Family Medicine Detroit

Plum Health to increase access to primary care in Detroit

Plum Health Direct Primary Care adds a second family medicine physician due to an overwhelming demand for a new style of health care.

Dr. Raquel Orlich, DO will join Plum Health DPC, starting July 1st, 2019.

Dr. Raquel Orlich, DO will join Plum Health DPC, starting July 1st, 2019.

Detroit, Michigan, May 15th, 2019 - Plum Health Direct Primary Care (DPC) is pleased to announce that Raquel Orlich, DO will be joining Plum Health starting July 1st, 2019. Dr. Orlich is a board-certified family physician, with a passion for osteopathic manipulative medicine, women’s health, and preventive medicine. 

She is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency training at Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, where she is currently Chief Resident. 

"I'm excited to help make health care more affordable, accessible and human in Detroit. I am joining the Plum Health team because I believe in the mission, and I'm looking forward to establishing strong relationships with my patients", noted Dr. Orlich when asked why she chose to join a direct primary care practice over a traditional fee for service model.

"We've had an overwhelming response to our style of healthcare, so we need to add a team member to meet the demand," says Dr. Paul Thomas, who for the last two-and-a-half years, has been serving residents in Detroit and beyond from Plum Health's office in Southwest Detroit. There are currently 500 members in the practice who are cared for by Dr. Paul Thomas. Dr. Orlich's arrival will allow Plum Health to care for an additional 500 patients.

Direct Primary Care (DPC) physicians do not bill or use insurance, which means they can provide their patients with steeply discounted medications, labs, imaging services, and procedures. This practice model allows patients to have a direct relationship with their primary care physician by enrolling in an affordable subscription-based service. A Plum Health subscription is between $10 and $89 per month.

What's more is DPC doctors like Dr. Orlich make themselves available by phone, text message, or video call. This connectivity makes getting care even more convenient for their patients.

Media Contact

Dr. Paul Thomas, MD

Founder & Physician, Plum Health DPC

p | (313) 444 - 5630

e | paul@plumhealthdpc.com

w | plumhealthdpc.com


More about Plum Health DPC

At Plum Health, we believe that health care should be affordable and accessible to everyone. Members of the practice can call, text, or email the doctor anytime they need health care services. We guarantee same-day/next-day appointments. Additionally, patients have access to wholesale medications, at-cost imaging services, and at-cost lab work. Plum Health began in November 2016 with eight patients and now has 500 active patients, spanning in age from 4 months to 101 years of age. Our vision is to provide the best healthcare experience in Detroit and beyond.

More about Dr. Paul Thomas

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 is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He served as Chief Resident at Oakwood Family Medicine Residency Program. Thomas is also the author of the book Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System.

More about Direct Primary Care

The direct primary care (DPC) model gives family physicians a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee (i.e., a retainer) that covers all or most primary care services including clinical, laboratory, and consultative services, and care coordination and comprehensive care management. Because a retainer does not include some services, DPC practices often suggest that patients acquire a high-deductible wraparound policy to cover emergencies.

Direct primary care benefits patients by providing substantial savings and a higher degree of access to, and time with, physicians. Taken from the American Academy of Family Physicians website: https://www.aafp.org/practice-management/payment/dpc.html

To download the full press release, click here: Word Document, PDF.


To enroll with Dr. Raquel Orlich, go to our Schedule page and start the enrollment process. Select Dr. Raquel Orlich as your “Preferred Provider” in that section. Once you complete the enrollment, you will be contacted on having an appointment with Dr. Orlich on or after July 1st, 2019. If you have a more immediate concern, Dr. Paul Thomas has availability at this time to accommodate urgent needs.

Plum Health teaming up with Veterans Care Network

Plum Health teaming up with Veterans Care Network

Plum Health DPC is teaming up with Veterans Care Network to provide affordable, accessible healthcare services to those who have served in the military. Veterans Care Network has set aside some funding to sponsor a few Veterans and help them receive primary care services. They chose to use Direct Primary Care because they know how valuable the services in the DPC model can be.

Plum Health DPC Serves Veterans in Detroit

At Plum Health, we’re passionate about serving veterans and providing excellent healthcare services to all people, but especially those who have served our country. One of the biggest concerns that my patients who are Veterans have is the level of customer service at the Veterans Administration hospital. We rectify that issue by focusing our care on the patient and making sure that they not only have excellent healthcare, but also an excellent experience.

