Jack Rodolico

Health & Science Reporter

As NHPR's Health and Science Reporter, Jack covers a far-ranging beat: public health, private insurance, hospitals, scientific research, drug addiction, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, mental illness and developmental disabilities. Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance  reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.

Jack comes from a rowdy family of Italians who wave their hands in the air while talking, and he competed for attention as a child by telling the loudest story. 

Follow Jack tweets about health and science news, and everything else he's tracking.

Brian Wallstin

A New Hampshire physician's assistant was arrested Friday by federal agents on allegations he received kickbacks for prescribing large amounts of an opioid painkiller. According to officials, Clough was the state's top prescriber of a fentanyl spray called Subsys.

Related story on Clough: Opioid Prescriber's Story a Cautionary Tale as N.H. Face Growing Crisis

Nixon Peabody

Gov. Chris Sununu has nominated Gordon MacDonald, a well-known Manchester attorney, to serve as Attorney General. MacDonald's clients include a major opioid maker being investigated by the state.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

About 30 people, including four children, have been displaced after a fire ripped through their Concord apartment building Sunday evening.

The Concord Fire Department says a cigarette started the blaze, which damaged three or four apartments but then cut power off to the entire building, about 30 apartments.

Jennifer D'Entremont says it was close to midnight when she took her eight-year old son into the cold in their pajamas.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Portsmouth Regional Hospital will open more beds to psychiatric patients. The hospital hopes those beds will alleviate a backlog of patients boarded in emergency rooms.

On one day last month, a record 68 patients in acute mental health crises were stuck in emergency rooms around the state, waiting for a bed at New Hampshire Hospital, the state's lone psychiatric hospital. Now Portsmouth Regional will increase its inpatient psychiatric beds from eight to twelve in the hopes of chipping away at that wait time. 

AARP is taking a stand against the proposed healthcare overhall making its way through the House of Representatives.

AARP claims 233,000 members in New Hampshire, and the group says it basically doesn't like anything about the bill proposed by Congressional Republicans. On a conference all with reporters Thursday, AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner said the bill would downshift the cost of healthcare to families and state government.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Hospital Association says a federal court ruling last week means state budget writers owe hospitals $80 million on top of what the governor has already proposed. But the head of the house finance committee disagrees. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Hospital Association has won a court case against the federal government. It could mean more public money going to hospitals to cover the cost of providing uncompensated care.

Jack Rodolico

Brady Sullivan Properties, one of New Hampshire's biggest developers, will pay a fine for violating federal lead paint laws. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Brady Sullivan did not disclose the existence of chipping lead paint to tenants of Mill West in Manchester before they moved in. Then the landlord exposed tenants to lead dust from a construction site below apartments.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A bill in the state Senate would tighten eligibility for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps. That bill was written, in part, by a conservative, Florida-based think tank that’s pushed similar measures around the country. 

Eden via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5qAdh9

A bill in the State Senate could sharply reduce the number of people eligible for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps.

Senate Bill 7 would basically make it harder to get food stamps in New Hampshire by changing financial eligibility and other requirements for applicants.

On Tuesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony against the bill from the New Hampshire Food Bank and New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Sarah Mattson Dustin, of Legal Assistance, told lawmakers the bill will downshift the cost of feeding low-income families.

rcf50022 on YouTube / https://youtu.be/e1cYFp3o6cw

After nearly two weeks of steady snow storms across the state, New Hampshire's ski mountains are getting ready for a busy few weeks. 

Massachusetts schools are on break next week, and New Hampshire schools the following week. That's just in time for ideal ski conditions, says Greg Keeler at Cannon Mountain.

"And we get something called Notch Effect snowfall. It made the cloud stay here and it forced the snow out of the cloud right in the region of Cannon."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program has been a success. That conclusion is a shift from his prior statements about the program, which has provided health insurance to more than 50,000 Granite Staters.

Thomas Fearon

Prompted by the suicide of a former patient last summer, an independent committee has wrapped up an investigation into care at New Hampshire Hospital.

Last July, 63-year-old Joy Silva jumped from her third-floor apartment in Nashua shortly after being discharged from the state psychiatric hospital. The obvious question that followed was: Could New Hampshire Hospital have done more to prevent Silva's suicide?

Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

Faith leaders in New Hampshire are speaking out against President Donald Trump's executive order that stops refugees from entering the country.

Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders are looking to their faith to explain their opposition to the immigration and refugee ban.

