Health

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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Health
4:24 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Impasse in Washington Has N.H. Domestic Violence Advocates Worried

Credit Lawrence Jackson / whitehouse.gov via Wikimedia COmmons

Supporters of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) like to point out that since its passage in 1994, incidents of domestic violence are down by more than 50% nationwide.

But they also say this isn’t about stats, this is about people like Carrie Ann, who requested that her last name not be used.

"The abuse that I encountered was physical, mental, and sexual," she says. "It was constant, day-in-day out. By the end, I was virtually a prisoner. I wasn’t allowed to control my own finances. I couldn’t leave without fear that something truly horrific was going to happen."

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Health
6:26 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Study: Childhood Obesity Rates Decline In N.H.

For the first time in recent years, obesity rates have gone down in New Hampshire children. The Centers for Disease Control’s first national study on childhood obesity finds that 14.2 percent of preschool-age children in the state are obese, down from 15.6 percent in 2003.

José Montero, Director of Public Health Services at the New Hampshire Department Of Health and Human Services, sees the decline as modest, but encouraging.

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Health
5:29 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

To Expand (Medicaid) Or Not To Expand

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.

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Health
4:33 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Deal Means No Health Insurance Co-op In N.H.

Credit 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.

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Health
4:51 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Mental Health Advocates Say State Is Offering Band-Aids, Not Solutions

Mental health advocates gather for a press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

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.

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Health
5:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

The Alzheimer's Café: Unforgettable Therapy

John and Rhea Pereira attend the Alzheimer's Cafe in Dover each month.
Credit 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. 

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Health
1:16 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Whooping Cough Hits N.H.

According to the CDC, there have been around 40,000 cases nationwide of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) this year.
Credit 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.

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Health
5:00 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Can Penalties Help Keep Patients Healthy?

Nearly 1 in 5 Medicare patients ends up back in a hospital bed less than 30 days after being discharged.
Credit 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.

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