We’re excited to partner with Veterans Care Network, and if you’d like to apply for this opportunity, follow this link.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Veterans Care Network and Plum Health DPC team up to provide Direct Primary Care services for Veterans in Detroit, Michigan.

Veterans Care Network and Plum Health DPC team up to provide Direct Primary Care services for Veterans in Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit Demo Day Promo Video Features Plum Health

This year, the Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day Promo Video and marketing materials features Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC. We submitted a quote for their website as well:

“A big shout out to Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day, who helped us accelerate our business growth through their fantastic program. Because of the exposure that Plum Health DPC received through the program, and the grant money that we won through the pitch competition, we are able to provide more people with affordable, accessible health care services in Detroit and beyond.” 

I'm posting this today because the application is now live for the next Quicken Loans Demo Day Event! Read more about our big win, here, and read more about Demo Day and the application process, here.

If you’re a small business in Detroit and wanting to grow and expand your business, this is a fantastic opportunity to get more recognition in the community for your brand and your business, and if you have everything in order, you could potentially walk away with grant funding for your business or an interest-free loan from Quicken Loans.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Promotional image from Quicken Loans’ Detroit Demo Day, featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC

Promotional image from Quicken Loans’ Detroit Demo Day, featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC

Top Rated Family Doctor in Detroit

Top Rated Family Doctor in Detroit

This week, we received a nice email and letter from a company called “Top Rated” and they related that we were a Top Rated Family Doctor in Detroit. This review company, called Top Rated, accumulated all of our positive reviews online and published them on their website:

This review company, called Top Rated, accumulated all of our positive reviews online and published them on their website.

This review company, called Top Rated, accumulated all of our positive reviews online and published them on their website.

In fact, because of our high number of reviews, we were in the top 10 in this category, coming in at number 4:

Plum Health DPC is a Top Rated Family Doctor and Primary Care office in Detroit, based on the above review site.

Plum Health DPC is a Top Rated Family Doctor and Primary Care office in Detroit, based on the above review site.

Reflecting on this, I’m proud to provide an excellent service to our members at Plum Health and to the greater community. We really focus on going above and beyond for our patients, listening fully to their concerns, and doing whatever we can to guide them to better health and wellness. We are pleased that our reviews online reflect this ethos.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Last month, we were up to 49 Five Star reviews on Google, which is a great feeling. It validates the work that we do - people come away from our practice knowing that service is valuable and wanting to share that knowledge with other people.

Last month, we were up to 49 Five Star reviews on Google, which is a great feeling. It validates the work that we do - people come away from our practice knowing that service is valuable and wanting to share that knowledge with other people.

This week, we crossed a threshold and received 50 Five Star reviews on Google!

This week, we crossed a threshold and received 50 Five Star reviews on Google!

What is a Plum Health Membership?

What does it mean to be a member of Plum Health dpc?

What’s involved in being a member of Plum Health DPC? We hear this question often. So, it’s worth taking some time to address it head on. Plum Health is a family medicine service run by Dr. Paul Thomas. Our mission is to deliver affordable, accessible healthcare. We are unlike other offices in several ways. We highly value the doctor-patient relationship and we routinely spend thirty minutes to one hour with each of our patients per visit.

This time together is essential because it allows us to build a trusting relationship. When you’re a member of our practice, when you’re a member of Plum Health DPC, you have the opportunity to build this trusting and healing relationship with Dr. Paul Thomas over time.

In contrast, at a typical family medicine office in the fee-for-service or insurance-based system, doctors prioritize seeing as many patients as possible to increase their payments from insurance companies. This is why you may only have five to twelve minutes with a primary care doctor in the insurance-based system.

Committed to a long-term relationship between doctor and patient

Being a member of Plum Health means that you’re committed to being a part of the membership model. If you’re looking for a one-off visit or one-time services, Plum Health probably is not the right fit for you. However, if you’re looking for a dependable physician who is responsive to your calls, texts, and emails at anytime of day, who cares about you as an individual and not as another number, then Plum Health DPC will be a great fit for you.

Furthermore, we love taking care of people who believe what we believe - that health care should be individualized, that the doctor-patient relationship should be strong and seamless, that health care should be affordable and accessible. If you value these tenets like we do, then we’d love to have you as a part of the Plum Health DPC membership.

How much does a plum Health DPC membership cost?

