Plum Health

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

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! 

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

Plum Health Featured in Model D Media

Today I'm ecstatic to see Plum Health DPC mentioned by Model D Media. If you're unfamiliar, Model D Media is a relentlessly positive digital publication that focuses on art, architecture, business, and development in and around Detroit. 

The article featuring Plum Health DPC was entitled "8 Detroit startups that could change the world." Here's their take on Plum Health:

Plum Health DPC

Your own personal doctor, on call and on demand. That’s what Dr. Paul Thomas is pitching with his Plum Health practice in Detroit. Rather than pay a doctor for each visit, Thomas is instead instituting a monthly subscription-style service for his patients. What’s more is that you don’t need health insurance for his services (though Thomas does encourage patients have health insurance as he doesn't offer hospital-type healthcare).

Dr. Thomas’s patients receive unlimited care for a monthly fee, which breaks down as follows: Ages 0 to 17, $10 per month; 18 to 39, $49 per month; 40 to 64, $69 per month; and ages 65 and up, $89 per month. The service results in significantly cheaper lab tests, prescriptions, and more.

Dr. Thomas could disrupt the field of primary care, right from his office in Detroit.

A tweet from @ModelD about Plum Health DPC, a startup in Detroit that could change the world.

A tweet from @ModelD about Plum Health DPC, a startup in Detroit that could change the world.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas 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

Plum Health on Bonfires of Social Enterprise

Last month, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Romy Kochan on her podcast, Bonfires of Social Enterprise. Bonfires of Social Enterprise is focused on highlighting social entrepreneurs and we were happy to be featured on this podcast!

I believe that Plum Health DPC is a social enterprise because we not only focus on growing the business in a traditional sense (revenue, profit & loss, etc...), but we also focus on making a positive impact in the community by providing a medical service that is much needed the SW Detroit community. 

Romy was a great interviewer and made me think differently about my own practice, prompting me to say something I've never said before. She asked if I could dream big, and envision a future for what I'm doing, what could this look like?

I responded by saying, "I think this could look like a nation where we get rid of these old notions of what 'good health care' looks like, and starting to realize that it doesn't look like a piece of plastic in our wallet. It looks like a relationship with someone in our community that is a healer, that can listen, and has time to address your concerns".

2018 Plum Health on Bonfires of Social Enterprise.jpg

The conversation had a broad scope from how we got started, to the impact we're having, to the reaction to our service from the community. Here's how Romy describes it:

We’re back with another episode here on social enterprise. We have a doctor on this show who has been making a big impact in Detroit. It is Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health Care DPC. He has a dream of changing the notion of health care from a plastic card in your wallet to true healing from a healing doctor!  What a concept!

This was a wonderful interview and I am so grateful to Romy Kochan for having me on her podcast. Check out the full episode here, and have a healthy week!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC

PS: you can find this episode on the podcasting platform of your choice:

I Tunes

TuneIn Radio

Stitcher

PRX.org (Public Radio Exchange)

Google Play

I Heart Radio

PPS: Follow us on Instagram!

Plum Health on Daily Detroit

This week, we were featured on the Daily Detroit Podcast. It was great meeting up with Sven Gustafson and Jeremiah Staes, the journalists behind the publication, and hosting them in our office in Southwest Detroit. 

You can listen to the full episode here:

Here's what Sven Gustafson wrote about our practice, in the context of the interview:

Dealing with health insurance is few people’s idea of a good time — if you can afford it at all, that is.

Now, a doctor operating out of an office in a former Detroit Police Department precinct headquarters? That’s flipping the script on the traditional model of health care.

On this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast, we schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health in Southwest Detroit. He’s practicing a model known as direct primary care in which patients pay a membership rate, starting at $10 a month for children and climbing to $89 a month for seniors, directly to the doctor. In exchange, patients get more personalized care, better access and lower-cost medications, imaging and laboratory services.

Dr. Thomas, who graduated from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, estimates he can cover 80 to 90 percent of most people’s health care needs. So he acknowledges it’s not a complete solution to our country’s problem-plagued health care system.

We talk to Dr. Thomas about how direct primary care works, how it differs from traditional insurance-directed health care and how it affects both patients and his life as a working physician. He also tells us about the various ways he’s using digital technology to facilitate his job and market his business.

Find us and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. Previous episodes are here.

Daily Detroit's tagline is "what to know and where to go in Detroit" - it's worth knowing more about Detroit, if you're a resident, a Metro Detroiter, or from another part of the world. Sven and Jeremiah cover interesting stories and give great insights, so their podcast is worth a listen/subscription. 

Thanks for reading and listening, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Guy Gordon Discusses Direct Primary Care on WJR

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

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

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

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

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

– Dr. Paul Thomas, M.D.

Paul Thomas MD TEDxDetroit Video

THE DAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED! Our talk at TEDxDetroit has been posted on YouTube! Check it out here: 

In case you missed the original blog post after the TEDxDetroit event, check out my thoughts on speaking during the event, here

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Detroit Businesses are Humming in the Motor City, via Inc.com

This week, Inc.com released a video in collaboration with Fiverr. It featured Detroit businesses, including Shinola, Excelerate America, and Plum Health DPC! They had this to say about the video:

Detroit's entrepreneurial scene is exploding with companies who are growing for good. Which is why this rejuvenating city was the perfect stop on our Doers Across America tour. The energy, vibrancy, and warmth was always present when meeting the incredible Detroit entrepreneurial community. There was so much to celebrate and learn from these resilient doers, and by the end of our time there, it was clear why Detroit is the embodiment of the “comeback kid.” 

