Health

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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.

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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.

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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. 

istock photo

After failing to make a decision one way or another last week, a small group of state legislators could weigh in today on whether to give an initial green light to a plan from the New Hampshire Insurance Department meant to help prevent steep rate increases.

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

Dean Kamen brought the world the Segway and helped to transform New Hampshire's Millyard from a hollowed-out manufacturing strip to a growing tech hub. Now, he's setting his sights on making Manchester a hub for a whole new field of medicine.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu said he was “incredibly disappointed” after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act came to a halt late Thursday night in Washington.

elliothospital.org

At the first of two public forums Wednesday night in Manchester, the heads of Elliot and Southern New Hampshire Health Systems took questions on what their proposed partnership would mean for patients, staff and the region's healthcare landscape.

elliothospital.org

The public will have a first chance this week to talk face-to-face with leaders of Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Health System about their plans to create a new regional hospital system.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Lawmakers approved a new rule designed to grant more due process rights to mental health patients who are transferred to the state prison. But as advocates for mental health reform argued these new protections should not have to exist in the first place.

Garrett Vonk

Three years after the state reached a major legal settlement meant to reform its mental health system, both the outside reviewer hired to monitor the state’s progress and the advocacy organization that sued on patients’ behalf say there’s still significant work to be done.

NHPR Staff

University officials say a Dartmouth College student has been diagnosed with mumps.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the case Monday. School officials say the student is being treated and has been isolated on campus.

Dartmouth officials notified students, faculty and staff about the case.

Fever, muscle aches, fatigue and swollen salivary glands are all symptoms of the contagious disease.

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is a mandate for Dartmouth students unless they have a special exemption.

Thomas Fearon

In the last month, the governor signed both a sweeping mental health reform bill and a new state budget that included extra money meant to add more services. But it’s still going to take some time before those new treatment services are ready to go.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

N.H. lawmakers Republican Senator Jeb Bradley and Democratic Representative Cindy Rosenwald have worked long and hard, in bipartisan fashion, on health care issues, including Medicaid expansion -- which is why they've been closely watching the national debate surrounding the U.S. Senate's health care bill.

elliothospital.org

The last few years have seen a wave of consolidations in New Hampshire healthcare. Now, Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Hospital are looking at forming a new “regional healthcare system” — though the details of what, exactly, that partnership might look like are still unclear.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Karen Fischer, of Manchester, was at a loss last year trying to find help for her teenage daughter after a suicide attempt. The local hospital didn’t have a pediatric mental health unit, and insurance wouldn’t approve a stay in the regular pediatric unit. As a result, her daughter was stuck in an emergency room hallway for three days, awaiting treatment.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

At the urging of a New Hampshire family who lost their son to an overdose, Granite Health system is planning a new campaign to encourage people to safely dispose of leftover prescription drugs — its goal, and title, is “Zero Left.”

Since their son, Adam, died from an apparent fentanyl overdose in 2015, Jim and Jeanne Moser of East Kingston have made it their life’s work to educate others about the importance of safely disposing of extra medication.

Hong Seung Hui via Flickr CC

Operators of child care centers are expressing concern over proposed rule changes in how they are licensed by the state.

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to tighten some regulations for childcare workers, including requiring additional professional development and a $50 dollar card that would verify a worker has passed a background check.

Johanna Booth-Miner runs the Live and Learn Early Learning Center in Lee. She says she wants high standards for childcare workers, but she says these regulations will add costs to an already expensive business.

Crotched Mountain Foundation

Crotched Mountain Foundation's board voted Monday to close its longtime specialty hospital in Greenfield, likely by the end of August.

nps.gov

Tick numbers are down in some areas, but experts warn against letting your guard down.

Despite headlines forecasting a bumper year for ticks, UNH Extension Entomologist Alan Eaton says the recent drought in New Hampshire caused tick populations to show only a slight increase.  Speaking on NHPR’s The Exchange, Eaton says that in southeastern counties, such as Merrimack, Strafford, and Rockingham counties, there might even be slightly fewer ticks. 

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