Health

Health
3:08 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

House Votes To Dismantle Certificate Of Need Board

The Certificate of Need Board approves new hospitals and expansions of existing medical centers in the state. Wednesday the house voted 166-140 to get rid of the board entirely. The House rejected an amendment which would have overhauled the existing board and phase it out over five years. The idea was to reconfigure the board with non-stakeholders, such as not allowing hospital representatives to serve.

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The Salt
5:15 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Death By Bacon? Study Finds Eating Meat Is Risky

This would be considered a "once in a while" food.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:14 pm

Bacon has been called the gateway meat, luring vegetarians back to meat. And hot dogs are a staple at many a backyard BBQ.

But a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that daily consumption of red meat — particularly processed meat — may be riskier than carnivores realize.

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Health
5:22 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits New Hampshire

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Penacook Community Center
Josh Rogers, NHPR

First Lady Michelle Obama brought her "Let's Move!'' health and fitness initiative to New Hampshire on Friday.

Mrs. Obama visited the Penacook Community Center, a neighborhood nonprofit group in Concord.

It has a child care center that helps children exercise before and after school and teaches them about healthy eating through the use of a garden.     

Mrs. Obama was joined by New Hampshire First Lady Susan Lynch, a pediatrician who has worked to increase awareness about childhood obesity.

Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Their Health Care Investments

Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
Frank Perry AFP/Getty Images

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

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Health
4:13 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

House Votes Against State Run Health Insurance Exchange

A bill which prevents the state from creating its own exchange passed overwhelmingly in the house on Thursday

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Shots - Health Blog
6:10 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Deaths From Dangerous Gut Bacteria Hit Historic Highs

The C. difficile bacteria causes infections that kill about 14,000 Americans each year, the CDC reports.
CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 7:19 pm

Federal health officials Tuesday called on hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and doctors' offices to work harder to fight the spread of a dangerous bacterial infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and other complications.

While other health-care related infections have been decreasing in recent years, cases of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, continue rising, according to Clifford McDonald of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Health
5:29 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Proposed Bill Would Eliminate Insurance Mandate for Midwifery Service

Birth Cottage in Milford
Sheryl Rich-Kern

Out-of-hospital births in New Hampshire are on the rise, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.

That increase is in large part, because of a 2008 law that requires health insurers to pay for midwives who work in homes or at birthing centers.

But a new bill before lawmakers proposes repealing that mandate.

And midwives are worried what that means for their livelihoods.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:27 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Health Centers At Schools Get A Funding Boost

April Casanova-Rios (second from right) visits the school health center at Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles with her family. Her son, Isaiah Casanova (to her right), is a sophomore at the school.
Kelley Weiss NPR

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 7:19 pm

Under the federal health care law, money is going out around the country to help school campuses boost health services for their students.

At Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles students often visit a modest trailer at the back of the sprawling campus. It's in a neighborhood near downtown L.A. where houses are missing windows and have peeling paint.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:44 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other

Ryan Shank-Rowe, 9, takes part in a therapeutic riding program at Little Full Cry Farm in Clifton, Va., last month.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 10:51 am

Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier.

That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions.

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Health
2:04 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Medicaid Grant Money To Help Home Based Services

New Hampshire will be the first state in the country to receive new Medicaid grant money to help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes.

The state will receive $26.5 million over three years through the Affordable Care Act.

The goal is to help states shift from institutional care to home and community-based services.

In 2009, 41 percent of New Hampshire’s Medicaid money was spent on community-based services.

That will increase to 47 percent in 2013 with the new grant money. 

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Shots - Health Blog
1:04 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Majorities In Senate And Public Support Birth Control Coverage

Suitable for health insurance coverage?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 6:10 pm

The Senate has turned back an attempt to kill President Obama's new rules requiring most health insurance plans to provide contraceptives without additional cost.

The 51-48 vote against an amendment to an unrelated highway bill (Yes, that's just how the Senate works) was mostly along party lines.

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Health
4:48 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Dartmouth Study Says Alcohol in Movies Compels Teens to Drink

A new study from researchers at Dartmouth Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center found that the more movies teenagers watch with images of alcohol, the more likely teens will start drinking. The study also found that an increase in movie watching was a major risk factor for teens who already drink to start binge drinking.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Study Suggests Way To Create New Eggs In Women

Alvaro Heinzen iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:15 pm

For decades, scientists have thought that one of the big differences between men and women is that men can make children all their lives because men never stop making sperm. But scientific dogma said women aren't so lucky when it comes to their eggs.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 27, 2012

New Methods Could Speed Up Repair Of Injured Nerves

Pinwheels like these are often used to test nerve responses.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 11:07 am

When a nerve is injured, it's often hard to get it to regrow fast enough to restore function.

But now researchers say they can speed up that process, so that damaged nerves can be healed in days instead of months — at least in rats.

The scientists say they've developed a technique that reconnects the severed ends of a nerve, allowing it to begin carrying messages again very quickly. Usually, severed nerves must regrow from the point of injury — a process that can take months, if it ever happens.

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Shifting The Balance
10:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Obesity Infographics

Sources: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services. Obesity Prevention Program. New Hampshire Obesity Data Book 2010
Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR
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Shifting The Balance
10:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

New Hampshire Obesity Statistics By County

Click on the individual counties for statistics.

