Health

Health
4:35 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

State Hears Ideas For Launching Health Exchange

Health providers, small business owners and reform advocates attended a brainstorming session in Concord on Friday. State Insurance Department officials organized the event, seeking input on how best to implement the new health exchange in New Hampshire.

A range of ideas were offered, from social media campaigns to informational events at hardware stores to old-fashioned word of mouth. Participants stressed a need to reach all communities, including minority and non-English speaking groups, and to do so quickly.

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Health
5:08 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Commissioner Says Money Will Put 'Flesh On The Bones' Of Health Exchange Outreach Effort

State officials continue to press for action on $340,000 in federal money meant to help implement the health exchange in New Hampshire. 

Speaking to the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny repeated the need for quick acceptance of the grant money. Last month, a different legislative body, the Joint Fiscal Committee, delayed the funds, citing concerns over a lack of information.

Sevigny says the money would help "put flesh on the bones" of his Department's effort to help consumers understand the new health law.

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Health
8:10 am
Sat May 11, 2013

N.H. Panel Urges Action On Health Overhaul Funding

A committee advising New Hampshire on implementing the federal health overhaul law is urging state lawmakers to move quickly in accepting federal money intended for consumer assistance and outreach.

The Health Exchange Advisory Board, whose members represent consumers, health care providers, insurers and businesses, drafted a letter Friday saying that timely, effective outreach will be impossible unless the Legislature accepts the money.

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Health
4:08 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Addressing Mental Health Of Children Focus Of Rally At State House

People rally outside the State House in Concord on Thursday to recognize Children's Mental Health Awareness day.
Credit Michael Brindley / NHPR

About 100 people gathered at the State House Plaza on Thursday to highlight children’s mental health awareness.

Many there said more funding is needed to make sure children have access to proper mental health care.

Francine Gagne with the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center says children are often overlooked in the discussion about funding for mental health programs.

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Health
4:43 am
Mon May 6, 2013

New Hampshire Not Alone In Health Exchange Setbacks

Credit via WUKY

The new health exchanges are often described as something akin to Orbitz or Travelocity. A central place--a website--where insurance can be researched, compared, and purchased.

“Competition in markets, of course, is the way in this country we try to make reasonable prices and good quality available to people and so that is one of their roles,” says Professor Timothy Jost with Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Jost says another key role of the exchanges is subsidies.

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Health
9:45 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Sunshine Having An Impact On Drug Company Payments To Doctors In N.H.

Credit robson / Flickr/Creative Commons

As part of the Affordable Care Act, pharmaceutical company payments to doctors will become public information starting in 2014. But a slice of those disclosures is already available, and the impact of transparency is being felt across New Hampshire.

In the last four years, New Hampshire doctors and nurse practitioners have taken in $5.8 million in money from drug companies.

But in 2012, for the highest earning doctors, there was a noticeable decline. In fact, every one of the top 10 recipients in the state saw his or her total compensation go down or hold flat last year.

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Health
4:36 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

N.H. Residents Breathing Easy

A report out today from the American Lung Association says that New Hampshire’s air quality continues to improve.

The level of smog is falling in Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties. Both received a grade of ‘C’ this year compared to a ‘D’ in 2012.

Cheshire and Grafton earned an ‘A’, ranking them among the cleanest areas in New England. Coos County also saw its grade improve.

The figures come from readings taken by the Environmental Protection Agency between 2009 and 2011.

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Health
4:16 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Money To Implement Portion Of Health Law In N.H. Put On Hold

State lawmakers today put off a key vote on whether to accept Federal funds meant to support a partnership health exchange.

Earlier this month, the Feds awarded the state’s Insurance Department $5.4 million to pay for implementation of the Consumer Assistance portion of the new health exchange marketplace.

But on an 8-2 vote, members of the Joint Fiscal Committee tabled the motion, effectively delaying use of the portion of funds allocated for this fiscal year, roughly $340,000.

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Health
4:48 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Insurance Company Practice Of 'Fail First' Called Into Question

Amanda St-Amour inside her home in Merrimack. "There's only so much I can do as one person versus the health care industry."
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

“I have Crohn’s Disease, I have diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and I had a stroke. From all of this, I am on medication for depression as well.”

Chalk it up to bad genes: Amanda St-Amour struggles with a lot of health conditions.

She’s 30, lives in Merrimack, and pulls out a small laundry basket full of pill bottles.

“Basically, I take about 1, 2, 3…15 pills a morning.”

Recently, one pill has gone missing from the stack. It’s a drug called Trilipix, which St-Amour has taken for years to keep her triglyceride levels down.

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Health
11:29 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Report: More Than 96,000 In N.H. Eligible For Health Insurance Tax Credits

A report out today estimates that 96,000 New Hampshire residents will be eligible for health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. The credits will be available starting in January, 2014, when the individual mandate kicks in.

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Health
4:05 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Governor Creates Commission To Monitor Medicaid Managed Care Implementation

Governor Maggie Hassan announced today the creation of a new Commission to monitor the transition of the state’s Medicaid program to a managed care model.

The 11-person body includes public health experts, advocates for the disabled, doctors, as well as Donald Shumway, former Commissioner of DHHS, who will co-chair the group along with Mary Vallier-Kaplan.

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Health
2:24 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

State Republicans Push For More Input As Health Exchange Planning Takes Shape

Insurance Department Deputy Commissioner Alex Feldvebel hands out documents during today's oversight committee meeting.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

With an October 1st deadline looming, the state continues to move forward with implementation of a partnership health exchange.  In agreeing to that partnership, state Republicans say they were promised input on a planning document called a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU.

But last week, the Feds said partner states don’t have to submit an MOU. Republicans say that shuts them out of the legislative process.

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Health
5:26 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Knee And Hip Replacement Goes Robotic

Dr. Jeremy Hogan demonstrates the robotic MAKOPlasty surgical took inside of Lakes Region General Hospital.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

It’s been two weeks since Bonnie Parker had her hip replaced.

She is 50, petite, a tattoo artist. So she’s no stranger to pain, but says the past few years have been really tough.

“I watched my mother suffer from arthritis, and she sat down one day and never got back up. And I found myself sitting down more and more and not getting up, and I thought, ‘No, I can’t do this.’"

After non-surgical solutions failed to help, Parker spoke with her doctor, and decided to try a new robot-assisted procedure: something called MAKOplasty.

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Health
5:00 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Proposed Change In Dental Care Workforce Losing Steam

Credit Michael Brindley / NHPR

On Thursday, the New Hampshire State Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that’s getting a lot of attention in the dental community. The measure would expand the role of some hygienists. Advocates say this could help increase access in the state, but dentists argue it’s a misguided solution for a problem that may not exist.

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Health
4:35 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Bill To Ban Medicaid Expansion Voted Down

The New Hampshire House has killed a bill intended to block the state from expanding its Medicaid program.

Opponents of expansion argue that the state can’t afford to grow the health care program for the poor.

But Thomas Sherman, a doctor and Democrat from Rye, told lawmakers the issue is one of social responsibility.

Sherman: “These are New Hampshire people. Our constituents. These are your family, your neighbors, and my patients.”

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