A membership with Plum Health DPC costs $10/month for children, and starts at $49/month for adults. We have our full pricing structure here. With that membership, you can visit the office anytime without a copay. You also can call, text, or email the doctor anytime. Additionally, members of Plum Health DPC are able to get wholesale medications, at-cost labs, and at-cost imaging services at a fraction of the typical cost.

How do I sign up for a Plum Health DPC membership?

The signup process for Plum Health DPC is an easy one. Our online form takes about 5 minutes to complete. The form will ask for a credit card to complete the registration. Your card will not be billed until your account is confirmed by our staff and an appointment is made. We want to make sure you’re a good fit for our practice before we start billing you for the service.

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

Dr. Paul Thomas with 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

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:

Medicaid Rates in Wayne County.png
Michigan Medicaid Map.png

How to Find the Best Prescription Drug Prices in Detroit

As many of us are aware, the price of prescription drugs can be astronomical. People are paying for a retail markup at pharmacies, often paying 10 - 20 times as much as the drug actually costs at wholesale. Even worse, insurance companies often charge more for medications purchased via your insurance plan than the medication would cost if you bought it at the cash price. 

Why is this important to me? I'm a Family Doctor in Southwest Detroit and I took an oath to do no harm, and for me that oath also includes doing no financial harm. So, I am focused on lowering the cost of health care for my patients and the greater community. 

How to find the best prescription drug prices in Detroit

If you're like many people, you probably go to the pharmacy with your Rx card or prescription card from your health insurance company. You then have the pharmacist 'run the card' to find out if you get a discount when you purchase medication. 

What you should do instead is ask the pharmacist, "what is your cash price for this medication?" Also, you can ask for any coupons that the pharmacist might have. If you are dissatisfied with the price, then pull out your insurance card and ask for them to 'run the card'. This will ensure that you have a fair price point to start from. 

In addition, you can shop around for the best prescription drug prices in Detroit or in your local community by comparing prices online. Using tools like GoodRx.com can help you find the exact price for the medication you need. 

Using Direct Primary Care to Lower Drug Prices

There is another option to find even lower prescription drug prices. That option is called Direct Primary Care. In the Direct Primary Care model, doctors aim to provide as much value as possible for patients' health care dollars. In simple terms, we DPC doctors try to lower the cost of health care. 

What does this look like? It looks like 70% - 90% savings on prescription drug prices in Detroit and the Metro Detroit Area. Just check out this chart and see for yourself the actual, wholesale cost of the medication compared to the price you would pay at the pharmacy with the retail pharmacy mark up, or the inflated price. 

Original image taken from  Consumer Reports .

Original image taken from Consumer Reports.

 

How do we do this? At Plum Health DPC, we buy the medications at a wholesale price and then we sell them to our patients at-cost. This means if we buy a bottle of 1000 blood pressure medications at $10, each pill costs 1 cent. Then your monthly prescription cost for that blood pressure medication is 30 cents.

In the above example, we are able to get Pioglitazone (Actos) for $4.30 per month, Celecoxib (Celebrex) for $6.47 per month, Duloxetine (Cymbalta) for $7.04 per month, Atorvastatin or Lipitor for $2.09 per month, and Clopidogrel or Plavix for $4.28 per month. The total monthly cost would be $24.18 for our patient, and that is a huge cost savings compared to the nearest retail pharmacy.

By lowering the cost of medications, we can improve access to primary care services, better control blood pressure and diabetes, and therefore decrease the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and complications of diabetes in our community. This will lead to lower rates of disability and death, or a healthier society. 

We are proud to make a difference in this way. Thank you for reading and learning about the cost of prescription drugs, and let me know if I can help you or a family member lower the cost of health care.

Sincerely,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health Interviewed by Daily Detroit

This week, we were interviewed by Daily Detroit about our Demo Day Win! Here's the "News Byte"

In the above interview, Jeremiah mentions a previous interview, and that interview can be heard here:

If you're unfamiliar with our service, my name is Dr. Paul Thomas and I'm a Family Medicine Doctor in Detroit. Our office is in Southwest Detroit and we take care of people of all ages and stages - our youngest patient is 6 months old and our oldest is now 92 years young. 

We offer the same services as any other primary care office, but we use a membership model - that means that our members pay $10/month for children and starting at $49/month for adults to use our service. This allows us to have more one-on-one time with our patients and deliver a higher level of service in our office. 

