Health

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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. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The sun is out—but ticks are too. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is reminding people to take precautions against getting bitten. 

The tiny parasites can be as small as a poppy seed and they like to hang out in tall grass or loose brush. “Ticks are out and biting," says state epidemiologist Benjamin Chan. "In fact, we tend to see tick bites start to go up in April and become more prominent in May, so now is a high-risk time where people can get bitten."

Thomas Fearon

Every day, an email goes out to leaders in New Hampshire’s mental health system. It gives an updated count on the number of people in immediate need of inpatient psychiatric care, but are being denied that care because of a shortage of beds in New Hampshire hospitals.

On February 20th of this year, that email contained a staggering number: 68 adults and children were being housed in hospital emergency rooms and hallways because of a lack of available beds. It was a new high.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A new drug that’s 10,000 times stronger than morphine has hit the streets of New Hampshire. And that’s leaving many first responders scrambling to figure out how to deal with and treat this deadly substance.

Jack Rodolico

The head of the state's food stamp program gave testimony Wednesday that rebutted supporters of a bill that aims to reduce eligibility for the program. 

After more than 1,600 drug-overdose deaths over the last five years, Timothy Rourke, longtime advocate for expanded treatment and recovery services, says the state may be reaching a turning point.  Maybe.

Jack Rodolico

Hannah Berkowitz is 20 years old and when she was a senior in high school her life flew off the rails. 

She was abusing drugs. She was suicidal. Berkowitz moved into a therapeutic boarding school to get sober. But she could only stay sober while she was on campus during the week.

Former N.H. Chief Justice Joins Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Mar 30, 2017
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court has been hired to work for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Former Chief Justice John Broderick will start next week as Senior Director for Public Affairs. Dartmouth-Hitchcock says Broderick will advocate on behalf of the hospital to policymakers and business and community leaders in the region. 

Jack Rodolico

Gordon MacDonald is a step closer to becoming New Hampshire’s next Attorney General. On Tuesday, he met with the Executive Council to discuss his nomination by Governor Chris Sununu.

MacDonald is an experienced lawyer. Some of his highest profile cases have been battling the State of New Hampshire - and the very office he now seeks to lead.  

Brian Wallstin

A New Hampshire physician's assistant was arrested Friday by federal agents on allegations he received kickbacks for prescribing large amounts of an opioid painkiller. According to officials, Clough was the state's top prescriber of a fentanyl spray called Subsys.

Related story on Clough: Opioid Prescriber's Story a Cautionary Tale as N.H. Face Growing Crisis

Nixon Peabody

Gov. Chris Sununu has nominated Gordon MacDonald, a well-known Manchester attorney, to serve as Attorney General. MacDonald's clients include a major opioid maker being investigated by the state.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Portsmouth Regional Hospital will open more beds to psychiatric patients. The hospital hopes those beds will alleviate a backlog of patients boarded in emergency rooms.

On one day last month, a record 68 patients in acute mental health crises were stuck in emergency rooms around the state, waiting for a bed at New Hampshire Hospital, the state's lone psychiatric hospital. Now Portsmouth Regional will increase its inpatient psychiatric beds from eight to twelve in the hopes of chipping away at that wait time. 

AARP Takes Stand Against GOP Healthcare Overhaul

Mar 10, 2017

AARP is taking a stand against the proposed healthcare overhall making its way through the House of Representatives.

AARP claims 233,000 members in New Hampshire, and the group says it basically doesn't like anything about the bill proposed by Congressional Republicans. On a conference all with reporters Thursday, AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner said the bill would downshift the cost of healthcare to families and state government.

New Hampshire Public Radio

Not too long ago, New Hampshire was faulted for casting too wide a net when it came to institutionalizing people with mental illness.  That led to a lawsuit and a $30 million settlement, with the state agreeing to boost community-based care.

Now, though, according to Ken Norton, executive director of the NH chapter of the Alliance on Mental Illness, the state has swung too far in the other direction, with inadequate access to institutionalized care:

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Hospital Association has won a court case against the federal government. It could mean more public money going to hospitals to cover the cost of providing uncompensated care.

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