CREDIT DILOZ VIA FLICKR CC / HTTPS://FLIC.KR/P/9LZEHD

The outgoing Director of the Division of Children, Youth and Families says public scrutiny of her agency’s shortcomings could provide opportunities to improve the state’s child safety network.

Jack Rodolico

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester is your typical general hospital: they deliver babies, set broken bones, perform heart surgery. And it might be as good a place as any to witness how the opioid epidemic is transforming healthcare in New Hampshire.

For over a year, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has been trying to determine whether drug makers break the law in how they marketed opioid painkillers in the state. It’s a slow legal battle that could determine that pharmaceutical companies knew they were putting people at risk by overselling highly addictive painkillers. Many of those painkillers were abused – leading to an addiction and overdose epidemic.

There’s been a new development in that story, and NHPR’s Jack Rodolico sat down with Morning Edition to talk about it.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers are close to approving a federal grant to help the state Medical Examiners Office deal with a backlog of autopsies, mostly due to drug overdose deaths. 

Jack Rodolico

Starting October 30, Andrew Dixon spent 13 days in the emergency room at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester. And as his father, John Dixon, describes that time, you might think Andrew had committed a crime. 

NHPR

The state of New Hampshire could find itself back in court this year if it doesn’t comply with a class-action settlement aimed at rebuilding the state’s damaged mental health system. 

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Massachusetts' largest healthcare network has taken its first step into the New Hampshire health market by purchasing Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. 

Wentworth-Douglass in Dover and Mass. General Hospital in Boston have been clinical partners since 2008, and both say the acquisition will give the New Hampshire hospital access to more specialized doctors.

A bill in the New Hampshire legislature could make it legal to hospitalize someone against their will because of a drug addiction. The bill would amend the state law that allows authorities to involuntarily commit people suffering from a serious mental illness who pose a threat to themselves.

Republic Senator Jeb Bradley says he proposed the bill after he spoke with the family of someone who died of an overdose.

File photo

An independent report on New Hampshire’s Division of Children, Youth and Families says the state falls short of its obligation to protect abused and neglected children.

The report puts the responsibility for fixing that broken system – and protecting New Hampshire’s most vulnerable residents – in the hands of lawmakers. 

Jamie/Flickr

Prescription drugs costs are climbing faster than most other categories of health spending in New Hampshire, according to a new report by the state insurance department.

Jack Rodolico

With snow and sub-zero temperatures projected across New Hampshire for the next few nights, the city of Concord is still without a winter shelter for its homeless residents. The shelter is slated to open soon, but not by Thursday night, when the temperature is expected to plummet. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The federal government released data today on the impacts of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire.

The big picture is the uninsured rate in New Hampshire is down 43 percent since before the law went into effect. That means 63,000 people have gained coverage in the state through the Affordable Care Act.

About two-thirds of the newly insured bought coverage through Healthcare.gov, and the rest have signed up for the state's expanded Medicaid program, which provides insurance for low-income people.

Vaping360.com

A report from the U.S. Surgeon General is prompting health officials in New Hampshire to warn the public of the dangers of youth using e-cigarettes, also known as vaping.

The U.S. Surgeon General describes e-cigarette use as a major public health concern for youth and young adults. Over five years, e-cig use jumped 900 percent among high school students nationally, surpassing cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

PEXELS

The federal government says more than 10,000 Granite Staters signed up for insurance on Healthcare.gov in the first four weeks of open enrollment.

A total of 10,554 New Hampshire residents signed up for health insurance during open enrollment between November 1 and November 26, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Over that same period, more than 2.1 million across 39 states have bought coverage on the federal website. A quarter of those are new enrollees, while the rest were renewing their coverage. 

Getty Images

The Senate is scheduled to take up a bill next week that would send $1 billion to states battling the opioid addiction crisis.

The federal dollars would be divvied up among states based on per-capita drug overdoses. By that measure, New Hampshire ranks third nationally.

The funding would help strengthen the state's growing but still inadequate network of services, including prevention, early detox, long-term housing and mental health treatment, says Tym Rourke, Chair of the Governor's Commission on Substance Abuse.

Jack Rodolico

In the Marines, Dan Crim learned how to strap an air-tight respirator over his mouth and nose to protect himself from a biological threat. He was glad to never have to use one in a combat zone during his five deployments overseas.

Now a retired Marine, Crim wears a respirator whenever he sets foot in the house he bought but no longer lives in.

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