Interview

Plum Health Featured on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee

Today we were featured on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee. This is our third time appearing on this program and it’s always a pleasure to be interviewed by Mark S. Lee.

Our segment starts at 45:13:

46:30 - we introduce Dr. Raquel Orlich, an Osteopathic physician who joined our practice on July 1st, 2019

46:40 - an update: Direct Primary Care is a membership model for health care that has grown tremendously because of the ever-rising costs of health insurance. There are now roughly 1,200 Direct Primary Care practices across the country. Our practice in Detroit, Plum Health DPC, now has over 500 members and we continue to deliver affordable, accessible healthcare in Detroit and beyond. People choose Plum Health because they can have a personal relationship with their doctor. People choose Plum Health because they have affordable costs for their meds, labs, and imaging services.

48:00 - Dr. Raquel Orlich talks about her education at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She also talks about how she found out about Plum Health DPC and how Dr. Paul and Dr. Raquel had a lot of alignment in their goals for medical care and community-based practice.

49:55 - Dr. Raquel Orlich talks about her scope of practice - taking care of people of all ages and stages. Dr. Raquel has special interests in Women’s Health, Preventive Medicine, and Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy.

50:42 - Mark S. Lee talks about our book Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System and how we thanked him in our Acknowledgments section for his coverage of Plum Health early on, before other journalists began taking notice.

50:55 - On the growth of Plum Health DPC, we have surpassed 500 members! This constitutes a full panel for Dr. Paul Thomas, and therefore we needed to bring on a second doctor, Dr. Raquel Orlich. At this point, any new patients will be patients of Dr. Raquel Orlich. We want to make it clear that there will always be room for new patients at Plum Health DPC and we will work tirelessly to accommodate anyone who needs or wants our care.

51:46 - Plum Health DPC will be moving into The Corner - Detroit development. This is at the Legendary Corner of Michigan and Trumbull in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. This is an amazing place because of all the Major League Baseball history at this site - players like Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth graced this diamond and this is the site of the 1984 Detroit Tigers’ World Series Championship. We will be moving into our new space at The Corner in September 2019 if everything goes according to plan and according to the proposed construction schedule.

53:12 - Dr. Raquel Orlich completed her residency at Ascension Macomb Hospital and she is now practicing in Detroit at Plum Health DPC. Mark S. Lee asks for her thoughts on the move. She wanted to have an opportunity to give back, especially with her background in volunteering. She wanted to make sure that she would have enough to spend with her patients and the capacity to provide low-cost services for patients who need it.

55:20 - Our practice, Plum Health DPC, continues to serve folks who have been left out by the traditional fee-for-service system. Dr. Paul Thomas discusses how we often have new patients sign up for the practice who haven’t been to the doctor for 5 - 10 years because they’ve been uninsured or underinsured and concerned about the cost of their potential medical care.

Thanks so much for listening, and have a wonderful day. If you’d like to have this type of health care for you, your family, or your small business, please reach out at 313.444.5630 or enroll online, here.

Again, a big thank you to Mark S. Lee for having us on his program, Small Talk with Mark S. Lee. Until next time!

-Paul Thomas, MD and Raquel Orlich, DO

2019.08.10 Paul Thomas MD Raquel Orlich DO and Mark S Lee on Small Talk Radio Detroit.jpeg

Detroit Doctor Lowers the Cost of Prescription Medications

Medication prices are unsustainably high, putting a huge financial burden on every day Americans. In a recent survey, 8% of adult Americans don’t take their medicines as prescribed because they can’t afford them.

In addition, the cost of insulin for an average patient with Type 1 Diabetes doubled from 2012 to 2016. In fact, the cost of medications like insulin are inflating at higher rates than college tuition, college textbooks, and hospital services.

The cost of insulin is increasing at rates far above overall inflation, even outpacing the cost of college tuition and college textbooks.

The cost of insulin is increasing at rates far above overall inflation, even outpacing the cost of college tuition and college textbooks.

All of this data is presented to make the point: health care and specifically prescription medications have become more and more unaffordable for average Americans.

