Health

Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

The U.S. senators from New Hampshire and West Virginia have introduced a bill to prioritize federal funding for states that have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

It would require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to take into account mortality rates and lack of access to treatment and services when allocating grants to states, rather than making determinations based on population size.

KOMUNews | Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/aDWgGW

Anthem is planning to get tougher about covering ER visits for ailments that could be treated outside of an emergency room.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

A committee of lawmakers, health and insurance officials studying the future of New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend moving the program toward a managed care model in 2019 and beyond.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

The Executive Council approved contracts Wednesday with 10 separate reproductive health providers and community health centers across the state.

istock photo

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began on Wednesday, but consumers are more confused than ever given the uncertainty over healthcare policy in Washington this past year.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department will host its annual public hearing on health insurance premiums and medical care cost drivers Friday at the UNH School of Law in Concord.

New Hampshire's Democratic U.S. senators are reminding residents that open enrollment starts Wednesday under the Affordable Care Act, and that they object to the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle the health care law.

Residents of a Vermont nursing home are looking for new places to live after learning the facility is closing at the end of November.

The Valley News reports that Brookside Health and Rehabilitation Center in White River Junction notified residents Wednesday, five days after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would end payments for patient care at the 67-bed facility.

torbakhopper on Flickr

New Hampshire’s Medicaid program will no longer ban insurance coverage for sex reassignment surgery.

Until now, New Hampshire's Medicaid program explicitly blocked such coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services asked lawmakers for permission to take out the language, citing anti-discrimination mandates within the Affordable Care Act. 

pixabay.com

Cancer has traditionally been treated with some combination of radiation and chemotherapy. But these treatments, which often cause pain and take a great deal of time to complete, don't necessarily increase the quality of a patient's remaining years.

But new treatments are emerging that approach cancer in different ways, and Granite Geek David Brooks is here to discuss them.

Listen to the conversation:

Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

At least for now, New Hampshire seems to be in a better position than other states to weather a lapse in federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, after Congress failed to reauthorize it by last week’s deadline.

NAMI New Hampshire, via Facebook

Just three days ago, New Hampshire set a grim record: 74 adults and kids stuck waiting in ERs across the state because there wasn’t a place for them to get mental health treatment. That’s the highest number since advocates started tracking.

New Hampshire officials are welcoming an expansion to a substance use disorder treatment center in the northern part of the state.

The Friendship House facility in Bethlehem provides housing, treatment and support services for people suffering from an addiction. Federal, state and local officials are gathering at the site Friday.

There also are Friendship House outpatient satellite sites in Berlin, Colebrook, North Conway, Tamworth and Woodsville.

New Hampshire has one of the highest drug overdose rates nationally.

An analyst hired by the state to study trends in its insurance markets told lawmakers on Wednesday that people who receive subsidies to help pay for coverage on the individual market are likely to pay about the same — maybe even less — for coverage next year, on average. But people who don’t receive subsidies could see an average increase of 52 percent.

Repetitive hits, which do not cause concussion symptoms, may be causing long term harm in athletes who participate in contact sports up to the age of 12, according to a new study from Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

New Hampshire lawmakers are getting more information about their options as they consider the fate of the state's expanded Medicaid program.

Medicaid expansion, made possible through President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, subsidizes health care for low-income people. Federal officials recently expressed concern that the state may be out of compliance with federal rules because it relied on voluntary contributions from insurance companies and hospitals to cover some of the state's costs to put people on private insurance.

Centers for Disease Control

Over the last week, state health officials have detected West Nile Virus in mosquito samples from Brentwood, Madbury, and Rye.

Sarah MacGregor, president of Dragon Mosquito Control says in response her crews have sprayed for mosquitoes near schools and in public parks in Rye. Her company is working with the other towns as well.

“The past three weeks we’ve seen an increase in the mosquito population, particularly in the Seacoast – which, we’d want to see mosquitoes waning this time of year.”

School districts, municipalities and other community groups across New Hampshire are in line to receive a boost of federal funding for programs related to fighting the opioid crisis. 

In all, local groups are slated to collectively receive more than $2 million, most of it coming from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 

Thomas Fearon

The Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services is preparing for a new role: CEO of New Hampshire Hospital. But it won’t be Shibinette’s first time working there.

One of her first jobs out of nursing school was as a charge nurse and relief shift supervisor, working primarily with geriatric patients at Thayer Building, part of the hospital campus.

At least 226 people have died from drug overdoses in New Hampshire so far this year. That number is likely to grow, with at least 100 more likely drug deaths still awaiting review by the state medical examiner.

Echoing a pattern we've seen for the last few years, fentanyl is responsible for most of the deaths seen so far in 2017 — almost three-quarters, to be exact.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Community health centers in New Hampshire — and nationwide – are bracing for the possible loss of millions of dollars in federal funding if Congress doesn’t take action by the end of this month.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a quick trip to New Hampshire Thursday afternoon to announce $200 million in federal grants targeting community health centers, to increase access to mental health and opioid abuse services.

istock photo

A new report commissioned by the New Hampshire Insurance Department shows that the people covered by New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program are younger — but also more expensive — than expected. That’s raising new questions for lawmakers to consider as they grapple with how the program should continue beyond its current expiration date at the end of 2018.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Earlier this year, the legislature passed a package of reforms meant to expand access to mental health treatment. New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services is having mixed success soliciting vendors to oversee those changes — they’ve received multiple proposals for some projects but none for others.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers said he made multiple attempts throughout 2016 to clarify whether the federal government approved of New Hampshire’s use of provider donations to fund its current Medicaid expansion plan — but the agency never gave him a definitive "yes" or "no" answer last year.

James Jordan / Flickr CC

A person in Hanover has tested positive for a rare mosquito-borne illness called the Jamestown Canyon Virus, but health officials are stressing this is a sign to take precautions against arboviral illnesses of all kinds.

istock photo

It's looking like New Hampshire customers buying individual plans on the state's health insurance exchange will have their choice of three carriers next year: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter. 

Garrett Vonk

New Hampshire has a long history of coming up with solutions to fund its Medicaid program that — depending on how you look at it — are either creative or a little crooked. The most recent example can be seen in the plan lawmakers came up with to fund the state’s share of Medicaid expansion for the last two years.

Federal officials have warned New Hampshire that the funding structure underlying the state’s Medicaid expansion plan might be invalid — and they’re giving state officials until the end of next year to fix it, or risk losing future federal funding for the program. 

jamiesrabbits on Flickr / http://bit.ly/2vLTghb

New Hampshire's Attorney General made waves earlier this week when it brought its first lawsuit against a pharmaceutical giant, Purdue, over its alleged role in the state’s opioid crisis. But this is just the latest in a decades-long trend of states taking big industries to court.

istock photo

Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny says he can’t remember another time when trying to map out New Hampshire insurance markets was quite as tricky as it is today.

“This kind of uncertainty is unprecedented,” Sevigny said Tuesday, when asked to put this year’s marketplace planning into context. 

Pages