Family Medicine

Dr. Paul Thomas Featured on the Primary Care Cures Podcast

This week, Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC was featured on the Primary Care Cures podcast, hosted by Ron Barshop. The podcast focuses on the people who are making a difference in Primary Care - those who are fighting against burnout, physician shortages, bad models, and forced buyouts.

Dr. Paul Thomas was featured on Episode 25 of the Primary Care Cures podcast with Ron Barshop

Dr. Paul Thomas was featured on Episode 25 of the Primary Care Cures podcast with Ron Barshop

This episode had a fairly wide ranging discussion on Direct Primary Care, here are the show notes:

How I found out about the Direct Primary Care model at 2:50

Direct Primary Care Doctors and Burnout and Burnout in the Fee-For-Service system at 3:30

The different Direct Primary Care Conferences, including the AAFP DPC Summit and Nuts and Bolts in Florida at 5:00

The difference between Direct Primary Care and the Fee-For Service Model at 5:45

If all Primary Care Doctors went into Direct Primary Care, would there be a primary care shortage or would the primary care shortage worsen? at 6:10

Can we make Primary Care Medicine more appealing for medical students and residents? at 8:40

The percentage of medical students choosing Primary Care residencies and the Match at 9:40

The Income of a Direct Primary Care doctor at 10:15

Employees in the Direct Primary Care model - are they more satisfied because they have a lower volume? at 11:50

Starting a Direct Primary Care practice straight out of residency - is this unusual? at 12:50

Telehealth and digital communication and how that interfaces with the Direct Primary Care model, as well as texting your doctor at 14:34

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or “DO”? 

The best way to define an Osteopathic Physician is by what they believe. They follow the four tenets or principles of Osteopathic Medicine. They are as follows:

  1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.

  2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.

  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.

  4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function. 

In short, an osteopathic physician is trained to treat the person as a whole as every body system can relate to one another. Because of this holistic approach, not surprisingly many DOs have a strong interest in preventative health and primary care.

Osteopathic physicians complete four years of medical school and at least three years of residency, just like their Allopathic or MD counterparts. However, in addition to their stethoscopes and medical exam equipment, DOs have special training to use their hands as diagnostic and therapeutic tools with a treatment called Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses her hands to treat a patient at the Plum Health DPC; this is known as Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses her hands to treat a patient at the Plum Health DPC; this is known as Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?

A DO or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine also known as “OMM or OMT” during medical school and residency. It is a hands-on technique used to help diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury.  

During an osteopathic exam, a head to toe assessment will be performed to evaluate for abnormalities that the Doctor can feel with their hands called somatic dysfunctions. These abnormalities may have an effect on your activities of daily living, like dressing, eating, and bathing. They may also disrupt the way you walk and the way you move because they may be painful, and this can impact your overall quality of life. 

Somatic dysfunctions can be defined as impaired or altered function of the somatic (body framework) system: skeleton, joints, and myofascial structures (muscles, ligaments, tendons) and their relation to the blood vessels, lymphatic system, and nerves. 

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or DO employs treatments that restore and improve range of motion, by focusing on realigning trouble spots. Treatment modalities are patient specific and can include myofascial release (soft tissue work), muscle energy, high velocity low amplitude (traditional chiropractic work), counterstrain, and Still technique. During the visit, time will be set aside to discuss home stretches, exercises, and injury prevention.

What conditions can an Osteopathic Physician Treat with Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine technique to diagnose and treat a patient with a musculoskeletal health problem at the Plum Health DPC clinic in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Raquel Orlich uses the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine technique to diagnose and treat a patient with a musculoskeletal health problem at the Plum Health DPC clinic in Detroit, Michigan.

Here is a list of common issues that can be treated and improved with OMM

  • Pain related to improper alignment in the back, hips, shoulders, and neck (chronic and acute)

  • Musculoskeletal pain of the arm and leg

  • Nerve impingement (sciatica, radiculopathy)

  • Range of motion of tissues and joints

  • Headache (tension, migraine, and sinus)

  • Constipation

If you are dealing with some of the issues listed above, you may be a good candidate for OMM as a safe and effective form of therapy. Getting an appointment is easy, just click this link.

