Health

Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

To Expand (Medicaid) Or Not To Expand

Jan 11, 2013

Lawmakers will decide this spring whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program to include childless adults making less than roughly $15,000. To make sure they have all the information they need, the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a study to look at the effects.

We poured over the 61-page report, and boiled it down to these 5 takeaways.

istock photo

A last minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff contained bad news for the future of health co-ops.

The Affordable Care Act set aside $6 billion to be used as loans for new non-profit, customer-owned insurance plans. The idea was that each state would have a health co-op that could compete with traditional insurers, in theory, driving down prices.

Advocates for mental health services say the state’s plan to re-open 12 beds at New Hampshire Hospital doesn’t go far enough to improve care. Representatives from more than a dozen organizations gathered today in Concord, and described a system stretched beyond its limits.

And they want New Hampshire lawmakers to know that no other medical condition gets treated this way.

The Alzheimer's Café: Unforgettable Therapy

Jan 3, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Once a month, it’s a decidedly older demographic meeting here at the Children’s Museum in Dover.

A dozen or so seniors gather inside a brightly painted conference room. There’s coffee, cake and, this month, some live entertainment from 'The Sea Reeds,' a quartet of local clarinetists.

For Rhea Pereira, the music is a chance to sing along with friends. She and her husband John moved here from Florida three years ago, when Rhea began experiencing memory problems. 

Whooping Cough Hits N.H.

Dec 26, 2012
CDC

Pertussis starts like a cold, but after a week or so, it leads to severe coughing fits that can take weeks to shake.  It’s also called ‘whooping cough’ because patients make a high-pitched whoop sound as they suck in air.

There are 222 confirmed cases in the state this year, the highest levels since 2006.

Can Penalties Help Keep Patients Healthy?

Dec 20, 2012
Studio Tempura / Flick/Creative Commons

If you’ve just gotten released from Concord hospital, Carriane Wood may be giving you a call.

“Do you have any questions or anything?” she asks a patient.

“It’s at 9:30 on Thursday.”

Wood is a medical assistant, and she’s working her way through a list of recently discharged patients, calling each one to confirm follow-up appointments, and making sure they understand any new prescriptions.

These phone calls are part of a larger movement at hospitals throughout the state and country to reduce hospital readmissions.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

About 20 years ago, Bob Vecchiotti developed something called foot neuropathy. It’s a neurological condition that left his feet numb. Sometimes they would tingle or burn.

“But then the pain was getting to the point that I was losing concentration and sleep, and I decided we need to do more,” says Vecchiotti. “That’s when my primary care physician, working with a compound pharmacist, was able to come up with something that worked.”

Vecchiotti is a business consultant in Peterborough. He was somewhat skeptical of compounding.

N.H. Ranks Third In Overall Health

Dec 11, 2012

A new report from the Minnesota-based United Health Foundation ranks New Hampshire the third healthiest state in the nation.  That’s down a spot from last year. The report weights a variety of factors, including infant mortality, obesity, high school graduation rate and levels of violent crime.  Vermont ranked first in the nation for the sixth straight year.

Report: State Ranks Last In Anti-Smoking Efforts

Dec 7, 2012
Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report ranks New Hampshire last in the nation when it comes to funding anti-smoking programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual release says that New Hampshire allocated zero state funds for tobacco prevention efforts this fiscal year.

That’s despite the fact that the state collected more than $250 million dollars in tobacco tax revenue combined with the state’s portion of a 1998 settlement agreement.

Telemedicine In New Hampshire Gets Boost

Dec 6, 2012
Mercy Health / Flick/Creative Commons

Let’s say you are one of the 904 or so residents of Warren, New Hampshire. Let’s say you get sick.  Maybe you just started on a new prescription and are having unwanted side effects.

“Today, they have one of two options,” says Shawn Tester, who runs the day-to-day operations at Ammonousuc Community Health Services, which has five primary care clinics in Grafton and Coos County.

“They either do without. Or they have to travel, oh, I don’t know, 45 miles to our Littleton office to receive that consultative service.”

BC Gov Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

State health officials are urging people to get their annual flu vaccination.

Two more people in New Hampshire have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis related to a national outbreak bringing the number affected in the state to 10.

N.H. Hospital In Danger Of Losing Medicare Funding

Oct 19, 2012

Federal inspectors say problems discovered at Exeter Hospital after a hepatitis C outbreak are serious enough to limit the hospital's capacity to provide adequate care.

