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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Health
3:35 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Frisbie Hospital Patient Granted Hearing On Anthem's Network

A room at Frisbie Hospital
Credit Via Flickr CC

After several stops and starts, the Insurance Department has agreed to a formal hearing on the adequacy of Anthem’s narrow network of hospitals.

The move stems from a complaint filed by East Rochester resident Margaret McCarthy. She says she’s been aggrieved by Anthem’s decision to exclude Frisbie Memorial Hospital from its network for plans sold through the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
4:54 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

State Awaits Approval Of Medicaid Expansion Plan

The state is bumping up against an intended start date for Medicaid expansion sign-ups.

The bi-partisan plan agreed to earlier this year originally called for a two-month early enrollment period beginning May 1st with coverage starting in July, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hasn’t yet signed off on the package.

Governor Hassan says her administration continues to work closely with federal regulators.

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NH News
1:33 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Casino Supporters Make Final Pitch Before Vote

Diana Lacey, president of the State Employees' Association, speaking at a press conference in Concord on Monday.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Backers of a casino bill are making last ditch efforts before Wednesday’s scheduled vote in the New Hampshire House.

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Health
2:38 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Regulators Begin Redraft Of 'Narrow Network' Insurance Rules

Insurance Department Deputy Commissioner Alex Feldvebel during Wednesday's Network Adequacy Working Group.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Insurance Department kicked off a series of public meetings on Wednesday looking into network adequacy standards, with a focus on health plans that exclude doctors and hospitals.

Anthem’s ‘narrow network’ plans—the only option available through so-called ObamaCare this year—left out 10 of New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals, forcing some consumers to switch doctors.

The Insurance Department found Anthem’s plans met the current standards for coverage, which take into account the distance patients must travel for care.

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NH News
5:30 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Governor Hassan Calls On Senate To Increase Minimum Wage

Governor Maggie Hassan is urging Senate lawmakers to increase the state’s minimum wage.

In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, Governor Hassan writes that boosting the rate would accelerate the state’s economic growth.

“Restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages to spend at businesses across the state,” writes Hassan.

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Health
5:10 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

How One Hospital Hopes To Lure Patients With Clearer Prices

Richard Coll saw an advertisement for a flat-rate colonoscopy in his local paper.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

You don’t drop everything to go get a colonoscopy.

But after a decade of waiting, 63-year old Richard Coll of Manchester knew he couldn’t keep putting it off.

“It’s something you got to do, you’re supposed to do," says Coll. "There’s a little history in my family, so I was encouraged to do it.”

But he doesn’t have insurance and the price tag—actually the lack of a price tag-—kept getting in the way.

“[I was] shopping around, and everyone I asked, whether it was the doctor or an institution like a hospital, they looked at me like I was crazy,” says Coll.

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NH News
3:10 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Dartmouth's Big Green Gift

Credit Flikr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

Dartmouth College is receiving a $100 million anonymous donation, the largest single gift in school history.

"We are thrilled," says Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson. "And we're especially thrilled that it will be devoted entirely to strengthening Dartmouth's academic mission."

The gift will be added to school’s already sizeable $3.7 billion endowment. The interest earned will help fund an array of new initiatives, including the addition of 30 to 40 cross-discipline professorships.

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Health
5:21 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Report Citing 90% Rate Increase Under ACA Called Into Question

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is disputing a report that claims a 90% spike in individual premiums under the Affordable Care Act. The report from Morgan Stanley, which has become the latest flashpoint in the political battle over Obamacare, was based on a national survey of insurance brokers.

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Health
4:09 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

With Expansion Coming, Medicaid Enrollment Already Up In New Hampshire

The number of Medicaid enrollees in New Hampshire is up 4% since last October, according to new data from the federal government. More than 133,000 people were enrolled as of February, compared with roughly 127,000 recipients before the launch of the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
5:06 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Hassan Delays Portion Of Medicaid Managed Care Plan

Governor Maggie Hassan announcing a delay in the transition to Medicaid Managed Care for developmentally disabled recipients who receive long-term services.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The transition of New Hampshire's Medicaid program to what’s called ‘managed care’ was supposed to be phased in over three years.

First, private companies would take over administration of medical care for more than 100,000 recipients. In year two, services for people with developmental disabilities, including supports such as 24-hour aides and housing would switch over. And then, lastly, newly eligible recipients through Medicaid expansion would get benefits arranged through the managed care companies.

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Health
4:21 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Loophole Means Many Child Restraints Go Unreported In New Hampshire

Melissa Hunter says she wasn't immediately notified of the school's use of seclusion on her son.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Like many kids with autism, Hunter Picknell has trouble expressing himself.

“His primary form of communication is sign language, but there’s certain things he can’t do with his hands and fingers because of his motor-planning issues,” says Melissa Hilton, Hunter’s mother.

“He makes kind of his own sign language, which is very idiosyncratic. We often joke around and say it is sign language with an accent.”

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NH News
3:00 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Senate Approves Gas Tax Hike On 15-9 Vote

Credit konstantine1982 via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a 4.2-cent hike in the state’s gas tax that would raise an estimated $32 million for roads projects.

The bill also eliminates a set of tolls in Merrimack.

New Hampshire’s gas tax has held steady at 18-cents per gallon since the early 1990s, losing ground to inflation and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Senator Jim Rausch sponsored the plan, which originally envisioned indexing the tax to the inflation rate.

But the Republican from Derry scrapped that plan in favor of a scaled down measure.

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Health
5:41 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It's Last Call For Health Sign-Ups In New Hampshire

Leigh Niland walks Keene resident John Carland through the process of shopping for health insurance through the exchange.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Time is running out for individuals looking to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The cut-off to start the sign-up process is March 31st, and unlike previous deadlines, it looks like this one may actually hold.

That’s got John Carland taking the process more seriously.

“I put things off,” says Carland. “I’m a procrastinator. So, I just put it off until I had to do it, I guess.”

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NH News
1:28 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

N.H. House Votes To Expand Medicaid

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire House has voted 202-132 to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 50,000 low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.  

The move comes after more than a year of debate, and while the vote in the Democratically-controlled chamber wasn’t a surprise, Republicans weren’t exactly ready to concede the point.

They put forward nine amendments on issues ranging from delaying the start date to capping enrollees, all of which failed.

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Health
4:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Transition To Managed Medicaid Hits Some Bumps

It’s been a little more than 100 days since the state of New Hampshire dramatically re-shaped its biggest program. On December 1st, traditional Medicaid became Medicaid Managed Care, shifting administration of the health program into the hands of private companies in the hopes of saving $15 million a year.

Perhaps the biggest change to the program for recipients revolves around something called prior authorizations.

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