Health

Health
10:42 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Willing To Take Potential Ebola Patients

Credit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

State health officials say in the highly unlikely event any Ebola patients are identified in New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon has agreed to accept them.

The Department of Health and Human Services says each of the state’s 26 hospitals are prepared to identify and isolate a potential Ebola patient, but that long-term care would be better managed at the Lebanon hospital, or a designated national center.

Outside of three cases in Dallas, Texas, no one in the U.S. has been diagnosed with Ebola.

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Health
5:00 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Dramatic Drop In Childhood Obesity, Tooth Decay Rates

Credit Nicole McCracken

State health officials say a survey shows there’s progress being made in the battle against childhood obesity in New Hampshire.

A statewide survey that tracked the actual weights of third-graders finds obesity rates have dropped by a whopping 30 percent since 2008.

Director of Public Health José Montero says when he saw the numbers, he recalculated them all himself to make sure there wasn’t a mistake.

He says they’re correct, and mark a tremendous step forward in childhood health.

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Health
4:14 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Px Drug Monitoring Program Aims To Curb Addiction, Abuse

Oxycodone is one of the most abused prescription drugs in N.H.
Credit Patrick Ireland

Prescription drug abuse causes more deaths in New Hampshire each year than car accidents, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

New Hampshire’s prescription drug monitoring program launched Thursday.

David Strang, an emergency room doctor and chairman of the advisory board to the New Hampshire Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, says the program will make it harder for addicts and drug dealers to do what’s called “doctor shopping.”

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Health
3:31 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

First Of Five Health Insurers Outline 2015 Exchange Plans

Maine Community Health Options CEO Kevin Lewis announces the insurance plans his company will offer on the healthcare exchange in 2015 (October 16, 2014).
Credit Maine Community Health Options

One of the new insurers set to begin offering plans on New Hampshire’s health care exchange next year announced its rates Thursday.

Maine Community Health Options is one of five insurance companies offering plans in 2015.

The non-profit, member-run co-op, was the first to announce its rates, saying it will offer ten different plans and will include all of the state’s 26 hospitals in its provider network.

Dr. John Yindra, the company’s Chief Medical Officer, says people with chronic conditions will be able to choose from a range of plans, and costs should be low.

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Health
11:25 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Some Who Benefit Remain Unsold On Obamacare

Yusuf (R) and Imane Valera sit with a social worker at Manchester Community Health Center to fill out an application for the state's expanded Medicaid program.
Credit Jack Rodolico

Yusuf Valera resents that he has to buy health insurance. He’s never had it, and he says he doesn’t want it now.

"I don’t have much of a choice. If I don’t do it, then they’re going to take money out of my taxes anyway," Valera says.

The irony is Valera stands to gain - in a big way - from the Affordable Care Act. Yet like most New Hampshire residents, he simply doesn't like the law.

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Health
3:23 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

EEE Claims Second Life In N.H.

Credit Mr.Ripp

State health officials say a New Hampshire resident has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.

The Manchester resident was likely exposed to EEE in August, then passed away in September. This is the second EEE-related death and the third human case of EEE this year.

The virus spreads from birds to humans through mosquito bites. Symptoms come on like the flu, then in some people lead to encephalitis, or severe brain swelling.

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Health
5:12 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

N.H. Expanded Medicaid Tops 20,000 Enrollees

Credit Alex Proimos via Flickr CC

Gov. Maggie Hassan says more than 20,000 people have signed up for health coverage under New Hampshire's newly expanded Medicaid program.

New Hampshire's previous Medicaid program covered low-income children, parents with non-disabled children under 18, pregnant women, older residents and people with disabilities. The expansion adds anyone under 65 who earns up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which is about $15,900 for a single adult.

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Health & Technology
10:49 am
Fri October 10, 2014

At Dartmouth, Sidelines Robot Could Be Key To Quickly Diagnosing Football Concussions

Image of VGo telepresence robot courtesy VGo Communications in Nashua.
Credit VGo/NHPR Staff

Football faces increasing criticism as mounting evidence shows the dangers of concussions, in particular undiagnosed concussions.

A new telehealth initiative at Dartmouth College aims to eliminate those undiagnosed concussions by bringing neurosurgeons to the sidelines--via robot.

On the sidelines of the Dartmouth/Penn football game, neurosurgeon Robert Singer watches carefully.

