Health

Health
2:35 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Public Health Advocates Say State Can't Grow Complacent

The HEAL NH event featured pastry, but also plenty of fruit.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

 Earlier today, public health advocates gathered inside the State House cafeteria--as good a place as any--to update lawmakers on initiatives aimed at combating obesity.

Healthy Eating Active Living, or HEAL NH, organized the forum. Community projects set up displays touting successes like playground gardens and improved sidewalks.

New Hampshire consistently ranks as one of the healthiest state in the nation, but Jeanie Holt with the NH Public Health Association says more investment is necessary.

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Health
1:28 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Kindergarteners Learn ABCs, Adjust To MS

Pam Sumner calls living and teaching with MS her 'new normal'.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Pam Sumner, blonde with a quick smile, was diagnosed ten years ago with multiple sclerosis. She’s reliant on a cane and easily fatigued. 

The 46-years old sends her husband to the grocery store, and when her son toured military colleges last spring, she found herself falling behind the group of parents and teenagers. But inside her kindergarten classroom at Rindge Memorial School, Sumner has no trouble keeping up with the 5 and 6 year olds.  

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Health
4:06 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Commission Pushes For Money To Combat Alcohol And Drug Abuse

Attorney General Michael Delaney, surrounded by members of the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

New Hampshire consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in the nation. But advocates say that masks an alarming rate of substance abuse, specifically among young adults.

And so, the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is launching a new campaign to highlight the need for more resources.

Specifically, they want to see a greater percent of sales from state-owned liquor stores be allocated for counseling services.

For the past decade, lawmakers have instead used those funds to help balance the budget.

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Health
5:44 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Hepatitis C Outbreak Prompts Legislation

State lawmakers are working on a measure to create a Registry Board for Medical Technicians. The action comes in the wake of last summer’s outbreak of Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital that left 32 patients infected.

David Kwiatkowski, a traveling medical technician, allegedly injected himself with painkillers before reusing syringes on patients, transmitting the Hepatitis C virus.

Representative Tim Copeland is proposing a bill to create an oversight board for all med techs in the state.

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Health
12:19 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Mental Health Math Doesn't Add Up For Hospitals

Louis Josephson inside a safe-room at Concord Hospital.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

In the 1950s, the state psychiatric hospital in Concord was home to about 2,500 adults. The manicured campus had it all, including a golf course, barber shop, skating rink.

“For some folks, they talk about those days like some of us talk about going to college," says Ken Norton, Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Hampshire (NAMI-NH).

“There was bowling and movie theaters and different events at night. They had their friends there and they were very used to the way that the hospital functioned.”

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Health
4:59 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

New Hampshire (Again) Mulls Creation of 'Dental Practitioners'

Credit Green MPs / Flick/Creative Commons

The new practitioners would be something between a dentist and hygienist. They’d be certified to clean, do fillings, pull baby teeth and a host of other procedures.

Hygienists would need an extra year of training, and the supervision of a dentist to practice.

Some advocates say the new role is necessary to expand care to rural and poorer populations.

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Health
4:55 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

State To Move Forward With Partnership Health Exchange

Update: Wednesday, February 13, 2013:

Rather than wait until the Friday deadline, Governor Hassan sent a letter today to the Federal government declaring the state's intent to enter into a partnership exchange. 

In a statement, the Governor said, "I do not believe it is in the best interest of our people to allow the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all exchange on New Hampshire."

___________________

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Health
3:44 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Governor Says Health Exchange Decision Rests With Her

The Governor today affirmed that it’s her office that gets to make the final call regarding the type of health insurance exchange New Hampshire operates.

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Health
5:48 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Public Has Its Say On Medicaid Expansion Bill

Rep. Bill O'Brien speaks to a legislative committee about Medicaid expansion.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

    

New Hampshire’s Medicaid program currently insures poor children, the disabled and low income pregnant women.

But after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the state must decide if it wants to expand the program to adults that earn less than $15,000 a year: roughly 58,000 people in New Hampshire.

According to Representative Bill O’Brien, the state just can’t afford to cover those extra people.

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Health
5:07 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

N.H. Health Exchange Remains In Limbo

With a February 15th deadline looming, a group of lawmakers met today to discuss the direction of the state’s health insurance exchange. But the committee meeting produced more questions than answers.

The state needs to decide, and soon, if it will partner with the Federal government to run a new insurance exchange. For his part, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny told a legislative oversight committee that he supports the partnership option.

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Health
5:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

The Battle Against 'Chemical Restraints' Inside Nursing Homes

Dr. Sandeep Sobti is working to lower the reliance on antipsychotic medications in New Hampshire nursing homes.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Nursing homes around the country are under pressure from the Federal government to reduce their use of antipsychotics. 

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Health
1:41 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Study: Excessive Alcohol Consumption Is Costing N.H. $1.15 Billion A Year

Credit J. Ronald Lee / Flickr Creative Commons

 

  A study finds excessive alcohol consumption is costing the state just over $1.1 billion annually due to factors such as lost worker productivity and medical costs.

The statewide nonprofit advocacy group New Futures put together the study, which also contains several policy recommendations.

Chief among them is incorporating alcohol treatment into Medicaid expansion. But Tricia Lucas with New Futures says that is dependent on lawmakers moving forward with expansion, something they will consider this session.

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Health
6:31 am
Wed January 16, 2013

State Gets Failing Marks On Tobacco Report Card

Credit Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report out from the American Lung Association gives New Hampshire a failing grade on smoking prevention efforts. 

The state received a 'D' on smoke-free zones in public spaces, an 'F' on tobacco prevention spending, and a 'C' on cessation efforts.

Lee Gilman, Senior Director with the Association, says the state also needs to rethink its low tobacco tax.

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Health
6:12 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

UNH Study Finds Use Of Food Stamps On The Rise Across Nation

A University of New Hampshire study finds that while poverty rates stabilized after the recession, recipients of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, continued to rise.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Carsey Institute.

In 2011, 13 percent of American households relied on SNAP, a program formerly known as food stamps. That’s compared to roughly 8 percent in 2007.

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Health
12:19 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Mental Health Advocates Push For $37M In Funding

Advocates for the state’s mental health centers say the state hasn’t lived up to its own plan to improve services in the state. And this week, they’re calling for more than $37 million in increased funding to support a stretched system.

The state’s 10-year plan, called ‘A Strategy For Restoration,’ came out in 2008. It called for major investments in the state’s mental health system, and was hailed as a great step forward. But 5 years into the initiative, advocates say the state has actually slid backwards.

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