-Dr. Raquel

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine 


Welcome Dr. Raquel!

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Raquel Orlich to our practice at Plum Health DPC. Join us tonight at 5:30 pm at Batch Brewing Company and meet the newest Family Doctor in Detroit! To RSVP on our Facebook event, click here.

Welcome Dr Raquel.png

Join us tonight at Batch Brewing Company, 1400 Porter Street, Detroit, MI as we welcome our newest Family Medicine Doctor to Plum Health DPC, Dr. Raquel Orlich, DO.

Dr. Raquel Pence, DO - soon to be Dr. Orlich - is board certified family physician. She is excited to join the mission of bringing affordable and accessible health care to Detroit. She is passionate about quality patient-centered care and establishing strong doctor-patient relationships. Her clinical interests include osteopathic manipulative medicine for chronic musculoskeletal issues, women’s health, and preventative health. 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.

Family Medicine doctors are uniquely trained to take care of a wide range of health care issues. Family Practice doctors are able to treat children or provide pediatric care, women during their reproductive years or gynecological services, adults or internal medicine services, as well as health care for older adults also known as geriatric care. Family Physicians take care of the whole person and specialize taking care of people in the context of their families, communities, and greater environments.

Detroit is experiencing a shortage in excellent primary care services and specifically family medicine doctors. This is a part of the reason that we are so excited to have Dr. Raquel Orlich as a part of our team, serving Detroiters with high quality, affordable, and accessible health care services from our Southwest Detroit office.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD

Detroit Doctor Lowers the Cost of Prescription Medications

Medication prices are unsustainably high, putting a huge financial burden on every day Americans. In a recent survey, 8% of adult Americans don’t take their medicines as prescribed because they can’t afford them.

In addition, the cost of insulin for an average patient with Type 1 Diabetes doubled from 2012 to 2016. In fact, the cost of medications like insulin are inflating at higher rates than college tuition, college textbooks, and hospital services.

The cost of insulin is increasing at rates far above overall inflation, even outpacing the cost of college tuition and college textbooks.

The cost of insulin is increasing at rates far above overall inflation, even outpacing the cost of college tuition and college textbooks.

All of this data is presented to make the point: health care and specifically prescription medications have become more and more unaffordable for average Americans.

Fortunately, there is a better way to get prescription medications. One way is to develop a relationship with a Direct Primary Care physician, who focuses on improving access to affordable health care services, medications, and lab work.

The medications provided by Direct Primary Care doctors are typically given to patients at-cost or at a small markup to cover shipping, bottles, and labels. Direct Primary Care doctors do this because they believe that health care should be affordable and accessible for everyone.

Our Direct Primary Care practice here in Detroit is called Plum Health DPC and we pride ourselves on lowering the cost of medications for our patients. A partial list of these medications and their prices can be found on our Pricing Page as well as by following this link to our PDF of medication prices.

For example, we had a young lady come in to our clinic with an outbreak of HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus that was affecting her genitals. She went to the local pharmacy and requested a course of Valtrex, and she was told that the medication would cost $100. She heard about our clinic, signed up for our services and now is able to get a course of treatment with Valtrex for $1.49.

As another example, we had a diabetic patient who was not actively managing his diabetes because he was scared about how much the medication might cost. He was not seeking medical attention and was not taking any medication at all for his diabetes. Unfortunately, he developed a severe skin infection that required hospitalization. The nursing staff directed him to our clinic and we were able to get his diabetic medication for free through a pharmaceutical program. Additionally, we are able to manage his high blood pressure and high cholesterol for under $5/month.

Because of this type of work that we do for our patients everyday, we have the privilege of being interviewed on WDET’s Detroit Today. This segment will air at 9:00 am on Wednesday May 22nd. Please tune in or share the podcast link to spread the word about how we’re actively lowering the cost of health care and prescription medications in Detroit and beyond.