One way that we go above and beyond is that every patient has my cell phone number - meaning that they can call or text me anytime they need me. We guarantee same-day or next-day appointments, and the majority of our in-office procedures are free of charge, like abscess drainage, toenail removal, ear lavage, etc...

If you're ready to start your journey to better health with Plum Health, then head over to our enrollment link, here

Thanks for reading and listening!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health Interview on Podcast Detroit about winning Detroit Demo Day.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!

Plum Health at the Michigan Central Station

Yesterday was a momentous occasion - Ford Motor Company announced their purchase and their plans for the historic and beautiful Michigan Central Station. The Michigan Central Station has been abandoned since the mid-1980's, and it has been an eyesore on the Detroit skyline for the past 20 years. 

The empty station had been an emotional thorn in the side, constantly nagging at Detroit, reminding Detroiters of their past prominence, but also standing as a signal of our post-industrial economic failures.

But all of those bad feelings have been erased after today's event. Now, there's a sense of pride that Detroit has an opportunity to remake this historic site in the best way possible. The event at the Michigan Central Station felt inclusive, as community leaders from several different sectors were invited to be seated on stage. 

There's also the impending economic impact of having thousands of Ford Motor Company employees working out of the Michigan Central Station in about 4 years. 

As a lover of Detroit, Detroit history, and architecture this was a great day for me. As someone who cares deeply about the health of Detroiters and the prosperity of the region, this was one of the best days for me. 

I am hopeful that the benefits of having Ford Motor Company in Detroit will be felt and experienced by all Detroiters - employment and economic prosperity is a key to having great health. 

As a physician and a family doctor in Southwest Detroit, with our office just two blocks behind the historic and now revitalizing Michigan Central Station, I'm excited for the future challenges and opportunities. 

Thanks for reading and watching,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health DPC is a family medicine practice in Southwest Detroit that delivers affordable, accessible healthcare. We remove the profit takers between you and your doctor, lowering the cost of healthcare. Our memberships are $10/month for children and start at $49/month for adults. This allows you to have contact with me, your doctor, any time you need me, as well as the ability to purchase wholesale medications and receive lab work at-cost. To start your journey with Plum Health, head over to our scheduling page: https://www.plumhealthdpc.com/schedule/

Plum Health will pitch at Detroit Demo Day

Plum Health DPC will pitch at Detroit Demo Day, and there's $100,000 on the line! That money goes to the top vote getter, so we need to pack the house and get a lot of votes - help us make health care more affordable and accessible. Be in the audience, cast your vote, get your tickets here!

Also, there's a ton of news coverage about the event, from Crain's Detroit Business, to the Detroit News, and even the Seattle Times!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day!

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC

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

The Radically Accessible Doctor in Detroit

This week, we took on a new patient on a Sunday evening. They had developed a pretty serious abscess in their armpit over the Thanksgiving weekend. On their drive home, they realized that they should probably have it looked at. By searching Google, they found our clinic!

Our new patient searched "Doctor Open Today", that's when they found Plum Health DPC!

Our new patient searched "Doctor Open Today", that's when they found Plum Health DPC!

Because it was a Sunday evening, they knew that it would be difficult to find an available doctor in Detroit. They searched "Doctor Open Today" and fortunately found our Plum Health clinic. 

I believe that health care should be affordable and accessible. Because of that belief, I am radically accessible for the patients in my care. 

So, that patient called around 2:30 pm on Sunday, and I was able to see them at 4:20 pm. We drained the abscess and started the appropriate antibiotic, dispensed from our in-clinic/on-site pharmacy. They had a follow up appointment during regular business hours on Tuesday, and was feeling much better!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Family Doctor at the Open Streets Detroit Event

Last week I had the opportunity to be on the street level, talking with folks about health care at the Open Streets Detroit event! For those of you who don't know, Open Streets is a global movement. Cities across the country and across the world shut down their streets to cars and buses, and open them up to walkers, joggers, bikers, rollerbladers and community partners. 

This year, I again participated as the "Ask the Doctor!" community partner. Last year I participated as well, but I wanted to make my area more interactive this year. So, I brought out a hockey net, a few sticks and I had people take a few shots on me. I've never been a great goalie, but it was a fun way to interact with folks in Corktown. 