Fortunately, there is a better way to get prescription medications. One way is to develop a relationship with a Direct Primary Care physician, who focuses on improving access to affordable health care services, medications, and lab work.

The medications provided by Direct Primary Care doctors are typically given to patients at-cost or at a small markup to cover shipping, bottles, and labels. Direct Primary Care doctors do this because they believe that health care should be affordable and accessible for everyone.

Our Direct Primary Care practice here in Detroit is called Plum Health DPC and we pride ourselves on lowering the cost of medications for our patients. A partial list of these medications and their prices can be found on our Pricing Page as well as by following this link to our PDF of medication prices.

For example, we had a young lady come in to our clinic with an outbreak of HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus that was affecting her genitals. She went to the local pharmacy and requested a course of Valtrex, and she was told that the medication would cost $100. She heard about our clinic, signed up for our services and now is able to get a course of treatment with Valtrex for $1.49.

As another example, we had a diabetic patient who was not actively managing his diabetes because he was scared about how much the medication might cost. He was not seeking medical attention and was not taking any medication at all for his diabetes. Unfortunately, he developed a severe skin infection that required hospitalization. The nursing staff directed him to our clinic and we were able to get his diabetic medication for free through a pharmaceutical program. Additionally, we are able to manage his high blood pressure and high cholesterol for under $5/month.

Because of this type of work that we do for our patients everyday, we have the privilege of being interviewed on WDET’s Detroit Today. This segment will air at 9:00 am on Wednesday May 22nd. Please tune in or share the podcast link to spread the word about how we’re actively lowering the cost of health care and prescription medications in Detroit and beyond.

Thank you for reading and listening,

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

For more information on this topic, read our previous blog post, titled: How to Find the Best Prescription Drug Prices in Detroit

Detroit doctor, Paul Thomas MD, is using the Direct Primary Care model to the lower the cost of prescription medications in Detroit and beyond

Detroit doctor, Paul Thomas MD, is using the Direct Primary Care model to the lower the cost of prescription medications in Detroit and beyond

This is an addendum to the Original Post, from WDET’s post:

Henderson also speaks with Dr. Paul Thomas, a primary care physician at Plum Health in Southwest Detroit. Since 2016, Thomas has had his patients pay an affordable monthly membership fee for healthcare and then he gets them their necessary medication at cost. A common blood pressure medication that would normally cost between $5 and $10 when billed through insurance and filled at a pharmacy, is instead costing patients just 27 cents for a month supply.

WDET’s coverage of Stephen Henderson’s conversation with Paul Thomas, MD on Detroit Today.

WDET’s coverage of Stephen Henderson’s conversation with Paul Thomas, MD on Detroit Today.

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health Featured on Sound Financial Bites

This week, we were featured on Sound Financial Bites. The topic was wide ranging, and it was great to be featured on this podcast. The producers of Sound Financial Bites, Paul Adams and Cory Shepherd, wrote a fantastic summary of our conversation, here:

EPISODE SUMMARY

This episode of the Sound Financial Bites Podcast tackles a topic that is central to our financial and physical wellbeing: healthcare. Paul Adams and Cory Shepherd welcome primary care physician Dr. Paul Thomas to discuss his practice, Plum Health, and the innovative strides he is making in the healthcare industry. Dr. Paul’s mission is to make healthcare accessible to those who cannot afford it and those who are fed up with the time, energy and money spent on traditional methods.

WHAT WAS COVERED

  • 01:24 – Introducing today’s guest, Dr. Paul Thomas

  • 02:38 – Dr. Paul defines the term direct primary care

  • 03:18 – Concierge medicine

  • 04:59 – How Dr. Paul’s business model makes money

  • 06:39 – The huge markup on healthcare services

  • 09:49 – The amount of patients a typical primary care physician has

  • 11:26 – The pricing model that Dr. Paul utilizes

  • 13:32 – Dr. Paul talks about the incredible growth of his practice, Plum Health

  • 15:53 – Dr. Paul’s vision for the next five years of his practice

  • 19:25 – Cosmetic surgery and Lasik

  • 20:43 – Paul interrupts the podcast to provide the audience with a special offer