Thank you for reading and listening,

Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

For more information on this topic, read our previous blog post, titled: How to Find the Best Prescription Drug Prices in Detroit

Detroit doctor, Paul Thomas MD, is using the Direct Primary Care model to the lower the cost of prescription medications in Detroit and beyond

Detroit doctor, Paul Thomas MD, is using the Direct Primary Care model to the lower the cost of prescription medications in Detroit and beyond

This is an addendum to the Original Post, from WDET’s post:

Henderson also speaks with Dr. Paul Thomas, a primary care physician at Plum Health in Southwest Detroit. Since 2016, Thomas has had his patients pay an affordable monthly membership fee for healthcare and then he gets them their necessary medication at cost. A common blood pressure medication that would normally cost between $5 and $10 when billed through insurance and filled at a pharmacy, is instead costing patients just 27 cents for a month supply.

WDET’s coverage of Stephen Henderson’s conversation with Paul Thomas, MD on Detroit Today.

WDET’s coverage of Stephen Henderson’s conversation with Paul Thomas, MD on Detroit Today.

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!

Going Above and Beyond for Our Patients

I love being a doctor and I love being a Direct Primary Care doctor. Because of the Direct Primary Care model, I have the opportunity to go above and beyond for my patients. For example, one of our members sent me a text message asking if I could bring by their medications the next day. I asked if I could drop them off that evening instead.

Text conversation with my of our Plum Health DPC members about the medication drop off.

Text conversation with my of our Plum Health DPC members about the medication drop off.

I wanted to get them over as soon as possible because earlier that week, my patient had let me know that they were running low on their medications and on a tight schedule before an upcoming trip. That lead me to make an evening drop off of the medications on my way home from the office.

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC drops off medications for one of the Plum Health DPC members. When members of our practice need something, we try to get it done for them right away.

Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC drops off medications for one of the Plum Health DPC members. When members of our practice need something, we try to get it done for them right away.

This is just one example of the many ways that we try to make health care more affordable, accessible, convenient, and personalized.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

PS Follow us on Instagram for fresh stories like this:

We’re on Instagram,  @PlumHealthDPC

We’re on Instagram, @PlumHealthDPC

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

Is Direct Primary Care the Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System?

Is Direct Primary Care (DPC) the Cure for our Broken Healthcare System? That's the question that Caitlin Morse, PMP posed to me after reading my book with the same title (link to the book).

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a growing model of health care across the Nation, but does it live up to the hype? This is the question from Caitlin Morse PMP in her article on LinkedIn, among other questions, below.

During this conversation between myself, Paul Thomas MD, and Caitlin Morse PMP, we discuss the following:

What happens when your DPC doctor is sick or goes on vacation?

What does Plum Health use for EMR/EHR if not a system designed to optimize billing?

Would this model break if all of the patients currently on Medicaid were switched to this model?

The difference between Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine.

What about childhood vaccinations? Public health facilities won’t vaccinate people with any insurance, even if self-pay. I was quoted thousands of dollars for out-of-network vaccines. These are included with every insurance plan at the PCP - are they included with DPC?

How does this model handle malpractice insurance/liability? Does more of a focus on preventative care expose primary care doctors to greater liability?

Could DPC provide follow-up for cancer patients in remission, stroke patients post-rehab, post-acute care, etc?

The claim is made that 80-90% of what the average patient needs could be addressed by a family physician at a DPC facility, but it would be helpful to understand what that number really represents and how it compares to the current use of PCPs. Is that 80-90% of a patient’s lifetime health needs or 80-90% of what the average patient goes to the doctor for in a single year? Or everything that 80-90% of the population need from a doctor? What percentage of healthcare costs does this represent?

Who are the people who use Direct Primary Care Services? What are their income levels? Why should a family sign up for Direct Primary Care?

These are questions that folks have about Direct Primary Care and how they can use these DPC services and benefit from them, so I’m happy to take the time and answer them. Thanks for reading and watching, and have a wonderful day.

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Paul Thomas MD and Caitlin Morse PMP discuss Direct Primary Care.jpg

Paul Thomas MD on the DocPreneur Podcast

This week, we were featured on the DocPreneur Podcast, which is created and distributed by Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief of the Direct Primary Care Journal. After publishing the book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System, Michael reached out about having me on the podcast.