Our station was in front of the Michigan Central Station and I spoke with hundreds of people over the course of the day. There were thousands of participants, and the streets were filled with energy and vibrancy! I'm really looking forward to the 'next time,' but until then, enjoy some pictures of Open Streets Detroit 2017!

Motivation to Quit Smoking

We are all on a journey, and at Plum Health we like to guide people to better lifestyle choices. For example, if you're trying to quit smoking, we can help you by reminding you of your commitment. 

How do we do this? It's really simple, actually. We just send you a text message! Here's a real life example, sent to one of our members last week: 

Smoking Cessation in Detroit Text Message.png

These are real text messages, and this is a real patient. Their name has been removed for patient privacy sake, but you get the idea. When you're a part of Plum Health, you are someone who I think about and that I care about and that I want to help. Sincerely, whenever I think about this person, I send them a text and ask - "how's it going?"

And, there is a great deal of evidence to support these types of interventions. There is a systemic review/meta analysis on Text Messaging-Based Interventions for Smoking Cessation in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that came to this conclusion: "The current meta-analytic review provides unequivocal support for the efficacy of text messaging interventions for smoking abstinence."

That's why I send messages like this:

Quit Smoking in Detroit with Text Messages.png

Further, texting patients about their health can have different applications. For example, a text message to a patient regarding their exercise patterns or medication adherence can help them to achieve their goals.

So, what's your goal? How do you want to become healthier? Can I help you get there?

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health 

Starting a Direct Primary Care Practice in Detroit: What Inspired Me

I initially discovered direct primary care while on a road trip in November 2012. I was driving back to Detroit from a residency position interview at the University of Minnesota. I believe it was a libertarian-minded podcast featuring an interview with Dr. Josh Umbehr, discussing his startup in Wichita, Kansas, called Atlas MD. 

It was refreshing to hear a Family Medicine doctor speaking so passionately about saving people money, delivering better care, and practicing in a unique way. The message resonated with me, but at that time I was pursuing a faculty position at a residency program because I enjoyed teaching so much. Suffice it to say that I filed this “Direct Primary Care” concept in the back of my mind.

Between my second and third years of residency, I went to the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) annual meeting in Traverse City. It was July 2015. There I met Dr. Clint Flanagan of Nextera Healthcare in Denver, Colorado. He spoke unequivocally about the value of being a primary care doctor and the tremendous value that we provide for our patients. His passion for the profession also came through in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.

These two leaders in the field served as a contrast to the typically burnt out and grumbling physician that I had met thus far in training. Even the best doctors grumbled about paperwork, prior authorizations, late patients, packed schedules, and all of the other difficult parts of being a primary care doctor.

At that point, I knew that I would pursue an alternative practice model. It only made sense – less-than-fulfilled physicians practicing in a less-than-ideal system surrounded me and I knew that life could be better on the other side. Additionally, I always had this inner drive to deliver medicine in a more equitable and just system. Direct primary care seemed to align with my values as an individual and as a doctor, but I needed to dive deeper.

So, as an elective rotation, I drove out to Wichita and Denver, and spent a week learning from both Drs. Umbehr and Flanagan. I kicked the tires, took copious notes, and tried to bring the best of their practices to my community in Detroit, Wayne County, and Southeast Michigan.

Now it's September 2017 - almost 5 years after I had initially heard of "Direct Primary Care". Now, I'm living DPC every day, taking care of people of all ages and stages in my clinic in Southwest Detroit. I'm even caring for people while on vacation - I helped about 10 of my patients while I was traveling abroad over the last week. 

I am able to do this - to be the doctor that I was meant to be - because I am a Direct Primary Care doctor. This post is about inspiration, and what inspired me, and what continues to inspire me.

I am inspired by the fact that I can help people with real health care needs either in my office or over the phone, or via video chat or email. I am inspired by the fact that I am able to serve people who haven't seen a doctor in years, because we've lowered the cost barriers and therefore have made our service more accessible. I'm inspired by the fact that we can do so much good in such a small space.

I'm also inspired by the potential for Plum Health to grow, and to serve more people in our immediate community and across the region. I'm inspired by the happy patients that I get to work with everyday.

I've had great mentors along the way, specifically from the pioneers in the Direct Primary Care world, and I'm grateful for their help in getting me to a successful and sustainable DPC practice. 

Thanks for reading this reflection, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC, in the Plum Health office!

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC, in the Plum Health office!

