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
11:36 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Who Knew? Fireworks Better In Winter

Fireworks will light up the night sky tonight around New Hampshire.
Credit SJ Photography / Flick/Creative Commons

Many New Hampshire towns and cities usher in the new year tonight with fireworks displays. Turns out, winter is actually a great time of year for shows.

"The fireworks burn much cleaner. The colors are a bit brighter, because you don’t have the humid air," says Stephen Pelkey, CEO of Atlas Pyro Vision. "And it just makes for a wonderful backdrop."

The Jaffrey-based company is putting on 35 shows across New England tonight. Check local listings for events in your area.

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Health
1:16 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Whooping Cough Hits N.H.

According to the CDC, there have been around 40,000 cases nationwide of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) this year.
Credit CDC

Pertussis starts like a cold, but after a week or so, it leads to severe coughing fits that can take weeks to shake.  It’s also called ‘whooping cough’ because patients make a high-pitched whoop sound as they suck in air.

There are 222 confirmed cases in the state this year, the highest levels since 2006.

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NH News
4:55 am
Mon December 24, 2012

All Options On The Table For N.H. Health Exchange

The President’s health law wasn’t all that popular with New Hampshire House Republicans.  Among other actions last session, they passed a law prohibiting the state from managing its own health insurance exchange.

And for now, the state is moving forward with a marketplace run by the Federal government.

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Health
5:00 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Can Penalties Help Keep Patients Healthy?

Nearly 1 in 5 Medicare patients ends up back in a hospital bed less than 30 days after being discharged.
Credit Studio Tempura / Flick/Creative Commons

If you’ve just gotten released from Concord hospital, Carriane Wood may be giving you a call.

“Do you have any questions or anything?” she asks a patient.

“It’s at 9:30 on Thursday.”

Wood is a medical assistant, and she’s working her way through a list of recently discharged patients, calling each one to confirm follow-up appointments, and making sure they understand any new prescriptions.

These phone calls are part of a larger movement at hospitals throughout the state and country to reduce hospital readmissions.

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NH News
3:17 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Unemployment In N.H. Ticks Down To 5.6%

In November, the state’s unemployment rate fell a tenth of a point to 5.6 percent. But that wasn’t due to strong job growth…instead, fewer New Hampshire residents are looking for jobs.

Data from the New Hampshire Employment Security office show that the state’s retail and hospitality industries continue to show strength.

But despite resilience through the Great Recession, the state is starting to shed jobs in the health care and education sector.

Health
5:20 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Compounding Pharmacists In New Hampshire Brace For Change

Ron Petrin owns Bedford Pharmacy. He's been compounding for 30 years, and calls the work gratifying.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

About 20 years ago, Bob Vecchiotti developed something called foot neuropathy. It’s a neurological condition that left his feet numb. Sometimes they would tingle or burn.

“But then the pain was getting to the point that I was losing concentration and sleep, and I decided we need to do more,” says Vecchiotti. “That’s when my primary care physician, working with a compound pharmacist, was able to come up with something that worked.”

Vecchiotti is a business consultant in Peterborough. He was somewhat skeptical of compounding.

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Health
4:56 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

N.H. Ranks Third In Overall Health

A new report from the Minnesota-based United Health Foundation ranks New Hampshire the third healthiest state in the nation.  That’s down a spot from last year. The report weights a variety of factors, including infant mortality, obesity, high school graduation rate and levels of violent crime.  Vermont ranked first in the nation for the sixth straight year.

Health
5:11 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Report: State Ranks Last In Anti-Smoking Efforts

Credit Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report ranks New Hampshire last in the nation when it comes to funding anti-smoking programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual release says that New Hampshire allocated zero state funds for tobacco prevention efforts this fiscal year.

That’s despite the fact that the state collected more than $250 million dollars in tobacco tax revenue combined with the state’s portion of a 1998 settlement agreement.

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Health
4:50 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Telemedicine In New Hampshire Gets Boost

Credit Mercy Health / Flick/Creative Commons

Let’s say you are one of the 904 or so residents of Warren, New Hampshire. Let’s say you get sick.  Maybe you just started on a new prescription and are having unwanted side effects.

“Today, they have one of two options,” says Shawn Tester, who runs the day-to-day operations at Ammonousuc Community Health Services, which has five primary care clinics in Grafton and Coos County.

“They either do without. Or they have to travel, oh, I don’t know, 45 miles to our Littleton office to receive that consultative service.”

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NH News
4:39 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Kwiatkowski Pleads Not Guilty In Hep C Case

The former Exeter Hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak pleaded ‘not-guilty’ in Federal court today.

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NH News
3:48 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

UNH Football Looking To Make Playoff Run

Credit Jimmy Emerson / Flick/Creative Commons

On Saturday, UNH’s football team will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina to take on the Wofford College Terriers in a second-round playoff game.

It’s the ninth straight year the Wildcats have made the FCS (formerly called Division 1-AA) playoffs, the longest active streak in the nation.

Head Coach Sean McDonnell says it’s the character of his players, as much as their talent, that keeps the Wildcats winning.

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NH News
2:32 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Prosecutor: Still More Work To Do In Hep C Case

Federal prosecutors say it could take a year or more before a trial in the Hepatitis C outbreak case begins. On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted 33-year old David Kwiatkowski on 14 charges, including tampering with a consumer product.

The former Exeter Hospital employee is accused of stealing syringes of a powerful pain medication, injecting himself, and then reusing the needles on patients.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas says the FBI and members of law enforcement continue to investigate the case.

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NH News
7:24 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Indictment Arrives For Hepatitis C Suspect

A former hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire is facing new federal charges.

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NH News
5:38 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

State's Biggest Agency Asks For Budget Increase

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking for $321 million more to cover their programs for the next two years.   

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NH News
5:48 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Former Senator Warren Rudman Dies

Former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman died Monday night at the age of 82. He was considered a centrist Republican, and a leader in the movement toward fiscal responsibility.

As Congress battle over taxes and spending, President Obama says lawmakers would do well to follow the example set by Warren Rudman nearly 30 years ago.

In a statement, the President called the two-term Senator the embodiment of Yankee sensibility.

Warren Rudman’s time in Washington was highlighted by his struggle to balance the Federal budget.

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