I’m sincerely happy to share my experiences in Direct Primary Care, to teach and inspire other doctors to take this journey to an authentic, fulfilling practice of medicine, to become the doctors they were meant to be. This is one of the biggest reasons why I continue to get the word out about Direct Primary Care - I believe in this model and its ability to transform our healthcare system in the United States.

I want to personally thank Michael Tetreault for being on the vanguard of Direct Primary Care by creating educational materials for DPC doctors. Enjoy the podcast, and let me know what you think!

Thank you for reading, watching, and listening,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Family Doctor Speaks at the Detroit Public Library

In October, I had a great opportunity to speak at the Detroit Public Library about health care. The focus of my talk was our Family Medicine practice in Southwest Detroit called Plum Health DPC. The DPC stands for Direct Primary Care and our mission is to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for everyone.

This talk was well attended by Detroiters and Library Patrons who wanted to learn more about lowering the cost of their health care. Folks in Detroit and across America are facing ever-rising costs for health insurance premiums and prescription drugs, ER visits and lab work.

One such Detroiter showed me the bill from a recent ER visit, which illustrates the inflated cost of medical care, especially the medical care delivered in emergency departments.

A Detroiter shows me their medical bill, showing the inflated costs of a chest x-ray, breathing treatments, blood work, and an EKG. Shared with permission.

A Detroiter shows me their medical bill, showing the inflated costs of a chest x-ray, breathing treatments, blood work, and an EKG. Shared with permission.

So let’s run through this bill and demonstrate the inflated costs of health care services when you receive them through the emergency department.

This person was charged $120 for a Basic Metabolic Panel, a test that costs $6 in our office.

This person was charged $47 to check their Magnesium level, and it’s $10 in our office.

This person was charged $57 for an EKG in the emergency department, and it’s $2 in our office.

A 2 view x-ray in the Emergency Department cost this person $107, but it can be obtained for $38 in the community.

Worst of all, this Emergency Department visit was billed out at a Level 5, or the highest level of severity for any emergency department visit. This would be on par with a stroke, heart attack, or gun shot wound. Because of this high level coding, this person was charged $1,204.00 for this visit, which was an asthma attack.

At Plum Health, we value price transparency, and we want to make sure that folks understand the costs of their medical care before those services are rendered. This prevents people from being sent to medical bankruptcy, the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

“A study done at Harvard University indicates that this is the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies. One of the interesting caveats of this study shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance, thus bucking the myth that medical bills affect only the uninsured.” - Investopedia article

This is why I get out into the community and speak at different events - I want to educate folks about how they can live healthier lives and prevent financial calamity in the process.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Want to take a deeper dive? Read our book, published on Amazon.

Paul Thomas MD at the Detroit Public Library speaking about Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD at the Detroit Public Library speaking about Direct Primary Care.

Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Detroit Public Library about Direct Primary Care and making health care more affordable and accessible.

Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC speaks at the Detroit Public Library about Direct Primary Care and making health care more affordable and accessible.

Paul Thomas MD Speaking at Michigan State University

This week, I was invited to speak at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine regarding Direct Primary Care. It was a neat experience because the school has three campuses and my lecture was simulcast to the other two campuses. I spoke at the Detroit location (did you know that Michigan State University has a medical school campus in Detroit?) and the talk was broadcast to the East Lansing and Macomb campuses.

The lecture was an hour, and in the first 45 minutes I discuss the current crisis in primary care, I define Direct Primary Care, and then I give real-world examples of how Direct Primary Care is working in our clinic in Southwest Detroit. During the last 20 minutes, I answered as many questions as I possibly can.

I love speaking with students about our healthcare system and about Direct Primary Care because I see the lightbulb go off - I see them ‘get it’ and understand the model and why it works well. I love witnessing that moment - the “aha” moment.

A few students bought my book about Direct Primary Care after the event and the pictures below are of me signing the book. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Get your copy of the book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System

Signing a book  for one of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Students.

Signing a book for one of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Students.