  • 21:52 – The distinction between health insurance and healthcare

  • 22:42 – Making healthcare accessible to those who cannot afford it

  • 24:49 – The high-income earning patients that Dr. Paul also serves

  • 26:28 – How Dr. Paul’s practice remains profitable

  • 29:45 – The value of primary care  

  • 34:04 – The convenience factor

  • 34:36 – Paul invites the audience to submit questions for Dr. Paul that he will answer in the next episode he joins

  • 35:58 – Cory thanks Dr. Paul for joining Sound Financial Bites

TWEETABLES

“I really want to make healthcare affordable and accessible for everyone. And, for me, that looks like removing those middle men that inflate the cost of care and delivering primary care services directly to my patients.”

“If you use your insurance to buy healthcare services it’s gonna increase those prices because you increase the middle man. You increase the people who are handling your money between you and your doctor.”

“I’m routinely spending thirty minutes to one hour with each of my patients who come through my door.”

“That’s what it’s all about. We’re about bringing healthcare to a community that has been underserved.”

“One of the biggest problems we have as a country is that ninety percent of the medicine that’s paid for in our country is paid for by somebody who is not the patient.”

“Health insurance is not healthcare. Healthcare, delivered by a primary care physician who actually cares about you, is excellent healthcare.”

“If you make greater than sixteen thousand dollars, you are disqualified from Medicaid services.”

LINKS

Sound Financial Group on Facebook - @SoundFinancialGroup

Sound Financial Group on LinkedIn

Dr. Paul Thomas LinkedIn

Dr. Paul Thomas Facebook

Dr. Paul Thomas Twitter

Dr. Paul Thomas Instagram

Dr. Paul Thomas Website/Blog

Dr. Paul Thomas Book - Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System

Thinking about Direct Primary Care, if you’re able to integrate our service with the right insurance product, there could be tremendous savings for you, your family, or your business. In short, part of my job is to protect you from insurance companies, big lab companies, and hospital systems that will overcharge you for your routine primary care services.

Thanks for reading and listening, and have a great day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Here’s the promo image from Sound Financial Bites for the podcast on Healthcare vs Health Insurance featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC.

Here’s the promo image from Sound Financial Bites for the podcast on Healthcare vs Health Insurance featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC.

Interview on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee

This week, we were featured on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee! Mark S. Lee is a good friend, and a champion of entrepreneurship in Detroit, so it was a privilege to be on the show. Here’s what we talked about:

Intro (01:45)

Dr. Paul Thomas is introduced by Mark S. Lee. Paul Thomas, MD 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. He is a graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine and now a Clinical Assistant Professor.

Flashpoint Interview (02:30)

Two weeks ago, we were featured on Flashpoint with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge. We were able to discuss the Direct Primary Care model and what’s included in a membership with Plum Health DPC. At Plum Health, we believe that health care should be affordable and accessible for everyone. We also believe in the power of a personal relationship with your physician. To that end, all of my patients have my cell phone number, and can contact me at any time, and they can have an appointment in our office same-day or next-day guaranteed. People are choosing Direct Primary Care services because they are looking at rising premiums for health insurance and seeing less and less value from these insurance plans. We also discuss how to differentiate health care from health insurance.

The beginnings of Plum Health DPC in Southwest Detroit (04:00)

The beginnings of Plum Health DPC and the growth of the practice - we’ve met and exceeded our growth goals for Plum Health. We currently have 425 to 430 active members in our practice. People choose Plum Health because they want to have a personalized relationship with their doctor.

Why the current health care system is broken (05:30)

People are over-insuring, or insuring everything from Flu Shots to ICU care, and this drives up the prices of everything in between. When you remove the third party payers, you can lower the cost of care.

The Direct Primary Care book (06:00)

Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System - I wrote the book because our health care ecosystem is so complicated, and I wanted to write a book that could guide folks to understanding the Direct Primary Care movement and our practice. I broke up the book up into three chapters: the current crisis in our primary care system, defining direct primary care, and showing the impact that we’re having in our practice, Plum Health DPC, in Southwest Detroit.