Obesity is on the rise here in New  Hampshire, a recent study finds that the U.S. population is gaining too much weight. New Hampshire's numbers are also increasing, with about 26% of Granite Staters now considered obese. Its also predicted that by the year 2030, more than half of this state's population will be obese. Today we'll look at this study and see what can be done to tip the scales in the opposite direction.

Guests

Four People In N.H. Test Positive For Fungal Meningitis

Oct 13, 2012

Public health officials say four people in New Hampshire have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis.

Sam Evans-Brown

A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

No patients in New Hampshire have tested positive for fungal meningitis as the national outbreak continues to grow.

N.H. Contacting 186 Patients About Meningitis Cases

Oct 4, 2012

Health officials in Northern New England have not reported any cases in a growing outbreak of a rare form of meningitis that's affected at least six states.

Powerplantop via Flickr Creative Commons

Since spring of this year, our Shifting the Balance series has explored how environmental and social factors affect the way people eat…and how those factors play in to America’s obesity epidemic.  A recently published study in Pyschology reports demonstrates how setting the right mood at meal time can help diners cap their calories. 

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/8499561@N02/2755481069/">Zaldymlg</a> / flickr

The first New Hampshire Health Department clinic to test people for hepatitis C related to an outbreak at Exeter Hospital is opening as a new report cites the hospital for violations, saying it failed to properly maintain supervision over narcotics.

Jonathan Lynch

Dartmouth-Hitchcock will become a member of Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic Care Network in a deal announced Friday.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Reporters love to write in a kind of shorthand. And when it comes to Medicaid, the preferred shortcut is, 'the health care program for the poor.'

EBT Friendly Farmer's Markets

Jul 25, 2012
Photo Credit Ianmalcm, Via Flickr Creative Commons

At New Hampshire’s eighty or so farmer’s markets, you can choose from organic produce, local honey and freshly baked breads.

FAQ: New Hampshire Looks At Expanding Medicaid

Jul 24, 2012
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucid_nightmare/65310065/">Lucid Nightmare</a> / Flickr

Q. What does the state have to decide in terms of Medicaid expansion?

A. The Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act gives states the choice to either maintain their current Medicaid program or extend it to more low-income residents. In states that choose to expand, adults who bring home less than $15,000 a year and a family of four who earns less than $30,000 a year will qualify. In New Hampshire, expansion would add about 56,000 people to the state's rolls, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

N.H. Begins To Wrestle With Medicaid Expansion

Jul 24, 2012
Sara Plourde / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers will meet Wednesday to begin discussing how the state should move forward under the nation’s health care law.  One of the big questions for the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee is whether New Hampshire should expand its Medicaid program.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act gives states the option to extend Medicaid to more low-income residents. Under the new law, beginning in 2014, an adult who brings home less than $15,000 a year and a family of four with income under about $30,000 will qualify.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos/7432022562/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Mark Fischer</a> / Flickr

Updated at 10:41 a.m. The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act. NHPR continues to bring you coverage throughout the day, and reports tonight on All Things Considered.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule today in the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today is the last day of the Court's current term, and the ruling is expected to be released not long after 10 a.m. 

NHPR will bring you coverage through the day and the days ahead of what this highly-anticipated decision will mean.

While the future of the Affordable Care Act is unclear, some of the changes may be here to stay. President of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Jim Weinstein is focusing on the improvement of patient care over providing more care. NHPR's Dan Gorenstein reporting for Marketplace has more.

Getting Sour on Sugar

Jun 5, 2012

This most ubiquitous and irresistible of foods has also been called addictive and toxic and has been linked with obesity, diabetes, and, recently, memory loss. Some are calling for regulating sugar  as if it were tobacco. But others say it is intrinsic to our very survival as a species, found even in breast milk and that demonizing or shunning sugar is the wrong course. 

Guests

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39794839@N03/5086437626/">HealthHomeHappy.com</a> / Flickr

Although Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) undergo virtually the same training as medical doctors, their services have hitherto not been covered by insurance companies in the state of New Hampshire. Two and a half years ago ND Bert Mathieson, frustrated by what struck him as “discrimination flat out,” got a sponsor for a bill that would change N.H. law. HB351 would require insurers in the state to reimburse naturopathic doctors, who emphasize illness prevention and lifestyle guidance rather than pharmaceutical or surgical procedures in their practice.

The Supreme Court will rule in the coming weeks on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the health care law that has been a flashpoint of partisan acrimony and debate since its beginning.

Much of that debate has been philosophical. But now that the law is under review by the country's highest court, politicians have to plan for the real implications of the court's decision. That's proving particularly difficult for congressional Republicans.

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