Primary Care Physician

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.

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.

Dr. Paul Thomas at the Future of Family Medicine Conference

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak with over 100 students and residents interested in the specialty of Family Medicine. This was at the aptly named “Michigan Future of Family medicine Conference” hosted by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians. The event was held at Michigan State University and hundreds of students were able to attend on a Saturday morning in October.

The invitation for the fifth annual Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference, hosted by Michigan State University and the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

The invitation for the fifth annual Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference, hosted by Michigan State University and the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

For students, it can be hard to get excited about the future of Family Medicine. Family Physicians work long hours, have to deal with tons of insurance bureaucracy and red tape, and earn less than their colleagues in other specialties. It can leave students deflated.

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051106817705725953

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051106817705725953

However, I find that when I speak about Direct Primary Care and the opportunities that a DPC model of care can provide, students are energized and excited about the future of family medicine. You see, Family Medicine Doctors have the most tools in their tool set and can have the biggest impact on the community level - we lower admission rates to hospitals and decrease the cost of care for our patients. We also lower the rates of disease and death rates from disease.

But, as mentioned previously, Family Medicine is less desirable from the student’s perspective as it pays less and is a difficult job because of insurance hassles.

I think our profession, Family Medicine, is at a real moment of crisis, but also at a crossroads for opportunity. We can continue to be a part of the healthcare industrial complex, billing and coding, racking up charges on our patients, or we can adopt the Direct Primary Care model and serve our patients and our community with affordable and accessible health care services that are more just and compassionate in their delivery.

That’s my message, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to share it, and I’m very happy to have seen it resonate with so many energetic and eager medical students and residents.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC, a Direct Primary Care service in Southwest Detroit

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051097050086035456

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference 2018 Panel on Career Options, taken from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) twitter account, here: https://twitter.com/MIFamilyDocs/status/1051097050086035456

I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of over 100 + Medical Students and Medical Residents at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference in October 2018. I shared the stage with Dr. Sheala Jafry, Dr. Fatin Sahhar, and Dr. Amy Keenum. The event was held at Michigan State University and hosted by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of over 100 + Medical Students and Medical Residents at the Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference in October 2018. I shared the stage with Dr. Sheala Jafry, Dr. Fatin Sahhar, and Dr. Amy Keenum. The event was held at Michigan State University and hosted by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).

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

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!

A Golden Apple in My Office

This week, I was taking care of a family of 6 in my office! There was a lot of joyful movement and one of the toddlers grabbed an item from its resting place- it's an Apple, a Golden Apple, that I keep on my shelf and it's a reminder of my mission, vision, and values. 

When I was in medical school at Wayne State University, I was awarded with the Golden Apple Student Award for having an understanding of the Art of Medicine as displayed by the care and understanding of patients. It was a tremendous honor, and it's something that I carry with me, as well as something that I want to give to my patients and reflect in my practice.

Often, my patients will ask me about the best course of action going forward, and sometimes the answer isn't always clear. You see, there's the science of medicine, the reproducible, empiric evidence with its best practices and treatment recommendations. These guidelines are important to know and important to follow in most cases. But, on the other side, is the Art of Medicine, and because every one is unique, an individual, with unique medical concerns, treatment choices aren't always clearly defined. 

When difficult choices need to be made, I often ask my patients which course of action they'd like to pursue. This may be a unique aspect to my practice, but I know that it's important to engage in shared decision-making with the people that I care for. When decisions are made together, we can be on the same page about treatment, compliance to the plan is higher, and people feel like they have more control over the condition and situation. 

Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health

 

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Common Criticisms of Direct Primary Care

In this blog post, I'm going to list some common criticisms to Direct Primary Care and my responses to these criticisms. 

In a traditional family medicine practice, each doctor typically sees a panel of 2,500 patients. If each patient comes in twice each year, that means roughly 100 visits each week, assuming that the doctor works 50 weeks each year, or roughly 20 visits each day. In Direct Primary Care, doctors reduce their clinic panel to 500 patients. Now, if each patient visits twice each year, the doctor will see 20 patients each week, or 4 patients each day. If each patient visits three times each ear, the doctor will see 30 patients each week, or 6 patients each day. This allows the doctor to spend up to an hour with each patient and use the remaining time in their schedule to answer phone calls, texts, and emails as well as handle the administrative duties that go along with running a Direct Primary Care practice.

