Todd Bookman

Health Reporter

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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NH News
1:21 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

N.H. Senate Approves Medicaid Expansion Proposal

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s fault line for expanding its Medicaid program has always run through the GOP-controlled Senate. 

There, top lawmakers from both parties have tried and failed to reach compromise over the past year. And so now with a deal clearly in reach, Democratic co-sponsor Peggy Gilmour of Hollis reminded colleagues of all they’ve been through.

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NH News
4:59 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

House Passes Ban On Handheld Cell Phone Use By Drivers

Credit Jim Legans, Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

The use of handheld cell phones while driving would be banned under a bill passed on Wednesday by the House.

New Hampshire would join 12 other states in banning hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.  There would be exceptions for dialing 911.

Bluetooth and other hands-free technology would remain legal, as well as the use of non-cellular 2-way radio.

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Health
4:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

New Device Provides Pinpoint Treatment For People With Epilepsy

Chrissy Goodman with her daughter Madeline.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

A new technology holds the promise of treatment for the nearly one million Americans with epilepsy that don’t respond to medications. The FDA has approved a new implant that uses bursts of electricity to stop seizures before they start. 

That’s good news for people like Chrissy Goodman. She’s 32, from Concord, and had her first seizure at age 14.

Epilepsy has affected every aspect of her life, from where she can live to relationships to education.

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Health
3:02 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate Committee Approves Medicaid Expansion

Senators Peggy Gilmour and Andy Sanborn debate SB 413.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

 New Hampshire lawmakers moved a step closer to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee voted 4-1 on Wednesday to approve a plan that includes a “premium assistance program” which would require newly eligibly Medicaid recipients to select private health insurance starting in 2016.

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn of Bedford was the lone dissenting vote.

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Health
4:28 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Public Hearing Draws Backers, Critics

During a Senate committee meeting in Concord on Tuesday, the public had its first chance to weigh in on the Medicaid expansion plan backed by leaders in both parties. 

A wide range of voices spoke favorably of the bill that relies on private insurance for new recipients, including medical providers, hospital executives and business owners.

Justin VanEtten of Meredith runs a private ambulance company, and says despite his philosophical opposition to Obamacare, he backs bringing federal tax dollars into the state.

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Health
3:09 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

NHPR News Primer: The Latest Medicaid Expansion Plan

Credit Sara Plourde

Full details of a Senate plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are out.

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Health
5:33 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Federal Judge Gives Final Approval To Mental Health Settlement

Calling the deal a “responsible resolution,” Judge Steven McAuliffe approved a major settlement agreement on Wednesday that will bring more resources to people in crisis.

Plaintiffs had brought a class action suit against the state, alleging that a lack of services resulted in unnecessary institutionalization of people with mental illness. The U.S. Department of Justice joined the case, saying the state was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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Health
12:48 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Judge Rules Disputed Hospital Tax Unconstitutional

A Superior Court Judge has ruled that a state tax paid by New Hampshire hospitals is unconstitutional.

Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem paid $1.4 million to the state in 2011 under what’s called the Medicaid Enhancement Tax. Hospitals pay a set percent based on revenues.

Northeast Rehab argues it’s unfair that it has to pay the tax while other medical providers that do the same procedures--but aren’t classified as hospitals--don’t.

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NH News
4:32 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Investigation Continues Into Explosion at New Hampshire Ball Bearings

Todd Bookman NHPR

Company officials now say 14 people were injured in a major explosion inside a factory in Peterborough on Monday, including two critically.

The blast at New Hampshire Ball Bearings occurred shortly after 3:30p.m., sending a column of smoke into the air and shaking buildings within a quarter-mile range.

A company statement says 12 patients were treated and released, and that all employees have been accounted for. "We ask that all of you keep our employees and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Our first and primary concern is for them." 

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Health
11:22 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

New Hampshire Lawmakers Agree To Expand Medicaid

Credit Redjar / Flickr Creative Commons

News of a deal on Medicaid expansion emerged just before Governor Maggie Hassan took to the microphone on Thursday to deliver her first State of the State address in Concord. The first-term Democrat relished in bringing one of her biggest priorities closer to fruition.

“With today’s positive step forward, it is clear that we can work through this together, and help working people access critical health coverage,” says Hassan.

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NH News
6:20 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

N.H. Senate Deal Opens The Door For Medicaid Expansion

Governor Maggie Hassan's first State of the State Address touched on a wide range of issues, including energy, infrastructure, and  education.

But the biggest news of the speech was a deal to expand the state’s Medicaid program, announced by Senate President Chuck Morse and Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen shortly before the governor's address. 

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Health
5:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Senator Pushes For Public Hearings On ACA Insurance Plans

Any insurance plan sold in the online exchange would first face a public hearing under a bill before State Senators. The measure comes in reaction to Anthem’s decision to cut out 10 of the state's 26 hospitals for plans sold on the new marketplace, a move many lawmakers and consumers say they were blindsided by.

The company defends the decision, saying it helped lower costs by 25%.

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Health
4:00 am
Mon February 3, 2014

ACA Shakes Up College Health Insurance Plans In New Hampshire

Credit Jeremy Wilburn / Flickr Creative Commons

It is the rare 20-year old who sits around a dorm room comparing deductibles or provider networks.

“No, we don’t talk about health insurance,” says Colby-Sawyer College nursing student Maria Antonio.

Up until now, she didn’t much have to think about it. She was covered as a teenager through Medicaid.

“And I knew a little bit, but I didn’t pay attention to it, because I’m not a type of person that is always in the hospital. But now that I’m growing up, I know that I need to know this, just in case that something happened.”

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Health
5:25 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Bill To Expand Role Of Dental Hygienists Voted Down

Senator Peggy Gilmour (D-Hollis) on the Senate floor.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

State Senators voted down an effort Thursday to expand the role of some dental hygienists, instead opting to study the issue.

With additional training, advocates say new dental hygiene practitioners could expand access to oral health care, especially in rural and low-income communities. Under the supervision of a dentist, these mid-level professionals would be able to pull baby teeth and fill cavities.

Dentists, however, were dead set against it.

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Health
4:17 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Proposed Law Would Create Registry For Medical Technicians

Exeter Hospital, where an outbreak of Hepatitis C resulted in 32 infections.
Credit NHPR Staff

Medical technicians would have to register with the state under a bill passed Wednesday by the New Hampshire House. The measure was prompted by an outbreak of Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital, where an employee reused needles on patients resulting in 32 infections. The employee had been accused of drug diversion at similar hospitals but continued to gain employment.

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