REcent media appearances (07:00)

With the recent media appearances, there are more and more primary care doctors starting Direct Primary Care practices. There’s been a groundswell of physicians taking up this DPC model, because there’s been a groundswell of patients standing up and demanding excellent primary care services from a physician that they can trust.

Clinical Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine (08:30)

I love speaking with students because they are really excited to learn about Direct Primary Care. Medical students are looking for a way to become primary care physicians without the insurance headaches like prior authorizations. When I speak with students, the lightbulb goes off, and they understand the model and get excited about practicing primary care. I love this because our country and our communities need excellent primary care physicians - they save communities money, they prevent hospitalizations and ER visits, and reduce unnecessary surgeries. From the American Academy of Family Physicians:

An increase of one primary care doctor per 10,000 people has been shown to result in:

  • 5% decrease in outpatient visits

  • 5.5% decrease in inpatient admissions

  • 10.9% decrease in ER visits

  • 7.2% decrease in surgeries

TedxDetroit Talk (09:30)

We spoke at TEDxDetroit in November of 2017 and, looking back, there have been several key events that helped us grow. The TEDxTalk, the Crain’s Detroit business profile, the Channel 4 WDIV story and the Channel 7 WXYZ story all contributed to our success.

Future Plans for Plum Health (10:30)

As we’re growing, more and more patients are spreading the word about Plum Health DPC via word of mouth. We’ve had some great reviews from our members! Excitingly, we’re growing and planning to add another doctor to our practice this year to be able to care for the next 500 patients who want to join.

Listen to the full interview here:

Thank you so much for reading and listening, and have a great week!

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

If you want to meet your goals for 2019, please reach out at paul@plumhealthdpc.com or 313.444.5630

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Plum Health featured in Excelerate America's Tenacity Tales

2018.12.27 Tenacity Tales Plum Health DPC Excelerate America.png

This week we were featured in Excelerate America’s Tenacity Tales! Here’s what they said about us:

Imagine being able to access your doctor anytime by phone, text or email. And knowing that you can get in to see him or her that very day, or within 24 hours at the longest.

Well Dr. Paul Thomas and Plum Health DPC is making this revolutionary possibility a reality for hundreds of Metro Detroit, Michigan-based patients.

The concept is specifically called Direct Primary Care. It's a completely new healthcare movement, one that's so different than the system most people are used to that Dr. Paul was compelled to write a book about it.

He's also constantly invited to speak about it at large conferences and galas, and was even invited to the White House earlier this month as a guest of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Read more about Dr. Paul's incredible entrepreneurial journey in an all-new healthcare space.


What’s the obstacle that you’ve overcome that you’re most proud of?

This has been a big year!

drpaul-v4-print-cover_Page_01.jpg

Publishing the book, "Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System", has been a big accomplishment for me.

It was not difficult to write the book, but having the intentionality to move the book from a completed word document on my desktop computer to a physical product that you can buy on Amazon has been challenging, with several small obstacles to overcome week by week and month by month.

I guess it's a good metaphor for being in business—It's not hard to have a great idea, but it is difficult to have the consistency, grit, and intentionality to advance that idea every day and every week towards your stated goals. 

Additionally, I'm proud of signing a lease to grow into a larger space. Our practice has grown from zero patients two years ago to over 425 patients today, so we will need a larger office to accommodate the diverse needs of our patients.

The process of signing a lease, designing an office space, and working with several different professionals to get the job done has been challenging. 

What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?

Experience is the greatest teacher, and I've made several mistakes along the way.

My biggest mistake by far has been undervaluing my time and talents. I recently finished reading "Entrepreneurial You" by Dorie Clark and it talks about having the courage to charge for your services, including during speaking engagements.

I'm glad to have asked for payments for past speaking gigs, and I need to be better at valuing my time and talents with future consulting gigs and speaking engagements. 


What’s your best advice to other small business owners?

If you're waiting for the perfect time to start, that moment when you feel ready, you'll never start. 

