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.

The Department of Health and Human Services is offering a free blood test to people who may have drunk contaminated water at the Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth last year.

Perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, are used in products that resist heat – like Teflon, and the foam once used for fighting fires at Pease Airforce Base. PFCs were found in a well at the Pease Tradeport in May 2014.

Conway Daily Sun/Jamie Gemmiti

Late last month, the New Hampshire Department of Education made an unannounced visit to Lakeview School in Effingham. DOE had placed the special education school on provisional approval last November, and February 26 marked the third – though the only unannounced – visit to Lakeview since the fall.

The Obama Administration has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through the federal exchange.

The federal government is betting people who did not sign up for insurance last year are now noticing they will be paying a penalty on their 2014 taxes, which are due next month.

So the hope is by opening up a special enrollment period, those same folks will buy policies so they will not have another penalty on their 2015 taxes.

Darren via Flickr CC

New Hampshire is receiving an $8.6 million grant to provide rental assistance for people with mental illness.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will help cover rent for up 150 individuals or families with mental illness.

Dean Christon is the director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

Allegra Boverman

The house voted Thursday to repeal a law that created buffer zones for protestors around health clinics that provide abortions.

In recent years, both New Hampshire and Massachusetts passed such laws. But last year, the Supreme Court overturned the Massachusetts law, and New Hampshire’s law is yet to be enforced.

Before the new bill passed be a 170-159 margin, Republican Representative Joseph Hagan of Chester said the existing bill steps on free-speech rights.

The Senate has voted to wait before deciding whether to extend the state’s expanded Medicaid program, also called the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

Under the law that went into effect last year, the program will expire at the end of 2016. That’s the point when the federal government stops funding the entire expansion, dialing its contribution down to 90 percent.

In a bipartisan vote, the Senate tabled the extension in order to give more time to determine how the program is working.

In 2015, about 25 percent more New Hampshire residents bought insurance on the federal healthcare marketplace than the year before.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said 53,005 people enrolled in plans in New Hampshire. The department also reports just over 50 percent of those enrollees were under the age of 35 – a target demographic for health reform advocates. 

2015 HealthCare.gov Enrollees By Type: New Hampshire

Click the bubbles above the chart to see the breakdown of re-enrollees by type:

Jack Rodolico

The Grafton County Superior Court has ruled against a last-ditch effort by supporters of the Free State Project to alter a ballot the day before an election.

Free State Supporters in the Town of Grafton managed to get 20 warrant articles onto the local ballot this year - including efforts to stop tax money from flowing to the local library and banning the town from cooperating with the National Security Agency.

 An insurance company and a group of medical providers are teaming up to start a new insurance company in New Hampshire.

The new company is a partnership between Massachusetts-based Tufts Health Plan and Granite Healthcare Network – the parent company for Catholic Medical Center, Concord Hospital, Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, LRGHealthcare, and Southern New Hampshire Health System.

Tufts Health Freedom Plan will begin selling insurance to employers. The company is considering selling in the individual market too, including on the federal healthcare exchange.

Conway Daily Sun/Jamie Gemmiti

Yesterday, NHPR reported on abuse and neglect of people with disabilities at Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham. This story is the second in a two-part series on Lakeview.

Since October 2014, the Department of Education has found major deficiencies in virtually every aspect of the Lakeview School, one of the most expensive state-certified special education programs in New Hampshire. As a result, the school is on "provisional approval."

As of January 26 2015, Lakeview had not complied with the following deficiency findings:

Photos of Ryan's injuries were taken by Cote and published by NHPR with her permission

Since last September, Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham has been under scrutiny for abusing and neglecting some of the people it cares for – children and adults with brain injuries and developmental disabilities. NHPR has been looking into these accusations, and it turns out the state had warning signs about Lakeview going back to at least 2011.

This is the first of two stories on Lakeview, a look at the scope of those accusations. 

Following are many of the source documents and related media used in NHPR's reporting on the Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham, N.H. 

Visit our Flickr album to see photos of Jennifer Cote and her son Ryan Libbey taken by Greta Rybus for NHPR.

via WUKY

  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield now says 667,866 people in New Hampshire are affected by a recent data hack, or about half the state.  That figure includes former Anthem members.

Last month, Anthem revealed hackers tapped into a national database with the personal information of 80 million people.

Conway Daily Sun/Jamie Gemmiti

The state has accepted a Plan of Correction from Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham, which means, for now, Lakeview’s doors wills stay open.

Last September the Disability Rights Center released two reports alleging many instances of neglect and abuse at Lakeview, and at that time Governor Maggie Hassan shut down new admissions to the facility. Lakeview cares for people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.

NHPR’s Jack Rodolico discussed what's next for Lakeview on All Things Considered.

More people signed up this year for insurance through Healthcare.gov than last year. But that news comes the same day the federal government announced it accidentally sent incorrect tax information to 800,000 people who purchased plans on the website.

In New Hampshire, 52,944 residents bought insurance through the federal exchange during the enrollment period that ended this past Sunday. That’s about 13,000 more than last year.

Jon Ovington

Today a house committee considered a bill that would prohibit Medicaid from funding circumcisions of newborn baby boys.