Hatch Detroit 2017 Application

Today, we submitted our application for Hatch Detroit 2017. Our company is called Plum Health DPC and we deliver affordable, accessible healthcare services in Detroit. We offer street level, neighborhood-based medicine in a city with very few primary care medical resources. There are roughly 50 - 100 primary care doctors in a city of 683,000 people, or roughly 1 doctor for every 6,000 - 12,000 Detroit residents.

This lack of access to primary care has a net negative effect on the city. Medical problems go untreated, worsening the burden of disease in the city for all maladies from diabetes, to high blood pressure, and cancer. Residents who cannot get in to see Detroit-based doctors must drive to the suburbs for services, causing inconvenience and costing the city in terms of tax revenue.

The Hatch Detroit 2017 grant is an opportunity for $50,000 in cash, along with support services ranging from legal to accounting, and beyond. With this $50,000, we would be able to hire a second doctor as soon as possible. This has an immediate benefit for the community in that we can get another doctor in Detroit to provide holistic and comprehensive primary care services. 

We believe that primary care services are invaluable for a community, especially in a City like Detroit. The type and amount of value that we give to the community will exceed the initial investment from this grant competition, should we be so fortunate as to be considered for the prize.

In effect, this $50,000 yields immediate impact. First, the Detroit community gets a desperately-needed primary care doctor in a street-level, community-facing medical practice. More screening tests are ordered, more colon, lung, prostate and breast cancer cases are caught early. More diabetic and hypertensive patients have their blood sugar and blood pressures controlled, resulting in lower heart attack and stroke rates in the years ahead.

I know it's not super sexy! But it is vital for a functioning city and truly revitalized neighborhoods. In keeping with the Mayor's vision of 20 minute neighborhoods, having a neighborhood family medicine doctor can only serve to strengthen Detroit's neighborhoods and the future of Detroit in general.

Thank you for reading and for watching,

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health in Detroit, Michigan 

Plum Health featured in Good Life Detroit

This week, Plum Health DPC was featured on the blog Good Life Detroit. Jennifer is the creative spirit behind Good Life Detroit, and she did a fantastic job writing about our clinic and Direct Primary Care in general.

I really appreciated her perspective as a mother - she notes in the article that she has 5 children! - and that she paid $125 for a 20 minute doctor's visit for one of her children. Contrast that with our clinic, her child could have been seen for a full year for $120, with as many visits as needed included in that price. 

This is how we make our primary care services valuable for the community that we serve. If you were not aware, Detroit is a large, low-income population. We recognize this as a fact, and have adjusted our pricing to be accommodating for the community that we serve. 

Another great point that she brought up in the article is the frustration that people can experience when trying to reach their doctor! Sometimes reaching the doctor can be like pulling teeth. She puts it more eloquently, here: 

"Another great benefit of Plum Health Direct Primary Care is patients have the opportunity to speak directly to Dr. Paul without the hassle of long wait times and call screenings. Instead of having to go through a series of steps just to talk to their doctor, patients can call, text, or email Dr. Paul directly. In some cases, some doctors require you to leave a message with the office staff for a callback.

"Most of the time the office staff member screen’s the doctor’s calls and you have to tell the staff member exactly what it is you need or what your question is. Then you wait for the doctor to call you back, which can be anywhere from the same day or one to two days later, all depending on the doctor’s schedule.

"Members of Plum Health have Dr. Paul’s cell phone number and email address. They can reach him anytime they need to ask a question in regards to their health."

There are several other great points that she makes throughout the article. I was really impressed at her depth and thoroughness. I also appreciate her helping to get the word out about affordable, accessible health care in #Detroit. We're trying to serve as many folks who need this type of care, and articles like these help us to reach communities outside of our circle of influence. 

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day,

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health Direct Primary Care 

Plum Health Direct Primary Care is in Detroit, Michigan. We practice old-fashioned family medicine, but we use technology to make ourselves more accessible to our patients when they need us! I love this graphic that Jennifer at Good Life Detroit created for us! 

Plum Health Direct Primary Care is in Detroit, Michigan. We practice old-fashioned family medicine, but we use technology to make ourselves more accessible to our patients when they need us! I love this graphic that Jennifer at Good Life Detroit created for us! 

I also really liked this graphic that Good Life Detroit made about our pricing tiers at Plum Health DPC - really easy to read and understand! 

I also really liked this graphic that Good Life Detroit made about our pricing tiers at Plum Health DPC - really easy to read and understand!