One quote to reinforce this is from Hugh Laurie, the actor who played “House MD”. His nugget of wisdom is as follows: “It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any." 

Fortunately I had a really compelling reason to start my business, otherwise I may still be dragging my feet about the perfect time to launch. Anyways, a community member signed up online, before I was ready to start. He called me on a Tuesday saying "I just took my last antidepressant, so I need you to be my doctor now." That day, I ordered $100-worth of medications, including the antidepressant that he needed. The next day, I received the medications and made the house call to his rental. 

All I had was my doctor's bag, my stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, oximeter, my laptop, and the medications he needed, but I was able to meet a previously unmet need at an affordable price for this person.

So, my advice is to stop waiting and do the thing. Done is better than perfect. 

What’s a typical day like for you?

I typically wake up and go for a run to get my mind and my body ready for the day. Then I make coffee and have breakfast.

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Most days, I work in the office 9am - 5pm, sometimes 8am to 6pm or later depending on what needs to be done for which patients. A lot of my patients are working class folks, so they will need appointments outside of their typical eight hour shift and I do my best to accommodate them and deliver an excellent level of service.

I typically see 5-10 patients each day, and use my downtime to write blog posts, work on big projects, follow up on lab results or imaging results, order more medications, and leverage my social media channels to reach more customers.

For a solo entrepreneur, I catch myself spending too much time working on the minutia of the business rather than setting big goals for the business, i.e. working in the business rather than working on the business. Anyways, I'm looking forward to scaling up and adding another doctor so that I can focus more time on the big goals.

What’s next for Plum Health DPC? 

Great segue  (can we use bad jokes?).

I've mentioned before, but I just signed a lease for a 1,700 square foot space because we're reaching capacity in our small, one room office and I'm looking to grow both in space and in personnel.

My mission is to serve more of the Detroit community and Southeast Michigan with affordable and accessible health care services, so I am leveraging the tools I have available to meet these needs.

Look out for big things in 2019 from Plum Health DPC! 

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:

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. 

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

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Plum Health with the Black Health Academy

Last month, we had a great visit from and interview with Lisa A. Smith with the Black Health Academy. We first met during a small business course with the Build Institute in Detroit, and it was great getting back together for this interview! She has a passion for health and wellness and helping people reach their full potential. Here's how she tells her story on her webpage:

Lisa A. Smith, MBA, is the founder of Professionally Fit INC and The Black Health Academy. She began her own weight loss journey in 2012 at 190 lbs. She fell in love with fitness, nutrition and self-development, lost over 60 lbs and gained a bottomless amount of confidence. It wasn't until she gained confidence in her physical health that she was able to gain confidence in her career. With her new found confidence she launched Professionally Fit in July of 2015. Professionally Fit is an executive coaching platform which provides both the customization and accountability necessary for high performing entrepreneurs and executives to achieve their health and wellness goals from anywhere in the world.

Health disparities in detroit

Our conversation focused on health and wellness in the black community. There are almost unbelievable health disparities between white Americans and black Americans, and we discuss some of these differences during our interview. Lisa also highlights these disparities on her website

Here are the facts:

  • 47.8% of African Americans are considered overweight or obese
  • African Americans are 20% less likely to be treated for depression
  • 13.6% of African Americans have fair to poor health
  • 40.9% of black men over the age of 20 have high blood pressure
  • Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the leading causes of death in the black community

Topics covered during our masterclass

During our Masterclass, we discuss these health disparities, what inspired me to become a physician, the community-focused efforts at Wayne State University School of Medicine, why other physicians might not practice in a more community service-oriented way, what Plum Health is, how we manage the volume of patients in our practice, our range of services or scope of practice, the type of feedback that we've been getting from our members, trends in African American health, on not making assumptions about people's health and meeting people where they're at, and on making lifestyle recommendations versus taking medications

I really loved this interview with Lisa A Smith - it was like siting down with an old friend. If you want to learn more about her and what she does, please visit the Black Health Academy or follow her on Facebook

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

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

PS Follow us on Instagram

Plum Health on Daily Detroit

This week, we were featured on the Daily Detroit Podcast. It was great meeting up with Sven Gustafson and Jeremiah Staes, the journalists behind the publication, and hosting them in our office in Southwest Detroit. 