Bedford Republican Keith Murphy sponsored this bill. He firmly believes circumcision is dangerous – potentially, very dangerous.

"One hundred and seventeen children a year, on average, die from circumcision complications. In fact it’s one of the leading causes of neonatal male deaths," says Murphy.

This weekend marks the last chance for Granite Staters to sign up for insurance through Healthcare.gov.

To avoid a tax penalty, people have to purchase a plan with a starting date of March 1 by this Sunday.

Jayne Navarro, a patient navigator at Manchester Community Health Center, says she’s had steady traffic through her office for the past few weeks.

"People are now really understanding – especially now coming tax season – the importance of being able to take care of this," says Navarro.

Aaron P. Bernstein Getty Images

Following a recent hack of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the insurer is gearing up to offer free credit monitoring services to members.

Anthem says it’s still unclear how many people’s data was stolen, so the company is acting as though all of its 290,000 members in New Hampshire are impacted. Hackers had access to personal information like social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, but not medical or credit card data, according to Anthem.

Adam McCune

From the time he was born until the age of three, Isak McCune of Goffstown was a healthy, smart, sweet little boy.

And then his mother says her little boy just changed. He started having tantrums. Really big ones.

"We called it being held hostage," says Robin McCune. "He would go on and on for hours. We couldn’t leave the house. And then when they finally got to the point where he was just exhausted, then he would come to me and be held. Most of them were four to six hours. They were long."

Flickr

A massive cyber-attack has exposed the personal information of tens of millions of Anthem members, including in New Hampshire.

Right now Anthem is assessing the damage. The company is cooperating with the FBI, notifying members, and it has hired an independent firm to investigate the hack, which hit as many as 80 million members in 14 states.

Hackers took Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, email, income and employment information. The company says no medical or credit card data was taken.

U.S Army Corp of Engineers

As a measles outbreak spreads to more than 100 children in 14 states, New Hampshire is considering a bill that would allow parents to opt out of a state-run immunization registry.

The state was supposed to set up an immunization registry back in the late 1990s, but it’s still in the works.

The registry would allow the state to track down and notify parents of unimmunized children if there were an outbreak of a communicable disease like measles.

The proposed bill would allow parents to opt out of that list, blocking the state from knowing their vaccination history.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

A house committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would restrict where the state’s low-income residents can use EBT cards.

The bill would ban people from using EBT cash benefits at businesses that primarily engage in tattooing and body piercing. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles McMahon (R-Rockingham), says the ban would also extend to smoke shops and future medical marijuana dispensaries.

istock photo

 According to new data from the federal government, 46,642 New Hampshire residents now have insurance through the federal healthcare marketplace. That figure includes people who have enrolled since November, and others whose plans from last year automatically renewed.

About 40,000 residents signed up last year, when New Hampshire's online exchange had only one insurer. But during this enrollment period, there are five insurers offering about 40 plans. Uninsured Granite Staters have until February 15 to sign up for a plan, or they could face a tax penalty.

Library of Congress

A writer and community activist in New Hampshire will be honored today by the Martin Luther King Coalition.

JerriAnne Boggis is being recognized for her work to tell the often little known stories of African Americans in the state. Boggins is an activist and the director for the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. She says on this holiday, she hopes Granite Staters will remember Dr. King’s ideals – and his actions.

Credit Taber Andrew Bain

It will soon be easier for police to reverse heroin and opioid overdoses.

Governor Maggie Hassan and the Department of Safety will create a new license for police that would allow them to administer a nasal spray called as naloxone, or Narcan. Narcan is what’s called an opioid antagonist, and it can save people in the throes of an overdose.

Police in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have access to the drug.

Jack Rodolico

Last April, the news broke that 40 veterans had died while waiting for medical care from a VA Hospital in Arizona. That provoked a national outcry at long wait times for sick vets.

Congress passed a $16.3 billion law to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Administration, and a crucial aspect of that law is now unfolding in New Hampshire. The idea is for the VA to pay for medical treatment outside the VA system.

Lakeview Systems

A beleaguered company accused of neglecting and abusing people with disabilities has sold off most of its programs in New Hampshire.

Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham has come under heavy fire for neglecting the people it is paid to care for – minors and adults with disabilities and brain injuries. Since September the facility has been under review by the state.

And until last week, parent company Lakeview Systems owned eight other programs with a total of about 55 beds in six New Hampshire communities.

Jack Rodolico

 In 2015, the City of Concord will honor its 250th anniversary. 

For centuries, the Merrimack River made Concord a prime location for Native Americans first, then European settlers later.

And in the 1800s, the city was famous for Concord Coaches – horse-drawn buggies that were manufactured to-order for customers around the world.

FutUndBeidl

A lawsuit pitting the Libertarian Party against the State of New Hampshire passed a crucial test this week. 

The lawsuit seeks to overturn a law passed in 2014 that gives third party candidates less time to collect the necessary signatures to run for Senate or Governor. 

That time limit makes it nearly impossible for third party candidates to run for those offices, alleges the Libertarian Party, which is being represented in this case by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

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