Shifting The Balance
12:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Online Tools Helping You Track Weight Loss Success

Losing weight can be a struggle; having a support system can go a long way toward helping you overcome hurdles and succeed at it. A number of weight loss web tools have sprung up in recent years to help you track your progress and find encouragement from others, so you can still find support – even if you can’t find a gym partner.

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Shifting The Balance
12:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

What To Eat And Why: Online Guides Helping You Eat Healthy

Credit The Healthy Eating Plate created by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are a number of guides available online that do the simplifying for you.

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cancer
5:15 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Specialty Hospitals Get A Favorable Vote

The House Health and Human Services Committee has sent an amended bill allowing not just Cancer Specialty Hospitals but all specialty hospitals to bypass the Certificate of Need process. All other hospitals in the state must go in front of the CON board to gain approval for new or expanded services.

Rep. Lynn Blakenbeker, Republican of Concord, voted in favor of the bill.

"We as a state should be encouraging businesses all kinds to come into the state especially when it comes to specialty healthcare treatment we should be offering all options," she says.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:53 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Diet Drug Qnexa Gets Thumbs-Up From FDA Panel

A new weight-loss pill could be coming to the menu.
Luis Pedrosa iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 7:29 pm

A key federal panel Wednesday recommended the Food and Drug Administration approve the first new weight-loss drug in more than a decade.

At the conclusion of a day-long hearing, the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 20-2 to endorse a request from Vivus to approve the drug Qnexa. The same panel gave a thumbs-down to Qnexa in 2010.

Qnexa is a combination of two generic drugs that are already on the market:

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Shots - Health Blog
5:19 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

The Big Squeeze: Calif. Weight Loss Clinics Under Investigation

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 6:24 pm

A group of weight-loss clinics in Southern California is under fire for an aggressive advertising campaign and the death of five patients.

The 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign and its affiliated surgical centers are being investigated by local, state and federal agencies, including Congress.

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Health
2:42 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

A Federal vs State Health Insurance Exchange-Does It Matter?

Health Care Costs
Photo:401Kcalculator.org Flickr

As part of the  Affordable Care Act, every state must have a health insurance exchange in place by January 2014. An exchange is a clearinghouse of sorts where people and small business can go to buy insurance and also find out which tax rebates they may use to help them buy coverage.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Does Tylenol Worsen Asthma For Kids?

Dr. John McBride examines 9-month-old Martez after his mother, Ceasha Moorer, brought him in to check on his asthma.
Courtesy of Karen Schaefer

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:50 pm

Parents and doctors around the world have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in childhood asthma.

One factor in the upswing is better detection by doctors, but at least one doctor thinks a common over-the-counter drug also has something to do with it.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Wanted: Specially Designed Tools For Pediatric Surgery

Surgeons often need specially designed tools to operate on small children.
istockphoto.com

One tool doesn't fit all when it comes to surgery.

Pediatric surgeons know this all too well when it's time to operate on a baby. Some infants are born prematurely. Others have congenital defects — some part of their internal anatomy that just didn't develop the way it was supposed to.

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Health
3:58 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

What's The Cure In The Race Against Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer survivors stand to form the shape of a pink ribbon at a Susan G. Komen Foundation charity race in Tyler, Texas, in 2004.
Tom Worner AP

Tracy Grant was just 39 when she got the diagnosis.

"They asked me to stay a little bit longer because they saw something a little weird," she remembers. "In my mind I was saying, ... 'Here we go, this doesn't look good.' "

It was breast cancer. As devastating as the news was, it wasn't a surprise. Her mother, Catherine Grant, was diagnosed at age 51.

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Health
4:10 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Certificate Of Need--Is It Still Needed?

Auntie P flickr

New Hampshire lawmakers are proposing a law that would do away with the Certificate of Need process. This is a state requirement for hospitals and other healthcare facilities that want to expand or establish new medical facilities. The aim of CON is to keep redundant healthcare out of the system.

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Health
4:21 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

For Profit Cancer Center Comes To NH to Make Its Case to Lawmakers

Cancer Treatment Centers of America is eyeing a spot in New Hampshire. The for profit chain wants to build a hospital in the Northeast. CTCA successfully lobbied Georgia to change its regulations so a specialty hospital could be built in that state. The company is hoping lawmakers in New Hampshire will make similar changes. A proposed law would exempt specialty cancer hospitals from certain regulations and also from Medicaid taxes.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
11:09 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Eat Less, Give More

Photo by wanpark2, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

How many times have you ordered an entrée at a restaurant only to end up with a pile of food on your plate you then feel obligated to take home in a doggie bag? Overly large portions must have some appeal for restaurant goers…after all, some chains rely marketing campaigns that talk about little else…

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Health
6:12 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Does New Hampshire Need Specialty Cancer Centers?

Miss A Liss Flickr

Lawmakers are now considering whether to give exemptions to for-profit cancer centers so they can do business in the state. Under current regulations these cancer centers are likely  to be deemed redundant. But a new bill would allow them to avoid what is known as a Certificate of Need--to which all other hospitals must comply. These centers would also be exempt from Medicaid taxes.

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Bone marrow settlement
6:02 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

State Wraps Up Bone Marrow Investigation: Slams UMASS Memorial

Taking a cell sample at a bone marrow donor drive.
Flickr Creative Commons

A little over a year ago, a Massachusetts bone marrow registry made headlines for hiring models in blue wigs and black skirts to attract prospective donors.  To make matters worse,  the registry was part of a scheme to charge insurance companies extremely high fees for lab tests.

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