Detroit Health Care

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

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 or 313.444.5630

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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:

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