You can find the full video, here, or in the YouTube link below:

Yes! Detroit's entrepreneurial scene is thriving and I was happy to be a part of this feature! The crew did a marvelous job filming and editing this piece on a tight time schedule - they brought a high degree of professionalism and the video is informative and interesting.

It's an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Detroit - there is indeed a ton of energy, excitement and attention paid to this community of growing businesses. However, I would like to acknowledge all of those that make up the Detroit small business ecosystem that weren't featured in this video. I know that I would not be successful were it not for the thriving scene that I have immersed myself in. 

I'm hinting at a greater point here, which is best illustrated in an article by Ron Fournier, published in Crain's Detroit Business from October 2017: "Amid Detroit's post-bankruptcy resurgence, the money and attention heaped upon startups in downtown and Midtown threatens to overshadow long-running businesses in Detroit's neighborhoods. That startups are often run by young, white Detroit transplants arriving at the crest of an economic wave and "been-ups" are often owned by minorities who struggled through the worst of times feeds a "two-Detroits" narrative."

So, to all of those 'start-ups' and 'been-ups' in the community, thank you! Let's keep working together to make Detroit beautiful and prosperous!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

One of the screen shots from the Inc.com and Fiverr video featuring Plum Health DPC

One of the screen shots from the Inc.com and Fiverr video featuring Plum Health DPC

Another still shot from the Fiverr and Inc.com collaboration video!

Another still shot from the Fiverr and Inc.com collaboration video!

Last Day For Open Enrollment

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

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

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

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

- Dr. Paul 313.444.5630

These Mobile Businesses are Changing the Game in Detroit

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

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

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

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

2017 Build Institute Ebony.png

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

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

2017 Build Institute Alleah.png

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

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

2017 Build Institute Lisa Waud.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

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!

Digital Marketing for my Direct Primary Care Doctor Colleagues

Starting a Direct Primary Care practice is a tall task, by any measure. Doctors emerge from residency with little to no business training. Starting a DPC practice is starting a business, and for many doctors, this is their first attempt at something like this. The journey from 'idea' to 'successful practice' is fraught with pitfalls and difficulties. 

Knowing how hard it is to start a business and how hard it is to start a DPC practice, I wrote a blog post for my colleagues. It is my sincere hope that they are able to grow while minimizing mistakes, errors, and difficulties. One area where I see that doctors could make significant improvements is their digital marketing. 

Specifically, DPC docs need to know how to build a sales funnel for their services. You see, when a doctor is employed by a large health system, her name is on the back of the insurance card for thousands of patients. That same doctor, when she breaks free from the insurance-based system, has to find her own patients. Where will these patients come from? 

Direct Primary Care (DPC) doctors must leverage social media, email marketing, networking events, etc... in order to grow their practices successfully. This piece that I wrote on the Hint Health blog will facilitate this growth, and it focuses on building a sales funnel for your practice.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health 

Plum Health Blog Post for Hint Health.png

Drew and Mike on Health Care

I was listening to the Drew and Mike Podcast from September 26th, and Drew and his Crew were talking about how health insurance costs are outrageous! Early in the episode (time 1:16), one of the co-hosts admonished Drew Lane, "you can barely afford insurance for yourself!" This set off a conversation about the cost of health insurance, the little coverage that it affords and Drew Lane's displeasure with the overall system. 

Drew's first reaction (minute 1:28), "I don't know how people my age, in my position," not yet covered by Medicare, "and self-employed... ...that's a big chunk of money." He goes on to say that his insurance costs roughly $18,000 - 19,000/year and if you were to make $50,000/year, it would cost roughly 30% of your gross income. 

Because of this extremely high cost, Drew and his co-hosts speculate that some folks just choose to "roll the dice," i.e. go without insurance and hope for the best. They do mention that those folks earning less may be eligible for subsidies or tax breaks from the Federal Government. But, still - a huge chunk of our income is going directly to health insurance and health insurance companies. Even worse, the quality and service levels can be low because care is dictated by third party payers like insurance companies or the government. 

Because Drew's dog recently had eye surgery, Drew was talking about how veterinarians discuss charges before providing care, and how that concept should be applied to the human medical field. "Wouldn't that be something?" Drew asks rhetorically. 

Well, it doesn't have to be a rhetorical question. It doesn't have to be a pipe dream. I'm here to tell you that Direct Primary Care doctors make their prices clear and transparent, and it may revolutionize primary care!

Here's how it works: Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a membership model for health care. Prices vary between different DPC practices, but our prices at Plum Health are $10/month for kids, $49/month for young adults 18 - 40, $69/month for adults 40 - 65, and $89/month for older adults 65 and up. 

With that membership, patients or members can come in and see the doctor any time! They can also call, text or email the doctor anytime. 

Further, patients or members can have access to wholesale medications, at-cost labs, and at-cost imaging services. So far we've saved our members tens of thousands of dollars on these ancillary services. 

I shot a video explaining these concepts in more detail, here:

Thanks so much for reading and watching. I hope that I've opened your eyes to the possibility of better health care services with a transparent pricing structure.  Finally, have a wonderful day!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health in Detroit, MI

2017 Plum Health DPC Drew and Mike Podcast.png