The biggest criticism of doctors who switch from a traditional or fee-for-service practice to Direct Primary Care is this notion of patient abandonment. This means that if the doctor cuts down their practice from 2,500 patients to 500 patients, there will be 2,000 patients that are "abandoned" or without primary care services.

My response to this is simple: I will no longer perpetuate a bad system. In the current fee-for-service system, patients do not have enough time with their doctor for a thorough evaluation, for all of their questions to be answered, and to feel truly cared for. In the current fee-for-service system, doctors are rushing from room to room to room and are unable to provide the kind of high-quality care that their patients deserve,

In the current system, primary care doctors are marginalized and devalued, predisposed to burn out and leaning towards early retirement. Younger medical students see their burnt-out, grumbling, and overstretched attending doctors in Family Medicine and choose not to become primary care doctors in the first place. Why earn less than other specialties in a field that is less-than fulfilling? 

Direct Primary Care doctors are fighting to make primary care relevant again, to restore the doctor-patient relationship, and to create value for patients in a way that the current fee-for-service system cannot.

There's an old adage: "take care of yourself so you can care for others", and it's something that primary care doctors have forgotten about. The expectation of the system is that we should work hard, keep our heads down, and not question the health care administrators who send an overwhelming volume of patients into our clinics each day. 

But when we begin to sacrifice the quality of our work simply because we don't have enough time, it's time to take a stand and re-think our practices. 

This brings me to the next criticism: how many conditions can a primary care doctor really treat? aka how much coverage can a family medicine doctor really provide? 

When a well-trained family medicine doctor is able to practice at the top of their training, they are able to manage between 80 and 90% of all patient concerns. From sore throats, to blood pressure management, Pap tests, skin biopsies, abscess drainage, diabetic management, and beyond, family medicine doctors are able to care for a broad and diverse range of conditions. 

The secret sauce in Direct Primary Care is the amount of time we are able to spend with our patients. If I have an hour, I can use it to drain an abscess, to talk about the efficacy of your antidepressants, to draw your blood for the lab work you need, to remove that ingrown toenail, to fully evaluate your vertigo, to evaluate your child's Vanderbilt scores for ADHD, to dispense the necessary medications and more. 

In the current fee-for-service system, the expectation is that primary care doctors perform a cursory evaluation and then make a referral to a specialist. In the Direct Primary Care model, primary care doctors have more time to address concerns to the fullest of their training. And if that specialty referral is necessary, Direct Primary Care doctors have enough time to personally manage the transition of care, to make the follow up phone call and to get a full picture of what happened during that referral. 

To summarize, Direct Primary Care doctors who leave the traditional fee-for-service system are not abandoning their patients. Rather, they are now free to practice medicine to the best of their ability by having enough time to give high-quality, thoughtful, and comprehensive primary care services to their patients. This will allow burnt out doctors to stay in practice for a longer period of time and it may inspire the next generation of medical students to choose primary care. 

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health Direct Primary Care

 

What is Family Medicine?

Hello, this is Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC and I'm a Family Medicine Doctor in Detroit. I operate Plum Health Direct Primary Care, which delivers affordable, accessible health care services in Detroit. 

This week, I'm talking about Family Medicine Week, an official announcement from Governor Rick Snyder that makes February 19th - 25th Family Medicine Week. I'm a month late in bringing this up, but it's still important to recognize Family Medicine and the contribution of Family Medicine Doctors across the State of Michigan.

For starters, Family Medicine Doctors compete four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, and three years of residency. That's 11 years after high school and 7 years after college. Furthermore, some Family Medicine Doctors sub-specialize within Family Medicine. 

They complete a 1 year fellowship to become Sports Medicine doctors, or Family Medicine doctors that sub-specialize in adolescent medicine, geriatric medicine, addiction medicine, etc...

The point is that Family Medicine doctors are highly trained, and specialize in taking care of the whole patient in the context of the family and the community. 

Family Medicine doctors care for people of all ages and stages! We help deliver babies, we help infants meet developmental milestones, we complete school, work, and sports physicals, we take care of injuries like fractures and lacerations, and we take care of chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma. 