You can listen to the full episode here:

Here's what Sven Gustafson wrote about our practice, in the context of the interview:

Dealing with health insurance is few people’s idea of a good time — if you can afford it at all, that is.

Now, a doctor operating out of an office in a former Detroit Police Department precinct headquarters? That’s flipping the script on the traditional model of health care.

On this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast, we schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health in Southwest Detroit. He’s practicing a model known as direct primary care in which patients pay a membership rate, starting at $10 a month for children and climbing to $89 a month for seniors, directly to the doctor. In exchange, patients get more personalized care, better access and lower-cost medications, imaging and laboratory services.

Dr. Thomas, who graduated from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, estimates he can cover 80 to 90 percent of most people’s health care needs. So he acknowledges it’s not a complete solution to our country’s problem-plagued health care system.

We talk to Dr. Thomas about how direct primary care works, how it differs from traditional insurance-directed health care and how it affects both patients and his life as a working physician. He also tells us about the various ways he’s using digital technology to facilitate his job and market his business.

Find us and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. Previous episodes are here.

Daily Detroit's tagline is "what to know and where to go in Detroit" - it's worth knowing more about Detroit, if you're a resident, a Metro Detroiter, or from another part of the world. Sven and Jeremiah cover interesting stories and give great insights, so their podcast is worth a listen/subscription. 

Thanks for reading and listening, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health Featured on the Detroit Rising Podcast

This week, Plum Health DPC was featured in Crain's Detroit Business in an article by Senior Reporter Chad Livengood. There is an accompanying audio recording of the interview, here

The Detroit Rising Podcast focuses on business and commerce and the intersection of Public Policy in Detroit. It was a pleasure to be featured on the podcast and on the Crain's Detroit website. Additionally, Chad Livengood brings excellent insights along with his investigative reporting. 

In the audio segment, Mr. Livengood states, "one of the biggest challenges to rebuilding Detroit is getting service-based businesses to set up shop after decades of disinvestment." And, Plum Health DPC is one of those service-based businesses, and it was exciting to discuss how we're making health care more affordable and accessible in Detroit.

During the interview, we talk about the Direct Primary Care business model, the availability of primary care physicians in Detroit, and what the City of Detroit is doing to improve the quality of life in the city. 

Thanks for reading and listening, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

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A screenshot from the Crain's Detroit webpage featuring our interview.

On February 20th, we were featured on the front page of the Crain's Detroit Business webpage, you just might have to squint to see us!

On February 20th, we were featured on the front page of the Crain's Detroit Business webpage, you just might have to squint to see us!

Plum Health on Jibs Podcast

This week Plum Health DPC was featured on Jibs Podcast, hosted by Jibran Ahmed. On the podcast he will be interviewing movers and shakers in the Detroit community and discussing topics that can move the city forward. 

From Jibran: "I'm hoping to create a platform that showcases the entrepreneurs, creatives, and hustlers that are moving Detroit forward. In order to make Detroit the city of the future, it's important to share with the world that this city embodies gusto, grit, and innovation."

During our conversation we talked about Plum Health and it's origin story. We also talk about why it's important for business people to build relationships in the community and how those early relationships can translate into a prosperous business.

We dove into the difference between Direct Primary Care and traditional or fee-for-service medical practice and discussed why more doctors aren't practicing in the DPC model of care. We also highlight the many community resources in the Detroit ecosystem that enable businesses in the City and region to thrive. 

Thanks for reading and watching!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Detroit Businesses are Humming in the Motor City, via Inc.com

This week, Inc.com released a video in collaboration with Fiverr. It featured Detroit businesses, including Shinola, Excelerate America, and Plum Health DPC! They had this to say about the video:

Detroit's entrepreneurial scene is exploding with companies who are growing for good. Which is why this rejuvenating city was the perfect stop on our Doers Across America tour. The energy, vibrancy, and warmth was always present when meeting the incredible Detroit entrepreneurial community. There was so much to celebrate and learn from these resilient doers, and by the end of our time there, it was clear why Detroit is the embodiment of the “comeback kid.” 