Dr. Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC signing the book,  Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System  after a speaking engagement at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Paul Thomas MD of Plum Health DPC signing the book, Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System after a speaking engagement at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

Direct Primary Care Book by Paul Thomas MD

Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System

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

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

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

Kindle/eBook version:

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

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

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

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

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

Author Page for Paul Thomas MD on Amazon.com

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

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

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

The Process of Writing the Direct Primary Care Book

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

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

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

Reception So Far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 DPC on WDET

This week, we ran an advertisement on WDET with the Corktown Business Association. I have been a long-time fan, listener and supporter of WDET and it’s one of the best places to advertise for our business because the people who listen to WDET are those who think and care deeply about Detroit and the issues facing the city.

Also, WDET does an excellent job of informing the public about important issues of the day and it’s a great platform for community-level information and journalism.

At Plum Health, we are addressing the lack of health care and primary care resources in the City of Detroit, and we know that this mission resonates with people who care about the city and its future.

As a part of the Corktown Business Association, we work with other business owners in the neighborhood to make it a better place to live, work, shop, eat, play, and be healthy. I’m proud to be in the Corktown Business Association and I’m glad we had the opportunity to tell the story about a wonderful place to be with vibrant businesses, Corktown Detroit.

Here’s the spot that we sponsored on WDET, with some images added from our archive:

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

Dr. Paul Thomas, Physician with Plum Health DPC

Paul Thomas, MD Speaks at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

This week, I was able to speak at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine to a group of about 50 enthusiastic first and second year medical students on September 24th, 2018. This presentation focuses on the philosophy and practice of Direct Primary Care and the main points of a DPC practice.

I believe in Family Medicine and I believe in Family Medicine doctors and their ability to fix our broken healthcare system, to remake it into a compassionate, intuitive system that delivers comprehensive care.

Because of this belief, I speak as often as I can to medical students, residents, doctors, and allied health professionals about Direct Primary Care and its transformative power in our healthcare ecosystem.

Thanks for reading and watching,

-Dr. Paul Thomas, family medicine physician practicing at Plum Health DPC in Southwest Detroit

Plum Health at Crain's Detroit Homecoming 

Last week we attended Detroit homecoming at the Lexus velodrome sponsored by Crain’s Detroit. It was an event that brought together small business owners in Detroit and members of the Detroit expat community.

First of all, the Lexus velodrome is a really cool and exciting venue! It is a four lane track and there were cyclists racing at certain points of the event which was cool to see. In the middle of the track was a spectator spot with a bar and meeting areas for the small business owners, journalists, and members of the expat community to enjoy. Around the track there was booths for small businesses to set up and that is where we has the opportunity to interact with each other and the expats.

For me it was great to see the Detroit expats getting excited about small business and the growing entrepreneurial community in the city and it was nice to have some of them lend their expertise, knowledge, and insights during the event

The evening programming/after party was held at the Corner where they had a live band and an opportunity to get onto the historic Tiger’s stadium surface and hit some dingers!

In closing this was another fantastic event and a sign of the momentum in the Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Dr. Paul Thomas, MD of Plum Health DPC at the Crain’s Detroit Homecoming Event at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Paul Thomas, MD of Plum Health DPC at the Crain’s Detroit Homecoming Event at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, Michigan.

Plum Health DPC on Channel 7 Action News Detroit

Plum Health DPC on Channel 7 Action News Detroit

This week, our clinic Plum Health DPC was interviewed by the journalists at Channel 7 Action News in Detroit. The piece will be airing on Monday September 24th at 11 pm, after the season 2 premiere of “The Good Doctor”. This will air on Channel 7 in the Greater Detroit television market.

I was very impressed by the depth of questioning and level of examination our Direct Primary Care practice received during the course of the filming and interviewing. The journalists at Channel 7 WXYZ Detroit did a phenomenal job of learning about our practice and what makes us unique.

They went into great detail about the membership pricing, the wholesale medications, at-cost labs, and at-cost imaging services. I came away with a greater understanding and appreciation for how much work goes into each and every segment that we watch on the local news and I am so excited to see the final piece, tonight at 11!

Thanks for reading and watching, teaser trailer after the break,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC in Detroit, Michigan

To make an appointment, call 313.444.5630. To enroll online, go to this link. To learn more, check out our main webpage.

Full Video from WXYZ Channel 7 News Featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC.

Video trailer of the WXYZ Detroit Channel 7 News Clip featuring Dr. Paul Thomas of Plum Health DPC: