Direct Primary Care Book

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.

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

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.

2018 Paul Thomas MD Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award.jpg

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! 

Family Doctor on Flashpoint with Devin Scillian

Today, we were featured on Flashpoint on WDIV with Devin Scillian. The conversation focused on Direct Primary Care, and our clinic in Southwest Detroit called Plum Health DPC, which is making healthcare affordable and accessible in Detroit and beyond.

Devin Scillian is the host of Flashpoint, and a highly respected journalist in Detroit, so it was a tremendous honor to be invited onto the program to discuss this important issue. Flanking Devin Scillian was Frank McGeorge, MD, an emergency room physician and the Good Health reporter for WDIV. Dr. McGeorge was brought in to provide an additional layer of insight into health care and ask questions about Direct Primary Care from the lens of a physician/health care insider.

We also discussed our book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System.

Below I will paraphrase parts of the show:

Direct primary care introduction

Devin Scillian: Should your doctor be subscription-based? A new model allows as many visits as needed, for one monthly rate.  There was a discussion about new concepts in health care… For some time I’ve been wanting to talk about a new idea in Health Care, it’s called Direct Primary Care. It doesn’t come from your employer, or the government. It’s basically an agreement between you and your doctor - you pay a monthly fee to subscribe to your physician. All the visits that you might need that month are covered. You need medications? Well, they cut a deal on prescriptions, which you would pay out of pocket.

We’ve had a lot of debates about what to do with American Health care - there’s talk about single payer health care and a universal system. Getting less conversation, and we’ll correct that this morning, is the idea of Direct Primary Care, and the Author of a new book Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System, is with us this morning, Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC. And we have Dr. Frank McGeorge, our medical reporter from WDIV Local 4, who will ask better questions than I would.

So you can get rid of health insurance?

Devin Scillian: The first thing I want to get to, is to get rid of insurance and the government?

Paul Thomas, MD: I unequivocally recommend that folks have health insurance, but for your routine primary care services, the costs are much less if you purchase them directly through your doctor. You want to maintain a health insurance plan that you’re comfortable with, and use the free market or Direct Primary Care services to the lower the costs of your meds, labs, imaging services, and doctor visits.

So this is a club, basically? and what is your Pricing like?

Devin Scillian: So, I would kind of use you and your partners like I belong to a club, basically?

Paul Thomas, MD: Yes, it’s a membership model for health care, so you can come in and see us any time you need to. Visits are included in our pricing structure:

The 2018 pricing for Plum Health DPC, as shown during an interview between Paul Thomas MD, Devin Scillian, and Frank McGeorge MD on Flashpoint on WDIV, Local 4 News.

The 2018 pricing for Plum Health DPC, as shown during an interview between Paul Thomas MD, Devin Scillian, and Frank McGeorge MD on Flashpoint on WDIV, Local 4 News.

Devin Scillian: Unless your in a health plan that I’ve never heard of, this looks really reasonable, much less than you and I are paying, doc (Dr. Frank McGeorge).

Dr. Frank McGeorge: This is a very different way of doing things, clearly, and it does make sense. I have to say, I really applaud what you’re doing, because I think it’s wonderful that you are getting back to the most basic form of providing health care, that is directly to the patient, cutting out all of the bureaucratic nonsense as much as possible. You don’t need a biller and coder in your office, you save that money right off the top, and you pass that savings directly onto the patient.

Biggest concerns about the direct primary care model?

Devin Scillian: So your biggest concerns with it are what?

Dr. Frank McGeorge: Well what’s interesting to me, is that you’re doing what we used to do in Family Practice one hundred years ago, you were the small town doc. Everyone would come to you with all of their problems. But the problem now is that back then you could know all of medicine, but now, medicine is so much more complex. I guess, how do you deal with specialty referrals? The things that are out of your family practice domain.

Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC on Flashpoint with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge of WDIV Channel 4 in Detroit, Michigan, discussing Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC on Flashpoint with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge of WDIV Channel 4 in Detroit, Michigan, discussing Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD: The typical scope of a family medicine doctor is 70 - 80% of anything that you might walk into the doctor’s office with. So I can handle 70 - 80% of your concerns, the rest you would typically refer to specialists. Now in my model, we use an e-consult platform called Rubicon, where we can write up your case history and send it to a Board Certified Ophthalmologist or Dermatologist or Cardiologist with a photo or a copy of your EKG, and get a second opinion at no charge to you the patient.