You can find the full video, here, or in the YouTube link below:

Yes! Detroit's entrepreneurial scene is thriving and I was happy to be a part of this feature! The crew did a marvelous job filming and editing this piece on a tight time schedule - they brought a high degree of professionalism and the video is informative and interesting.

It's an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Detroit - there is indeed a ton of energy, excitement and attention paid to this community of growing businesses. However, I would like to acknowledge all of those that make up the Detroit small business ecosystem that weren't featured in this video. I know that I would not be successful were it not for the thriving scene that I have immersed myself in. 

I'm hinting at a greater point here, which is best illustrated in an article by Ron Fournier, published in Crain's Detroit Business from October 2017: "Amid Detroit's post-bankruptcy resurgence, the money and attention heaped upon startups in downtown and Midtown threatens to overshadow long-running businesses in Detroit's neighborhoods. That startups are often run by young, white Detroit transplants arriving at the crest of an economic wave and "been-ups" are often owned by minorities who struggled through the worst of times feeds a "two-Detroits" narrative."

So, to all of those 'start-ups' and 'been-ups' in the community, thank you! Let's keep working together to make Detroit beautiful and prosperous!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

One of the screen shots from the Inc.com and Fiverr video featuring Plum Health DPC

One of the screen shots from the Inc.com and Fiverr video featuring Plum Health DPC

Another still shot from the Fiverr and Inc.com collaboration video!

Another still shot from the Fiverr and Inc.com collaboration video!

Paul Thomas MD on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee

This weekend I was featured on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee. The radio broadcast airs on CBS Radio in Detroit! I was last on Small Talk in March 2017, and since that time, Plum Health DPC has grown in size and I've been asked to participate in some speaking and community events. 

In this episode of Small Talk with Mark S Lee, we talk about the TEDxDetroit event that was held on November 9th 2017. We highlight a few of the key points that I spoke about during that event. Foremost, I believe that health care should be affordable and accessible for everyone. Second, we talk about how doctors can be overloaded by their patients' concerns, and those concerns can slip through their fingers, like grains of sand. 

We also give an overview of Direct Primary Care and how you can find a Direct Primary Care doctor near you by using the DPC Mapper online

Mark asks what's wrong with our current system? And I respond by saying that the prices in the health care ecosystem are inflated, which makes health care unaffordable for many people. 

To illustrate, I make an analogy about Health Insurance vs. Auto Insurance. If we used our Auto Insurance policies to pay for tire rotations, oil changes or gasoline, those prices would be significantly inflated. However, that's exactly what we do with our Health Insurance policies. 

It's always enjoyable being on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee, and this time was a unique experience as the Honorable Former Mayor Dave Bing was interviewed just prior to my time slot! Not only is Dave Bing a former mayor, but he's also in the NBA Hall of Fame. He continues to be an example of great leadership as he continues his work with the Bing Youth Institute, so it was an honor to be a part of the show with him.

Thanks for reading and thanks for watching!

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health Direct Primary Care in Midtown Detroit

This week, I was able to sit down with Pamela Owens of yb2c Marketing and talk about what we do at Plum Health DPC. We had a wide ranging conversation and it was a really fun time getting to know Pamela and her husband Keith Owens. They record their podcast out of Green Garage in Midtown Detroit. For the full episode, hit this link!

We dove deep on some issues, like why I've chosen to be in Detroit to practice Direct Primary Care. Fist, I am here because I want to give back to a community that has given a lot to me and my family. Personally, I received a world-class medical education from Wayne State University School of Medicine along with so many volunteer opportunities at free clinics across the city.

I learned a great deal by practicing medicine at the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Hospital, Oakwood, St. John Hospital, Cass Clinic, the Student Run Free Clinic, and the Joy-Southfield Clinic. All of these learning experiences have shaped me into the physician that I am today. 