Family Medicine doctors also work across a variety locations. Family Medicine doctors work in emergency departments, in-patient hospital settings, and out-patient clinics. Family Medicine doctors lead health departments for Cities, Counties, and States. Family Medicine doctors teach at medical schools, volunteer at homeless clinics, and travel abroad with organizations like Doctors without Borders. 

Personally, I love being a Family Medicine Doctor - I love taking care of people regardless of their age, race, gender, and orientation. I love being able to offer care and compassion to those who need it, along with the standard medical care. 

Finally, we need more Family Medicine doctors to create healthy communities, healthy cities, and a healthy nation. Family Medicine doctors address small issues before they become big, complicated problems. Family Medicine doctors and Primary Care Physicians can effectively increase the health of a community and lower the cost of care in that community.

Primary Care and Family Medicine is vital, and I'm glad that we have a week to recognize the work that Family Medicine doctors carry out each day in the State of Michigan.

Thanks for your time, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas

Plum Health at DNewTech Q&A

We were invited to pitch at DNewTech on Wednesday night, and after our pitch, we had 5 minutes to answer questions about Plum Health DPC. Here's the video of the event! 

You can see the original Pitch Video here, and you can see our original blog post here

One of the biggest barriers for people learning about our model is the difference between health care and health insurance. You need health insurance to protect you against the unknown or unforeseen: cancer, stroke, heart attacks and car accidents. Your health insurance should not cover your primary care services, because it introduces a middle man (or several middle men) between you and your doctor, driving up the price of those services. 

Health care is what we deliver at Plum Health. As your primary care doctor, I'm not that expensive and you're really paying me for my time. This allows me to answer your phone calls, texts, and emails in a timely fashion. It also allows me to get you in for an appointment when you need it, rather than having you wait for weeks just to be seen. 

Health care delivers the basics, like office visits, meds, labs, stitches when you cut yourself, and advice/counseling on lifestyle changes when you need it. Health insurance covers the unforeseen circumstances that are beyond our control. 

An analogy is auto insurance. We all have auto insurance, but we almost never use it, unless we're in an accident or our car is stolen. However, we don't expect our auto insurance to pay for the routine maintenance of our vehicles, like oil changes, tire rotations, and gas at the pump. If we did require our auto insurers to pay for these things, it would drive up the prices and make these basic services a hassle. Could you imagine long lines at the pump, prior authorizations to drive to Chicago, and auto insurance that only covers the basic oil, not the Valvoline. 

This would be an absurd way to take care of our cars. And I know that cars and people are different, but the way we've structured our health insurance coverage has caused very similar stress points to the imagined scenario above: long wait times to see your doctor, prior authorizations to get imaging studies like CT scans, and health insurance coverage that only covers some medications, but not others. 

In Direct Primary Care, we get rid of all of these middle men to deliver excellent, affordable services without the hassle. 

Thanks for reading and watching,

- Paul Thomas, MD

Ice Skating at Clark Park

This week I was able to ice skate at Clark Park in Southwest Detroit. First, ice skating is a fun, enjoyable activity for the winter months in Detroit and Michigan. Many families are able to stamp down enough snow and construct a wooden border, flood the area and allow it to freeze. These back yard rinks are the stuff of memory and family lore, but it's nice to have a community rink that is open to all. 

Second, 60 minutes of activity each day can increase our physical and emotional wellness. Children especially need to be active and create habits of activity and exercise that will help them maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases as they age. Here's some key stats:

  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computer).
  • Only about one in five homes have parks within a half-mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance.
  • Nearly one-third of high school students play video or computer games for 3 or more hours on an average school day.

If you want to learn more facts and stats about healthy activity patterns, hit this site: https://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/ 

Third, I was able to mentor some neighborhood kids and help them with their skating, passing, and shooting. It's always great to help kids build confidence in their abilities, and this was a nice opportunity to work with a group of kids in the neighborhood.

The ice rink at Clark Park is run by the Clark Park Coalition. If you want to learn more about what they do, or donate to their ongoing programming, hit their link! http://www.clarkparkdetroit.com/ 

Thanks for reading!

- Paul Thomas, MD