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.

NHPR Staff

In a week where violence by and against police has dominated the news, from Louisiana to Minnesota to Texas, we thought we’d take a look at recent police shootings in New Hampshire.

Since the beginning of 2015, four people have died at the hands of police officers in the state, and two police officers have been been shot, both surviving those incidents.

Thomas Fearon

Here is the scathing conclusion from a report about New Hampshire’s struggling mental health system: “The time for patience…is over.”

Thomas Fearon

Despite some controversy over a contract, today Dartmouth-Hitchcock officially takes over operations at New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s only psychiatric hospital.

Dartmouth has come under heavy criticism from some of the outgoing psychiatric staff at New Hampshire Hospital; they say Dartmouth wasn’t willing to have a fair conversation with them about salary and compensation, and they’re skeptical Dartmouth is ready to care for the patients currently at the state hospital.

Health Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers disagrees. He approves of Dartmouth’s bid to run NH Hospital.

THOMAS FEARON

  

The Executive Council has voted 5-0 to allow Dartmouth-Hitchcock to take over managing the state psychiatric hospital in Concord, June 30. But a core group of psychiatrist staff refuse to work with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. 

Thomas Fearon

An ongoing staffing skirmish at New Hampshire Hospital threatens to create a backlog in the state’s already fragile mental health system.

The conflict pits one of New Hampshire's most esteemed medical institutions – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital – against one of the most specialized psychiatric teams.

Jack Rodolico

The Department of Environmental Services has referred an illegal dumping case involving Brady Sullivan Properties to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office for review. 

In 2013, Brady Sullivan Properties was responsible for moving more than 600 tons of contaminated soil from a Manchester mill yard to a gravel pit in Londonderry.  Groundwater below the dumping site is contaminated with PCE, a chemical linked to cancer.

DENNIS AMITH VIA FLICKR CC

Drinking water from private wells in northern New England may increase the risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute, Dartmouth and the state health departments in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A proposed rule change to the state’s circuit court system aims to end so-called debtors’ prison in New Hampshire.

The change comes six months after a report from the New Hampshire ACLU found judges across the state routinely engaged in an illegal practice – sending defendants to jail who couldn’t afford to pay fines, often without an attorney present.

Jack Rodolico

Working on a tip from a confidential source, federal and state regulators investigated how piles of asbestos-laden debris ended up in Lawrence, Mass. outside a building owned by Brady Sullivan Properties, one of New Hampshire’s largest real estate developers.

Jack Rodolico

When Jen Howe woke up on Monday, she wasn’t planning on being back in the surgeon’s office. She’s laid out on a table, and the nurse reminds her to relax, and breathe.

Howe had an abdominal surgery two weeks ago. The incision is just below her waistline. Dr Krzysztof Plociennik is probing two inches into the wound, poking at a hard spot until blood squirts out of the wound.

Jack Rodolico

Odds are at some point, you've paid good money for a really bad cup of coffee. But a cup of coffee is really just ground up beans plus water plus time. And in cold brewing, you just add a lot more time.

"It’s this movement away from your classic World-War-II Folgers," says Connor Roelke, owner of Nobl Coffee.

Jack Rodolico

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s investigation into marketing practices by large pharmaceutical companies hit a roadblock this week. The Attorney General wants to know if those companies have been deceptively marketing opioids - drugs that have been diverted in mass quantities to fuel addictions and overdoses. But a court order now slows down that process.

Tomas K via Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/6qrVrt

State officials have confirmed the first case of Zika virus in New Hampshire.

A New Hampshire woman got Zika from having sex with a partner who had traveled to a country where the virus is being transmitted by mosquitos. The state says she's now in good health.

Still, officials are reminding people of Zika's potential danger to pregnant women because the virus is feared to cause birth defects.

Flickr/Rachel Calamusa

About one in three Granite Staters aren't getting enough sleep. That's according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jack Rodolico

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is trying to figure out if the state's largest insurance companies are covering opioid treatment the way the law requires.

