One day this week, Vik and I tried to look for the number of primary health care providers/physicians in Detroit. Like fishing a needle in the sea, we spent very long time looking into different webpages, in the hope of finding something relevant. We ended up with three findings: one is from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care website, the other one is from 2013-2015 Michigan BRFS Regional & Local Health Department Estimates and the last one is this news article (http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2017/03/04/primary-care-doctors/98760438/). On the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care website, we found that there are 78.6 primary care physicians per 100,000 in 2011. According to the BRFS estimates, during 2013-2015, 23.7% of adults have no personal health care provider. In the news article, the author says that, “there are roughly 50-100 primary care doctors in Detroit, according to top officials in the Detroit Health Department. For a city of 683,000 people, that’s about one doctor for every 6,000-12,000 residents, which is horribly underserved.” As the number from the news article and the number from the Dartmouth website don’t really match, on a whim, we decided to call the author of the news article and ask about his data source.
The author was unexpectedly friendly and nice and treated our conversation seriously. I learned that he is Doctor Paul Thomas, M.D., a family medicine physician and started the Plum Health DPC, a direct primary care practice in Corktown and Southwest Detroit. On the phone, he shared with me how he tried to find out the number of physicians by calling each clinic that says “located in Detroit” online and even sent me the spreadsheet he used after our phone call. Although I can’t tell if his number is accurate or not, it’s still inspiring and encouraging to see someone in Detroit who’s devoted to health care for Detroit people. Undoubtedly, there’s a shortage of primary care providers in Detroit despite different data from different sources. I personally like this news article because Doctor Thomas elaborates the reasons why the shortage exists, informs people the current actions that have been taken to alleviate the problem and spreads the awareness of the problem. I feel glad that I followed the whimsical idea of calling the author when seeing that article.
That phone call is not the end of this story. Pauline and I met a medical school student at Wayne State in the Great Lakes Café this Sunday. He overheard our conversation when I was telling Pauline about this news article I wanted to write about. He asked us more about the situation and told us that he really wants to help Detroit city by giving back what he learned in the medical school. I guess that’s why I have faith in this city 💗.
photo cr: beautiful Katherine