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
4:48 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

House Committee Backs Medicaid Expansion

The plan to expand Medicaid endorsed by the state Senate has cleared its first hurdle in the New Hampshire House, gaining the approval of the Finance Committee on a 15-10 vote.

The Democratically-controlled House has already voted to expand Medicaid three times, and leaders there want to pass this version as soon as they can.

House Republicans, though, continue to put up a fight.

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Health
12:07 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Senate Approves Bill To Hold Public Hearings On ACA Insurance Plans

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

Health insurance products sold in New Hampshire’s exchange would face public hearings under a bill passed by the Senate.

Supporters say the hearings will provide transparency about what exactly the plans cover, and which doctors and hospitals are participating. The move comes in direct response to Anthem’s so-called narrow network exchange plans that leave out 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals.

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Newscast
10:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Dublin Voters Say No To Drive-Thru

Hungry motorists in the Town of Dublin will need to get out of their vehicles for provisions. Residents rejected a proposed ballot measure on Tuesday that would have permitted commercial drive-thrus in certain zoned districts, on a vote of 339-222.

The town’s lone gas station at the intersection of Routes 101 and 137 is seeking to renovate its convenience store, and add a drive-thru window.

Opponents of the plan argued drive-thrus would change the character of the small town, and open the door to more commercial development.

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Health
5:04 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

New Hampshire Surpasses ACA Sign-Up Target

Credit Data: U.S. Health and Human Services

More than 21,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released by the federal government.

In February, 4,715 enrolled in coverage, bringing the total since October above the federal government’s estimate of 19,000 total sign-ups for the state.

Women account for 55% of enrollees, and nearly 3-in-4 residents qualified for some level of financial assistance.

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NH News
5:15 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Does A Drive-Thru Change A Town? Dublin Must Decide

Freeman's hand-painted sign along Rt. 101 has sparked conversation about the future of Dublin.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Nestled at the base of Mount Monadnock, the town of Dublin remains a portrait of New England life. There’s no neon, no chains stores, not even a bank.

So, it was a bit curious when a sign popped up last month proclaiming the arrival of a Taco Bell. Hand-painted on plywood, it stands along Route 101 on the edge of property owned by Andy Freeman. He says it isn’t personal.

“Do I have a problem with Taco Bell? No, I don’t have any problem with Taco Bell at all,” says Freeman.

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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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