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
4:00 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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Health
2:58 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Lawmaker Seeks To Expand Anthem's Narrow Network

Credit via WUKY

As the only company participating in New Hampshire's insurance exchange, Anthem is facing additional scrutiny for its decision to exclude 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from the plans it’s selling under so-called Obamacare. 

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Health
5:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Six Months After Attack, A Family Works To Recover

Donald and Amy Wyman, with two of their five children.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The state’s mental health system has been under tremendous strain in recent years. Cuts to services in the community, combined with dwindling in-patient beds, mean patients in crisis end up waiting days for treatment--sometimes longer-- inside ill-equipped emergency rooms.

Last summer, two violent attacks inside Manchester’s Elliot Hospital ER brought to light just how unstable the situation has become. 

Donald Wyman was one of the victims of those assaults. He worked as a nursing assistant, but six months later, he’s still working toward recovery.

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Health
2:28 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Marijuana Use Among N.H. Teens Above National Average

New Hampshire teens use marijuana at one of the highest rates in the country, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

It finds that one in ten minors between the ages of 12 and 17 say they’ve smoked marijuana in the past 30 days. That’s the 9th highest rate in the country, and a full two-percentage points above the U.S. average. The figures are based on a 2012 national survey.

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Health
6:12 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

N.H. Veterans Face Stigma Over Mental Health Treatment

Major General Bill Reddel of the N.H. National Guard
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire veterans face stigma and a complicated health system when seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The findings come from a Commission created by the state legislature to investigate barriers to care and treatment of PTSD and TBI for the state’s 115,000 veterans.

The Commission, which is composed of military and civilian leaders, surveyed 1,100 vets. Thirty percent responded they weren’t getting the help they needed because of stigma over their mental health needs.

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Health
4:56 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Anthem Gives Customers More Time To Pay First Bill

Customers who bought health insurance in the new exchange are getting more time to pay their first month’s bill. Anthem Blue Cross says New Hampshire consumers who signed up before the deadline for coverage starting January 1st now have until the end of the month to pay their first month’s premium. The deadline was originally today.

Last week the company’s president acknowledged that many new customers still hadn’t received their insurance ID cards and that a help line was overwhelmed with calls.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Rare Beethoven Manuscript Goes Up For Auction In N.H.

A sketchleaf for the Missa Solemnis opens up Beethoven's creative process.
Credit RR Auction

If you’d like to hold a piece of Beethoven’s musical history, you’ll need to act fast.

RR Auction in Amherst, New Hampshire, which specializes in rare autographs, closes bidding Wednesday evening on a manuscript dating back to 1820. The single page contains ink and pencil marks made by Beethoven as he composed one his last major works, the rarely-performed religious piece Missa Solemnis.

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Health
4:16 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

N.H. Enrollment In ACA Marketplace Plans Tops 11,000

Credit Data: U.S. Health and Human Services

After a slow start, December saw a surge in the number of New Hampshire residents shopping for health insurance on the new exchange. The federal government reports nearly 10,000 consumers in the state selected a plan between Dec. 1 and Dec. 28.

In total, about 11,500 people selected a plan during the first three months of open enrollment, which runs through March 31. 

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Health
5:57 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

New Session, New Medicaid Expansion Debate In Concord

Credit Sean Marshall via Flickr CC

Lawmakers returned to Concord Wednesday, and House Democrats wasted no time passing a bill to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

Their latest Medicaid plan, which was tacked onto a different bill they’d planned to kill, would send some newly eligible recipients into the exchange for coverage, but not until 2017.  

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Health
3:16 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Democrats Continue Push For Quick Action On Medicaid Expansion

The past few weeks served as a cooling off period after last November’s special legislative session failed to produce a deal on Medicaid expansion between the Democratically-held House and GOP-controlled Senate. 

The debate will roar back to life on Wednesday, though, when Democrats in the House say they’ll tack an expansion plan onto an unrelated bill.

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Health
4:09 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Teens Having Harder Time Buying Tobacco

Credit Justin Shearer / Flickr Creative Commons

 Illegal sales of tobacco to minors in New Hampshire dipped in 2013, as more retailers in the state refused underage customers.

The Department of Health and Human Services, along with Division of Liquor staff members, sent underage buyers into more than 300 retailers around the state. Roughly 89% of vendors turned away sales, up two percent from 2012.

State public health director Jose Montero says convenience store clerks aren’t the only ones who can protect children.

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Health
5:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Proposed Bill Seeks To Keep More Medical Decisions Out Of The Courts

New Hampshire could soon have a new system for determining who gets to make medical decisions on behalf of patients who lack the ability to do it themselves.

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Peggy Gilmour, are pushing a bill that creates what’s called a surrogate decision-maker system.

“I think people assume that, for instance, I could speak for my husband,” says Gilmour. “Or, one of my children could speak for me. But that’s just not the case.”

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Health
5:00 am
Tue December 24, 2013

New Website Wants To Tackle Your Health Law Questions

New Hampshire consumers looking for information about the health law can now turn to a local website.

CoveringNewHampshire.org bills itself as the gateway for the health insurance marketplace. Browsers can learn about the law, use an online calculator to see if they qualify for tax credits, and window-shop the 11 different insurance plans Anthem is offering through the Affordable Care Act.

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