Devin Scillian: No charge to me, because you’ve developed a relationship with these specialists.

Paul Thomas MD: Exactly, it’s an e-consult platform called Rubicon that any primary care physician can use, and I use it because I actually have the time to listen to you fully, to take down copious notes about your condition, and send those over to the specialist and get a second opinion within about 12 hours.

How many patients can a direct primary care doctor handle?

Devin Scillian: Have you figured out where the sweet spot is for how many patients you can handle?

Paul Thomas MD on Flashpoint with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge of WDIV Channel 4 in Detroit, Michigan, discussing Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD on Flashpoint with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge of WDIV Channel 4 in Detroit, Michigan, discussing Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD: The typical number of patients per physician in the Direct Primary Care model is 500 - 600 patients. Now, contrast that with the typical family doctor who has to have 2,400 patients, so they’re seeing 1% of their panel each day or 24 patients each day. In our model, when we see 1% of our panel, we see 5 - 6 patients each day. And, that gives me an hour per patient to really sit down with you and understand what you’re going through, and help you through that situation.

What is the pricing like for medications and lab work?

Devin Scillian: You and I have been looking at these price lists (to Dr. McGeorge), because they cut deals on prescriptions and on lab tests. With your trained eye, and the time you spend in the Emergency Room, how does everything look?

Those forms for your reference: List of our laboratory pricesList of our medication prices.

Dr. Frank McGeorge: This is clearly the way it should be. One of the things I’ve always rallied against is the opaqueness of how billing and charging is done in the medical care system. Frankly, if you go into hospital A versus hospital B, you don’t know how much you’re going to be charged for any given test because it’s different in each hospital. This (pricing) is great because it’s all laid out in advance and it looks like it’s done, basically, at cost.

Paul Thomas MD: Exactly, because you’re already paying the membership, I want to give you as much value for your healthcare dollar as possible. So, we make all of our prices transparent, and we only charge the cost of the medication, or the lab, or the imaging service so you get the most value out of the service as possible.

Can Direct Primary Care Doctors make money in this system?

Devin Scillian: I don’t know how to ask this delicately, but is this lucrative for you? Do you make a fair amount - enough money? Or are you just messing with the system?

Paul Thomas MD: As the membership grows, as the doctor gets to full capacity, you earn about what you would make as an employed physician, maybe a little bit less. But, we have a saying in the Direct Primary Care movement that nothing pays like autonomy. I can be the physician I was meant to be. And, in this model, it’s really inspiring for other doctors who want to join this movement because you have the ability to practice medicine on your own terms, and not at the dictates of insurance companies or government heath care systems.

The full video can be seen above, and on the Flashpoint website.

Thank you so much for reading and watching,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Paul Thomas, MD with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge of WDIV Detroit on the set of Flashpoint. The discussion on Flashpoint this week centered around Direct Primary Care, a new model for health care that aims to improve the quality of healthcare while decreasing overall costs.

Paul Thomas, MD with Devin Scillian and Dr. Frank McGeorge of WDIV Detroit on the set of Flashpoint. The discussion on Flashpoint this week centered around Direct Primary Care, a new model for health care that aims to improve the quality of healthcare while decreasing overall costs.

Paul Thomas, MD of Plum Health DPC, Devin Scillian of WDIV Channel 4 News in Detroit, and Dr. Frank McGeorge, an Emergency Medicine Physician and broadcaster with the Good Health segment on WDIV local 4. During Flashpoint this week, we discussed Direct Primary Care and the opportunity that it provides to change our healthcare system from the ground up. Devin Scillian was also kind enough to mention our book,  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System .

Paul Thomas, MD of Plum Health DPC, Devin Scillian of WDIV Channel 4 News in Detroit, and Dr. Frank McGeorge, an Emergency Medicine Physician and broadcaster with the Good Health segment on WDIV local 4. During Flashpoint this week, we discussed Direct Primary Care and the opportunity that it provides to change our healthcare system from the ground up. Devin Scillian was also kind enough to mention our book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System.

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.

Direct Primary Care Book by Paul Thomas MD

Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System

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

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

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

Kindle/eBook version:

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

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

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

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

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

Author Page for Paul Thomas MD on Amazon.com

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

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

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

The Process of Writing the Direct Primary Care Book

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

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

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

Reception So Far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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