University School of Medicine to my physician colleagues this weekend, and it is a great reminder of what makes doctors from Wayne State unique and so  skilled - the focus on hands-on clinical training and the diversity of the people we have the privilege of serving. 

Thanks for reading,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, Physician with Plum Health DPC