Health

Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Thomas Fearon

The chief medical officer at New Hampshire Hospital is planning to step down at the beginning of 2017, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers announced Monday afternoon.

Jack Rodolico

Just as the school year began, the Manchester School District announced there was lead in the drinking water at some of its schools.

That contamination is now cleaned up. But in the aftermath of Flint, Michigan’s massive drinking water crisis, this small scare in Manchester highlights a concern among New Hampshire’s public health officials: there is no comprehensive lead testing done on drinking water in schools across the state.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is responding to a firestorm of criticism over its announcement to lay off between 270 and 460 employees by the end of this year.

The hospital broke the news just two days after accepting a $35.5 million contract from the state. Some say Dartmouth-Hitchcock should have disclosed the layoffs before accepting the contract. 

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dartmouth-Hitchcock plans to lay off hundreds of employees after a poor financial performance last fiscal year.

In an email sent to Dartmouth-Hitchcock employees, CEO James Weinstein said the company needs to shave $100 million dollars in annual expenses to achieve financial stability. The company finished last fiscal year with a $12 million dollar deficit.

THOMAS FEARON

The Executive Council voted unanimously today to allow Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital to mange care at the state psychiatric hospital for the next three years.

THOMAS FEARON

The Executive Council is slated to vote Wednesday on a contract between the state hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital. The vote comes as an independent investigation gets underway about a former patient's suicide. 

Community Health Options

One of the state's newest health insurance companies, Community Health Options, is pulling out of New Hampshire.

Community Health Options is the exact type of business that was supposed to make the individual insurance market more competitive under the Affordable Care Act. In 2014, the first year it was in operation, Community Health Options dominated the individual market in Maine. In 2015, it expanded into New Hampshire with a federal loan. 

And that's when things got complicated. 

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to accelerate its consideration of competing products to the EpiPen after a big increase in cost for the allergy treatment.

Hassan sent a letter to the FDA on Monday asking it to accelerate its review and work to ensure that safe and affordable generic versions of the treatment are able to come to market "as quickly as possible."

Jack Rodolico

The Environmental Protection Agency is accusing one of New Hampshire’s most prominent real estate developers of breaking two federal lead paint laws. It’s the latest in a string of public health complaints against Brady Sullivan Properties. 

The EPA wants Brady Sullivan Properties to pay close to $140,000 in fines. 

Jack Rodolico

It’s no secret drugs like OxyContin and hydromorphone are highly addictive.

The real question is this: do drug companies downplay how addictive they are while marketing the medicine to doctors?

New Hampshire’s Attorney General Joe Foster suspects false marketing of legal pills has led to abuse of illicit drugs like heroin. That’s why he subpoenaed the nation’s largest manufacturers of prescription painkillers.

  The latest numbers from the New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner show that at least 161 people have fatally overdosed so far in 2016.

Officials are anticipating that those numbers will continue to rise in the months ahead, and the state is projecting at least 494 overdose deaths by the end of the year. 

Thomas Fearon

Despite some controversy over a contract, today Dartmouth-Hitchcock officially takes over operations at New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s only psychiatric hospital.

Dartmouth has come under heavy criticism from some of the outgoing psychiatric staff at New Hampshire Hospital; they say Dartmouth wasn’t willing to have a fair conversation with them about salary and compensation, and they’re skeptical Dartmouth is ready to care for the patients currently at the state hospital.

Health Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers disagrees. He approves of Dartmouth’s bid to run NH Hospital.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is looking for 12 to 15 people to advise the commissioner on access to substance abuse treatment and other behavioral health services through private insurance.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Officials from the state Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Services, along with lawmakers and area residents met in Portsmouth today for the first meeting of a new task force on the investigation of a cancer cluster on the Seacoast.

Jason Moon for NHPR

State health officials held a meeting in Portsmouth Thursday night to discuss the results of over 1500 blood tests from people exposed to contaminated water at the former Pease Air Force base.

THOMAS FEARON

  

The Executive Council has voted 5-0 to allow Dartmouth-Hitchcock to take over managing the state psychiatric hospital in Concord, June 30. But a core group of psychiatrist staff refuse to work with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. 

Thomas Fearon

An ongoing staffing skirmish at New Hampshire Hospital threatens to create a backlog in the state’s already fragile mental health system.

The conflict pits one of New Hampshire's most esteemed medical institutions – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital – against one of the most specialized psychiatric teams.

Residents with private wells near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack filed two class action cases Wednesday against the company. Saint-Gobain is the likely source of water contamination in the area, according to state officials. 

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon

Dartmouth-Hitchcock health care system has been discussing a potential affiliation deal with Elliot Health System, a smaller provider serving southern New Hampshire.

The Valley News reports D-H executive vice president Stephen LeBlanc confirmed that the discussions were underway, but he declined to say what form the affiliation might take. 

Jack Rodolico

The Department of Environmental Services has referred an illegal dumping case involving Brady Sullivan Properties to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office for review. 

In 2013, Brady Sullivan Properties was responsible for moving more than 600 tons of contaminated soil from a Manchester mill yard to a gravel pit in Londonderry.  Groundwater below the dumping site is contaminated with PCE, a chemical linked to cancer.

DENNIS AMITH VIA FLICKR CC

Drinking water from private wells in northern New England may increase the risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute, Dartmouth and the state health departments in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Jack Rodolico

Working on a tip from a confidential source, federal and state regulators investigated how piles of asbestos-laden debris ended up in Lawrence, Mass. outside a building owned by Brady Sullivan Properties, one of New Hampshire’s largest real estate developers.

Jack Rodolico

When Jen Howe woke up on Monday, she wasn’t planning on being back in the surgeon’s office. She’s laid out on a table, and the nurse reminds her to relax, and breathe.

Howe had an abdominal surgery two weeks ago. The incision is just below her waistline. Dr Krzysztof Plociennik is probing two inches into the wound, poking at a hard spot until blood squirts out of the wound.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

The question of whether to continue New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program has been one of the top State House policy debates this year.

But it's something local governments are mulling over as well. In City Halls across the state, officials say the program has led to some significant savings: in the slice of taxpayers’ money set aside for medical and prescription aid, and indirect savings in other areas.

Jack Rodolico

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s investigation into marketing practices by large pharmaceutical companies hit a roadblock this week. The Attorney General wants to know if those companies have been deceptively marketing opioids - drugs that have been diverted in mass quantities to fuel addictions and overdoses. But a court order now slows down that process.

NHHealthCost.org

A state website that helps people compare prices across healthcare facilities relaunched this week with an expanded library of medical procedures and new information on hospital-quality measures.

The new version of NHHealthCost.Org features 31 additional medical procedures, including physical therapy, behavioral health and chiropractic care. Cost estimates for 16 dental procedures are now available, as well as new information on the retail price of 65 brand-name and generic drugs.

Tomas K via Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/6qrVrt

State officials have confirmed the first case of Zika virus in New Hampshire.

A New Hampshire woman got Zika from having sex with a partner who had traveled to a country where the virus is being transmitted by mosquitos. The state says she's now in good health.

Still, officials are reminding people of Zika's potential danger to pregnant women because the virus is feared to cause birth defects.

NH DHHS

A state health official says the state is monitoring after a study found a cluster of cases of a rare form of a pediatric cancer in southeastern New Hampshire.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan says they didn't find any behavioral or environmental risk factors deemed a contributor to the "small excess number of cases."

The report published last month was launched after a child in Rye was diagnosed in early 2014. The study found less than five cases in the area over a decade. That's still higher than average. The study didn't indicate a link.

Imagine a world where people could choose genetic traits like eye color for their children. This science fiction could be fact due to new gene modification technology called CRISPR.

Here to explain this new technology is David Brooks. He’s a reporter for the Concord Monitor and a writer at Granite Geek.org.

So, explain for us briefly, what is CRISPR?

Flickr/Rachel Calamusa

About one in three Granite Staters aren't getting enough sleep. That's according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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