I also see an opportunity in Detroit. This is a medically underserved area, with a dearth of primary care physicians. Because of my unique set of skills and training in Family Medicine, I am able to fill some of these gaps in care. I am proud to be providing this kind of affordable, accessible health care service in the City. 

Finally, Detroit has provided many resources for small business growth. I've talked about this before, but being able to take classes at the Build Institute and with TechTown's Retail Boot Camp has allowed me to improve my business concept and execution substantially. It has also allowed me to network with several entrepreneurs in the community. Larger grant programs like the Motor City Match program has also provided funding for the build out of the next phase of my business, as Plum Health grows over time. 

As a side note, If you haven't been to the Green Garage, it is a beautiful space in the Midtown community. It has been created in the most sustainable way possible, with almost all of the construction materials being repurposed from what had been in the building before the Green Garage built out that space. The materials were painstakingly conserved, and the space turned out wonderfully. 

They hold a weekly lunch and meet up at 12 pm each Friday at the Green Garage, which is a great way to network and meet innovate people in the Detroit community. Here's a few photos from the last one that I went to (below).

Thanks for watching and reading,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health Direct Primary Care

Plum Health at Build Institute

This week, I was invited to sit on a panel at the Build Institute to celebrate their 5th year of investing in and uplifting small businesses in the City of Detroit. Fortunately, I was able to take and graduate from a Build Institute course over the summer of 2016.

This Build Institute Course allowed me to develop and solidify my business plan, make connections with fellow entrepreneurs, and tap into Build's ever-expanding network of small business owners and service providers. Through Build, I was able to be a part of big events like Detroit Homecoming sponsored by Crain's Detroit. I was also able to meet future customers and future service providers like my lawyer. 

On Wednesday, I was invited to sit on a panel of small business owners who have benefitted from the Build Institute's unique programming. It featured Lana Rodriguez of Mama Coo's Boutique, April Anderson of Good Cakes and Bakes, April Boyle of Build Institute, and Christianne Malone of Build Institute. 

After the panel, Steve Garagiola of Local 4 News (WDIV) asked if I'd be interested in an interview. I invited him to my office at 1759 West 21st Street, Detroit MI, and he came over with his cameraman. During the interview, we discussed the basics of what we provide at Plum Health DPC. 

I was surprised at how fast the turn around time was for the interview, as it aired during the 6 pm news on Detroit's Local 4 News. In case you missed it, here's the interview!

In addition, Kurt Nagl, a writer from Crain's Detroit wrote an article about the event and it appeared on their website on Tuesday. 

Thanks so much for reading and watching!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health on Small Talk with Mark S Lee

This week, I was invited onto Small Talk with Mark S. Lee! I first met Mr. Lee at the Motor City Match Round 6 showcase in our building, 1759 West 21st Street, Detroit, MI, when then Vice President Joe Biden came to town. I recognized Mr. Lee as he is a frequent contributor to Crain's Detroit Business and a thought leader on small business growth in Detroit.

This month, he invited me onto his radio program, which airs on CBS Detroit, AM 1270 at 8:00 am every Sunday morning. 

Not only is Small Talk broadcasted in the local market, Mr. Lee has faithful listeners from across the country as Small Talk is broadcasted nationally through CBS Radio's online and digital platforms. Some of these listeners write in to the show to express their gratitude as Mr. Lee covers small businesses, small business owners, and discusses a wide range of issues pertaining to starting and running a business in Detroit. He even has some listeners who want to come to Detroit to start a business!

During the show, we talk about Detroit, Direct Primary Care, Plum Health DPC, and some of the issues with Health Care as we know it today. 

I really appreciate Mark's invitation, and I hope you enjoy the broadcast, which you can find here, as well as the video of the interview, which is here:

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health

P.S. you can follow Mark S. Lee on Twitter, @LeeGroup, and read more about what he does on his website, Lee Group Innovation

A photo with Mr. Lee after the interview on Small Talk with Mark S Lee. Photo credit: Mark S. Lee. 

A photo with Mr. Lee after the interview on Small Talk with Mark S Lee. Photo credit: Mark S. Lee.