Health Care Costs

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.

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