December 10, 2018

New book by alumnus Dr. Paul Thomas reveals how he's making subscription-based direct primary care work

A Wayne State University School of Medicine graduate has published a book explaining how a relatively new practice model can benefit patients and physicians while reducing overall health care costs.

Paul Thomas, M.D., of the Class of 2013, has published "Direct Primary Care: The Cure for Our Broken Healthcare System." The 88-page book, available on in paperback and eBook format, seeks to educate the medical and health care community, as well as health care advocates, about the benefits of the Direct Primary Care model.

Direct Primary Care, a newer practice model, allows patients to have a direct relationship with their primary care physician by enrolling in an affordable subscription-based service, said Dr. Thomas, a clinical assistant professor with the Wayne State University School of Medicine. DPC physicians do not bill or use insurance, which means they are able to provide patients with steeply-discounted medications, labs, imaging services and procedures.

"I wrote this book because I believe that health care should be affordable and accessible for everyone, and I believe that the Direct Primary Care model gets us closer to this goal," said Dr. Thomas, founder and lead physician of Plum Health DPC, located in Detroit.

Direct Primary Care doctors, he explained, make themselves available by phone, text message or video call as a convenience for patients. The model typically charges patients a monthly, quarterly or annual fee that covers all or most primary care services, including clinical, laboratory and consultative services, in addition to care coordination and comprehensive care management.

In his book, published Nov. 24 and already reaching "No. 1 new release in health care delivery" status on, Dr. Thomas speaks to the value of a direct relationship between patient and physician, while reducing medical care costs.

Dr. Thomas launched his practice in November 2016 with eight patients. He now has 416 of all ages.

"We spend nearly one-fifth of our gross domestic product for substandard health care in America. If we're going to fix it, we need to think outside the box," said Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., former executive director of the Detroit Health Department. "Direct Primary Care is part of the solution, and Dr. Paul Thomas is one of its leaders. As health director of the city of Detroit, I saw firsthand how lack of access to primary care hurt Detroiters, and I saw how Dr. Thomas's model could provide those services in an accessible, affordable and friendly way. This book matters for anyone who believes health care has to change, and that revolutionizing primary care is part of that."

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