Direct Primary Care

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.

Is Direct Primary Care the Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System?

Is Direct Primary Care (DPC) the Cure for our Broken Healthcare System? That's the question that Caitlin Morse, PMP posed to me after reading my book with the same title (link to the book).

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a growing model of health care across the Nation, but does it live up to the hype? This is the question from Caitlin Morse PMP in her article on LinkedIn, among other questions, below.

During this conversation between myself, Paul Thomas MD, and Caitlin Morse PMP, we discuss the following:

What happens when your DPC doctor is sick or goes on vacation?

What does Plum Health use for EMR/EHR if not a system designed to optimize billing?

Would this model break if all of the patients currently on Medicaid were switched to this model?

The difference between Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine.

What about childhood vaccinations? Public health facilities won’t vaccinate people with any insurance, even if self-pay. I was quoted thousands of dollars for out-of-network vaccines. These are included with every insurance plan at the PCP - are they included with DPC?

How does this model handle malpractice insurance/liability? Does more of a focus on preventative care expose primary care doctors to greater liability?

Could DPC provide follow-up for cancer patients in remission, stroke patients post-rehab, post-acute care, etc?

The claim is made that 80-90% of what the average patient needs could be addressed by a family physician at a DPC facility, but it would be helpful to understand what that number really represents and how it compares to the current use of PCPs. Is that 80-90% of a patient’s lifetime health needs or 80-90% of what the average patient goes to the doctor for in a single year? Or everything that 80-90% of the population need from a doctor? What percentage of healthcare costs does this represent?

Who are the people who use Direct Primary Care Services? What are their income levels? Why should a family sign up for Direct Primary Care?

These are questions that folks have about Direct Primary Care and how they can use these DPC services and benefit from them, so I’m happy to take the time and answer them. Thanks for reading and watching, and have a wonderful day.

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Paul Thomas MD and Caitlin Morse PMP discuss Direct Primary Care.jpg

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

2019.01.03 Paul Thomas MD on Small Talk with Mark S Lee.png

Paul Thomas MD on the DocPreneur Podcast

This week, we were featured on the DocPreneur Podcast, which is created and distributed by Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief of the Direct Primary Care Journal. After publishing the book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System, Michael reached out about having me on the podcast.

I’m sincerely happy to share my experiences in Direct Primary Care, to teach and inspire other doctors to take this journey to an authentic, fulfilling practice of medicine, to become the doctors they were meant to be. This is one of the biggest reasons why I continue to get the word out about Direct Primary Care - I believe in this model and its ability to transform our healthcare system in the United States.

I want to personally thank Michael Tetreault for being on the vanguard of Direct Primary Care by creating educational materials for DPC doctors. Enjoy the podcast, and let me know what you think!

Thank you for reading, watching, and listening,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

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.

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 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

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 

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

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: 

Finally, if you’re a Primary Care Doctor or Allied Health Professional that is looking to Start and Grow a Direct Primary Care practice, check out our sister site www.StartUpDPC.com.

2018 MAFP Article in the Summer Issue.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!

How is Plum Health Making an Impact?

Family Medicine Doctor Reaching Out in Detroit

Dr. Paul Thomas speaking to elementary school students at Munger Elementary/Middle School on Detroit's West Side during Career Day.

Dr. Paul Thomas speaking to elementary school students at Munger Elementary/Middle School on Detroit's West Side during Career Day.

This week, I engaged in two outreach events, one at Munger Middle Elementary/Middle School on Detroit's West Side and one at the Northwest Activities Center in NW Detroit. The first event had me speaking to a group of about 30 elementary school students, sitting cross-legged on a gym floor. We talked about what it takes to become a doctor, the dreams that they had for their futures, and the steps that it would take to achieve those dreams. They even made me a nice gift for coming out - a small paper doctor. 

Dr. Paul Thomas at Munger Elementary/Middle School on the West Side of Detroit.

Dr. Paul Thomas at Munger Elementary/Middle School on the West Side of Detroit.

The event at the Northwest Activities center had me speaking to about 100 senior citizens who had innumerable questions about health and wellness. They asked me about everything from high blood pressure, to diabetes, to nutrition, exercise, arthritis, and declining cognitive function. Also at this event, the community had organized fresh food distribution.

Dr. Paul Thomas at the Northwest Activities Center in NW Detroit after speaking to a group of senior citizens about health and wellness.

Dr. Paul Thomas at the Northwest Activities Center in NW Detroit after speaking to a group of senior citizens about health and wellness.

Both were inspiring in different ways, and also showed how we can make a big impact by reaching out to the community and educating people from elementary age to senior citizens. I think a lot about impact, and how we're making a positive impact in the community, and I wanted to share an essay I wrote earlier this month:

How a Family Doctor Makes an Impact

The problem that I am solving is access to affordable medical care, not just for individuals, but also for small businesses and communities. On the individual level, I cannot count the number of people who have presented to our clinic to establish care with a family doc for the first time in years, sometimes even decades. They feel comfortable because the price point is understandable, services and charges are transparent, and we've created a welcoming environment for all people.

I’ll give the example of the lifelong Detroit resident who had a uncontrolled blood pressure, who avoided medical care because the cost was simply too high. She signed up for a membership with us, and we are managing her blood pressure with medication that costs under $2/month. She is now at goal, and cried in our office after reaching this critical threshold.

Next, we’re solving a big problem for small businesses. Small business owners want to provide services and benefits that will help them attract and retain employees, and often times traditional health insurance products are financially out of reach. Rather, they choose to provide Plum Health and our health care services for their employees: an affordable product that’s understandable and easy to access for their workers. We are now seeing small businesses that are proud to offer our service as a benefit to their employees as a mean of attracting and retaining talent.

Finally, we’re solving the problem of neighborhood-based primary care services in Detroit, a city that is critically underserved from a primary care perspective. There are fewer than 100 primary care doctors in the City of Detroit, equating to roughly 1 doctor for every 6,300 residents. We are meeting a significant need in our Southwest Detroit location by serving a community that otherwise would not have access.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

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

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 DPC Mentioned in Business Insider

This week, I was delighted to see Plum Health DPC mentioned in two different publications. The first was an excellent, comprehensive piece on Direct Primary Care in Business Insider by Lydia Ramsey.

Ms. Ramsey and I have spoken over the phone about the Direct Primary Care movement, and she asked several insightful questions about our practice in Detroit, Michigan. She has spoken with roughly 16 other DPC doctors and synthesized a great summary of the movement in her article.

I loved the chart she used to compare and contrast traditional Fee-For-Service medicine with Direct Primary Care services:

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Next up, we were mentioned in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel article on Direct Primary Care written by Ron Hurtibise. The article discusses Direct Primary Care and the efforts in the Florida Legislature to make DPC 'legal' in that state. 

Fortunately, in Michigan, Direct Primary Care has been 'legalized' via the efforts of State Senator Patrick Colbeck and his Senate Bill No. 1033. I have placed legal and legalized in quotations above because practicing Direct Primary Care or retainer-based medicine is not illegal, but having laws on the books like Senate Bill No. 1033 in Michigan and the proposed HB 37 in Florida removes any potential legal challenges and allows doctors who want to practice DPC medicine a clear path.

And we need more doctors having a clear path to the type of medical practice that they can enjoy and sustain for the long term. We need more doctors practicing primary care medicine. One of the arguments against DPC is that the panel size is smaller in the typical DPC practice as compared to the traditional Fee-for-Service practice. In the Sun-Sentinel article, a part of my LinkedIn article was quoted:

"As to the charge that Direct Primary Care contributes to the shortage of primary care doctors, Paul Thomas, a doctor with Plum Health DPC, wrote in an essay published on LinkedIn.com last year that the model might actually encourage more medical students to become primary care doctors, rather than pursue higher-paying specialty fields.

"A Direct Primary Care practice with 500 members can provide a primary care provider with more income than some earn with 3,500 patients at a fee-for-service practice, Thomas wrote. And the increased time for personal interaction eliminates “role strain” and allows the provider to address patients as whole people, he said.

I believe that Direct Primary Care practices provide physicians and patients with a better primary care experience, and will allow doctors to practice for longer periods of time without retiring early or leaving the field completely because of burnout. I'm happy to see the DPC movement spreading across the country, and I'm happy to be quoted in these two publications.

Thanks for reading!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Guy Gordon Discusses Direct Primary Care on WJR

Today, Guy Gordon and Senator Patrick Colbeck discussed Direct Primary Care and the potential impact that it can have on the health and wellness of Michigan residents as well as the sustainability of the Michigan economy. The discussion was held on WJR News Radio (AM 760).

My name is Paul Thomas, M.D. and I am a family medicine doctor practicing in Southwest Detroit. I believe that healthcare should be affordable and accessible for everyone. I also believe that we can achieve this goal through direct primary care medicine.

It is a dream of mine to see and help more family doctors and primary care physicians transition from the fee-for-service model of healthcare to the direct primary care model. This will allow more doctors to deliver compassionate, truly patient-centered care with transparent pricing in our great state of Michigan. 

To this end, I will be speaking at the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians statewide conference in mid July in Kalamazoo, Michigan about this very topic.

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

– Dr. Paul Thomas, M.D.

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!

Heart Health in Detroit Video

Because it's February and it's heart health month, I shot a short video about high blood pressure, changes in blood pressure thresholds, and what you can do to keep your heart healthy!

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

Last Day For Open Enrollment

Hello all! It's December 15th and the last day to sign up for health insurance. Health insurance is different from Health Care. What I provide at Plum Health DPC is health care - visits with the doctor, wholesale medications, at-cost labs, convenience, etc...

But you also need health insurance - this is a financial tool to protect you from bankruptcy in case of major accidents, illnesses, or injuries. If you have cancer, a heart attack, a stroke or are involved in an auto accident, you need health insurance to cover these costs.

The best way to get health insurance? Go to HealthCare.gov and choose a plan that's right for you. 

Thanks for your time, thanks for reading and watching! And, sincerely, if you need help with this, give me a call!

- Dr. Paul 313.444.5630

These Mobile Businesses are Changing the Game in Detroit

Running a successful business is tough. Running a successful mobile business can be even more difficult! This week, I participated in a panel discussion that took a deep dive into what it takes to run a successful mobile business in Detroit.

The panel was a part of Build Institute's Open City series, and featured four business owners: Lisa Waud of Pot and Box, Alleah Webb of Drifter Coffee, Ebony Rutherford of Trish's Garage, and Paul Thomas, MD (that's me!) of Plum Health DPC. The panel was expertly moderated by Sarah Donnelly of TechTown Detroit

Build Institute's Open City Panel, featuring Ebony Rutherford, Alleah Webb, Paul Thomas MD, and Lisa Waud. The panel was moderated by Sarah Donnelly. The event was hosted by Build Institute's Christianne Malone.

Build Institute's Open City Panel, featuring Ebony Rutherford, Alleah Webb, Paul Thomas MD, and Lisa Waud. The panel was moderated by Sarah Donnelly. The event was hosted by Build Institute's Christianne Malone.

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Ebony Rutherford of Trish's Garage talked about the choosing the right events to attend, citing that it's easy to lose money by purchasing table space at a poorly attended event. However, turning lemons into lemonade, she would take that time at a slower event to work on her social media production and marketing.

Alleah Webb of Drifter Coffee has built a successful business around an Instagram-able/Pinterest-able mobile coffee house. Her business is among the most unique in Detroit, creating a mobile coffee experience for her audience.

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Alleah often participates in public events, like Noel Night, Open Streets Detroit, and MoPop Detroit, and she has also found success by catering to private events, like weddings. This all makes for an interesting story, and Drifter Coffee has gotten some great traditional media exposure, as in this Hour Detroit article

Lisa Waud of Pot and Box also created a ton of buzz from not only having a mobile flower shop, but also by creating The Flower House Detroit. In the panel, she talked about the pros and cons of operating out of a truck that can have adverse effects on their inventory. For example, when it's 90 degrees outside, the flowers can wilt in less than 3 hours if they are in the truck

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As a business person conscious of profit and loss, she is considering the costs and benefits of continuing the flower truck operation. It's expensive to have insurance for a mobile business and it takes a lot of energy and staffing costs to operate successfully. 

Build Institute's Open City Detroit event, held at the  Atwater Brewery , 237 Joseph Campau Ave, Detroit, MI.

Build Institute's Open City Detroit event, held at the Atwater Brewery, 237 Joseph Campau Ave, Detroit, MI.

This was an important point in the conversation! Is a pop-up business/mobile business the end goal or a means to an end? Sometimes, a mobile or pop-up business can lead to a permanent brick-and-mortar establishment. On the other hand, some entrepreneurs prefer the mobile/pop-up business model as it can greatly reduce overhead costs. 

For me, having a mobile offering in the first few months of our operation of Plum Health allowed us to operate with a low overhead while building momentum. The goal was to engage enough customers to justify leasing out an office space. Once we had enough momentum, we were able to lease out our office and build from there. 

At Plum Health, we still offer house calls to our members, but now there is an added cost to these house calls, whereas house calls were standard in the first 2 months of operation. 

All in all, this was a great panel, and I learned a great deal from my fellow panelists and from the moderator, Sarah Donnelly. To the folks at Build Institute, thanks for the invite! And I'm looking forward to the next season of Open City!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC