Health

Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire will receive a big influx of federal dollars to treat addiction and mental illness.

The state will get up to $30 million a year for five years total. And for example, this year it would mean about an added 25 percent on top of what the state has budgeted for mental health and addiction.

That's a big gain for the state says Steve Norton, the executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Services.  But the devil's in the details: like how the money will be spent and how any new services will be evaluated.

NHPR

Now that Gov. Hassan nominated Jeffrey Meyers to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the final word on Meyers’s future with DHHS rests with the Executive Council. And given the weight of the job — DHHS is the state’s largest agency, in size and its share of the budget, and arguably the most complex — councilors are expecting a rigorous selection process.

Jack Rodolico

A new University of New Hampshire study suggests practicing football without helmets can lead to less head trauma.

Jack Rodolico

Last Friday, Linda Horan sat in front of a bank of reporters in the back room of a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Maine. She was beaming.

"My god, I’m over the moon – completely over the moon," she said.

The New Hampshire Attorney General is advising the Department of Health and Human Services to start issuing medical marijuana ID cards to eligible patients. In theory, patients could soon access medical marijuana, even though they can't yet buy it legally in the state.

One of the five insurance companies on the federal health exchange in New Hampshire is unexpectedly backing out early this year.

The CEO of Maine-based co-op Community Health Options says costs have simply gotten too high for them to continue. Community Health Options will continue to sell plans for about another week - and it will continue to insure those who have already purchased plans.

NHPR Staff

After being forced by a lawsuit to spend more on mental health, New Hampshire is winning praise from a national advocacy group for increasing funding and passing bills in 2015 aimed at giving people better access to care.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness on Tuesday released a report tracking state spending and legislation on mental health that shows New Hampshire is one of 11 states that increased mental health funding every year since 2013.

Cottage Hospital

The state is asking the federal government for more flexibility in establishing rural health clinics.

If approved by the feds, the policy will broaden what it means to be a rural health clinic in New Hampshire. The state has 14 federally-approved rural health clinics, which are located in areas with high poverty rates and not enough healthcare providers. These clinics receive more generous reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a policy that would increase Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates for qualified rural clinics that have a shortage of doctors.

The policy also would create the potential for more providers to receive federal and state loan repayment for underserved areas and drive patients to primary care instead of hospitals.

It's called a Governor-Designated and Secretary-Certified shortage area.

Casey McDermott

A judge has ruled the state can no longer stop an Alstead woman’s effort to get medical marijuana.

The legislature passed a medical marijuana law three years ago, but state-approved dispensaries are more than a year behind schedule.

Linda Horan was diagnosed with stage four terminal lung cancer this summer. Tuesday’s ruling out of Merrimack Superior Court means the state must issue Horan a registration card immediately, allowing her to access medical marijuana in Maine.

Jack Rodolico

Brady Sullivan Properties is a step closer to defending itself before a jury. Forty tenants are suing the property owner and landlord for lead contamination at Mill West, a luxury riverfront apartment complex in Manchester.

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

A bipartisan commission says New Hampshire lawmakers should consider adding comprehensive dental benefits to the state's Medicaid program for adults.

The commission, which was created last year to analyze barriers to dental care in New Hampshire, released its final report on Monday. It found that the state does well on some measures, such as having the lowest percentage of third-graders with untreated tooth decay, but did worse on others. For example, about a quarter of New Hampshire adults haven't visited a dentist in the last year.

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

A bipartisan commission says New Hampshire lawmakers should consider adding comprehensive dental benefits to the state's Medicaid program for adults. The commission, which was created last year to analyze barriers to dental care in New Hampshire, released its final report on Monday.

healthcare.gov

Healthcare.gov opens for business Sunday. This year there are more insurance plans available on the federal website for New Hampshire residents.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

 A survey shows that New Hampshire ranks 43rd in the country for access to fluoride in public drinking water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only large states like Montana, Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming have lower percentages than New Hampshire.

The survey says less than 390,000 New Hampshire residents — less than half of the 834,000 people on public water systems — have access to fluoridated water.

Six communities have received a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the CDC — Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Laconia, Lebanon and Manchester.

Jack Rodolico

The family of a man who died at Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center is suing the company, which has all but shut down operations in New Hampshire.

The family filed suit against Lakeview and its medical director in Merrimack County Superior Court, claiming neglect and wrongful death, among other things.

 

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rank Vermont sixth best in the nation overall in its adult obesity rate.

The report from the Trust for America's Health ranks New Hampshire as the 15th best in the nation and Maine as 19th best.

Hawaii had the nation's lowest rates at 22.1 percent. Colorado, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and California also had lower rates than Vermont.

Flickr/Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

New Hampshire has confirmed a batch of mosquitos in Manchester tested positive for West Nile Virus.

So far this year, the public health lab has tested over 3,000 batches of mosquitos, 46 people and two animals for various mosquito-borne illnesses. Even though this is the first confirmed instance of West Nile Virus, state epidemiologist Benjamin Chan has a warning.

Jack Rodolico

Manchester is getting a $2.9 million grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to remediate lead hazards in 175 housing units.

While this is the fourth time the Queen City has received the federal grant, the announcement from Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office comes on the heels of a new state law aimed at educating families about lead hazards, and as one of the state's largest landlords faces a lawsuit over lead contamination in a Manchester apartment complex.

At a recent town meeting in Madison, just south of Conway, a tiny room was packed: five zoning board members sat at a table in front of the police chief, frustrated neighbors and attorneys for a company called Becket Family of Services. The mood was tense. This was the third meeting like this one, and the prior two ended in stalemates.

H.A. Kimball

The way New Hampshire cares for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities has changed dramatically over the past 200 years.

The shifts in approach have been urged on by advances in drugs and science, legislative mandate, budget cuts, and the force of media and popular culture.

Just 25 years ago, New Hampshire was a national leader in caring for people with mental and physical disabilities. Today, the state ranks closer to the bottom, and New Hampshire is in the middle of a period of dramatic change.

Jack Rodolico

Shaghaf Mohammed has seen too much in her 11 years. Her family fled Iraq in 2013. And when they left, they never could have guessed the battle they’d face in their new home in Manchester. Shaghaf’s four-year-old sister, Aleel, is sick with lead poisoning.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A new state law aims to boost the number of children screened for lead poisoning. There's good reason New Hampshire is aiming for that goal.

Children aged 0-6 are the most likely to suffer permanent health and cognitive damage from lead exposure. Yet in 2013, New Hampshire tested a mere 16.5 percent of children in this age group for elevated blood lead levels. That's concerning because 62 percent of New Hampshire's houses were built before 1978 - the year the federal government cracked down on lead paint.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

Last year, New Hampshire settled a class action lawsuit that alleged the state was violating the civil rights of people with mental illness. In the settlement, the state agreed to spend $30 million over four years to beef up services for those individuals.

Now, one year into the deal, a report from a court-appointed monitor says the state hasn’t yet hit the benchmarks it agreed to.

Bad news first

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire is struggling to improve its mental health system, as it agreed to in a $30 million dollar lawsuit settlement. 

A court-appointed monitor finds, one year into the settlement, the state is lagging on nearly every benchmark. 

Jack Rodolico

The national death rate from knee replacement surgery is about one in a thousand. But patients are three times more likely to die if they have their knee replaced at a hospital that doesn’t perform that surgery frequently.

Now three leading healthcare systems, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock, are putting restrictions on their surgeons. 

Eric Fleming

One of New Hampshire’s largest landlords, Brady Sullivan Properties, is under scrutiny from city, state and federal regulators for lead contamination in one of its buildings in Manchester. 

Conway Daily Sun/Jamie Gemmiti

Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham is telling employees it plans to close as early as August 1. This comes amid new reports of a sexual assault at the facility.

Flicker/M&R Glasgow

As of July 1, all babies born in New Hampshire will be screened for a rare genetic disorder.

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder, or SCID, is often called “the bubble boy disease.” Trish Tilley with the Department of Health and Human Services explains why.  

"This is when babies just really can’t fight off any infection," says Tilley. "It’s a very rare, inherited disorder."

Liz West via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8DoUxw

More than one-third of New Hampshire children experience one of the most preventable childhood diseases: tooth decay.

Pages