The preliminary findings of the department's ongoing investigation are inconclusive.

Jack Rodolico

Lexi Gerkin is 14 years old. She has a number of complex disabilities and medical conditions, and she’s been without nursing for four months. And Lexi’s mother, Audrey Gerkin, is hopeful that higher pay rates for pediatric nurses will make it easier to find in-home care for her daughter.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

You can only buy Canterbury Aleworks beer in one place – at the brewery in the woods.

"I like the little saying, a little out of the way, a lot out of the ordinary. But you could swap those off one way or the other. Some people say, 'Oh it’s a lot out of the way.'"

That’s Steve Allman, brewer and owner of Canterbury Aleworks. He’s behind the bar in his taproom. And he doesn’t look like a bartender – no crisp white shirt and pressed black pants. He looks like a carpenter. Which he is.

Casey McDermott

The morning after Election Day, I stopped by Ben Carson’s campaign headquarters in Manchester to see if anything was going on.

There wasn’t. The lights were out and the doors were locked. Carson was also long gone. At a neighboring hair salon, stylist Kettia Fenestor said the Carson camp made for good neighbors. But she’s happy to put it all in the rearview.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush campaigned in Nashua on Monday, and criticized the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling. 

Bush spoke at an invitation-only Rotary lunch at the Nashua Country Club, where he was asked about what he would do to counter the influence of money in politics.

In a break from other Republicans in the race, Bush expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling and said he would support changing it.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

Gary Mountford of New London is exasperated. He likes former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. But there’s a central challenge Bush has faced since he announced his candidacy for president.

"I wish more people were listening," says Mountford.

Jack Rodolico

Around 6 am last Friday, the Mt. Pisgah Diner in Winchester was packed with regulars: people who come to share good food at a small counter. The diner's owner, Joni Otto, says no presidential candidate has ever graced her doorway.

But that doesn't mean politics is missing from the menu.

Jack Rodolico

A New Hampshire activist passed away Monday. Linda Horan became well-known in recent months for filing a lawsuit that opened up access to the state's sluggish medical marijuana program.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

You would have had a hard time finding presidential candidates in the state this past weekend – most were in Iowa ahead of Monday's caucus.

 

But that doesn’t mean campaigns ignored New Hampshire – particularly Hillary Clinton’s.

 

The Executive Council voted Wednesday to confirm Jeffrey Meyers as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Meyers has been the interim commissioner since early January, when Commissioner Nick Toumpas stepped down. Meyers has held other positions in state government, including as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for DHHS, as well as Chief Legal Counsel to former Governor John Lynch and legal counsel to the state Senate.

Meyers has been appointed to a four-year term as commissioner. 

Flickr/Grape Crush, Indica-4

Three out of four of New Hampshire's medical marijuana dispensaries are now approved to start cultivating cannabis. 

Temescal Wellness just got approval from the Department of Health and Human Services to start growing marijuana. The Manchester company will operate two dispensaries, one in Dover and another in Lebanon. Their grow site will be in Manchester.

File Photo

The 72-acre, sprawling campus of Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center - with about a dozen buildings overlooking lakes and mountains - has always been used as a place to treat people with brain injuries or developmental disabilities. But there has always been controversy too.

    

In 1992 the FBI raided the site when they suspected the original owners of fraud. And then last year, after the Disability Rights Center put out a scathing report on Lakeview’s practices, the state shut it down. The place was notorious for poor care. But Eric Spofford hopes to change all that.

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Jack Wozmak says with the legislature presently focused on the opioid crisis, now is a good time for him to step down as the state's so-called "drug czar." (Click here to read his resignation letter.) 

Jack Rodolico

There is this monthly meeting that is typically as bureaucratic as it sounds: the Governor’s Commission on Medicaid Care Management. But last month, things were different. A group of mothers were there to testify with their children in tow. 

Garrett Vonk

More people have health insurance in New Hampshire, but they're also paying more for it.  That's according to the Insurance Department's annual report on costs

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