"A lot of these hits are shoulder hits. What we’re looking for are direct head to head kind of contact, that type of thing."

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Health
4:06 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Low Risk, High Prep For Ebola In Granite State

Monrovia, Liberia
Credit Associated Press

Hospitals across the state say they’re ready for the unlikely possibility that a patient with Ebola could walk through their doors.

There are a lot of reasons it is unlikely Ebola could come to the Granite State. There are no direct flights from West Africa to any New England airport. Also, Ebola only spreads from direct contact with an infected person.

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Health
5:41 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Medicare Penalizes Nine N.H. Hospitals For Too Many Readmissions

Credit St. Joseph Hosptial, Nashua

One in five Medicare patients treated for a list of common conditions - like pneumonia and heart failure -  are readmitted to the hospitals that treated them within a month.

One way the federal government is trying to improve that is by penalizing hospitals based on their readmission rates. It’s a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will hit 2,610 hospitals across the country next year, including nine in New Hampshire.

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Health
5:32 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

State Delays Medicaid Managed Care Oversight Change For Patients With Chronic Conditions

DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas
Credit NHPR

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the state will wait until April before it puts Medicaid patients with chronic conditions under the oversight of two managed care companies. In fact the state has not announced when that transition will happen.

New Hampshire is postponing a crucial phase of Medicaid managed care. The delay follows concerns raised by advocates of patients with complicated health conditions.

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Health
5:22 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

2 Confirmed, 500 Treated For Scabies At Dartmouth So Far

Credit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is working to stem the spread of scabies at its Lebanon facility. The infectious but non-fatal skin condition has been found in two people so far.

The first was a patient who arrived at the hospital in mid-August with a number of health conditions. That patient, who’s still in the hospital, wasn’t diagnosed with scabies until late September. Since then one Dartmouth staff member has been diagnosed and treated.

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Health
3:28 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Case Of Scabies At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Spurs Preventative Measures

Dartmouth-Hitchcock has discovered one case of scabies in a patient. That means some Medical Center staffers and visitors may also be at risk.
Toby Talbot AP/file

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 2:06 pm

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is trying to prevent the spread of a skin condition known as crusted scabies. Also called Norwegian scabies, the disease is non-life threatening and easily treatable if caught in time.

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Health
3:57 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Maine Insurance Co-op Plans Big Expansion in N.H.

Credit Maine Community Health Options

A health insurance cooperative based in Maine has received $67 million federal loan to expand into New Hampshire’s healthcare exchange.

When the federal healthcare marketplace opened in 2013, Maine Community Health Options made waves when it grabbed a whopping 83 percent market share in Maine. The small cooperative outcompeted Anthem - the only other insurer on Maine’s marketplace at the time, and currently the only insurer on New Hampshire’s healthcare exchange.

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Health
4:58 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

New First Aid Class May Help Some Avoid Mental Health Crisis

Students settle in for an eight-hour class in mental health first aid at the Sullivan County Jail.
Credit Jack Rodolico

Anyone can take a first aid class to learn how to perform CPR or splint a broken bone. But how should you respond to someone not in a physical health crisis, but a mental health crisis?

Mental health professionals in New Hampshire are promoting a course in mental health first aid. The goal is to train the general public to recognize the signs of mental illness - and encourage them to intervene.

For 20 years, Charlie fought bruising battles with mental illness. When he was at his lowest point, here’s how he describes his life.

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Health
5:09 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Conway Woman Dies Of Triple-E

Credit Centers for Disease Control

  One of the people infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis in New Hampshire this year has died from the disease. The 51 year old woman spent nearly a month in the hospital before succumbing to the illness.

According to the online obituary of a Rhode Island Funeral Home, Diane Humphreys of Conway passed away in a hospice home in Maine on September eighteenth.

Humphreys was the first confirmed human case of triple E in the state back in August.

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Health
4:30 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Cheshire Lands $1.1 Million Grant For Healthy Monadnock Plan

Cheshire Medical Center-Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene

A plan to make the Monadnock region one of the healthiest communities in the country has received a financial boost from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $1.1 million to Healthy Monadnock 2020, an initiative of Cheshire Medical Center-Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene. The hospital is working with schools, farmers and other private and public entities to prevent some of the leading causes of death, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

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Health
3:19 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Granite State Has Highest Rate Of Breast Cancer

Credit Jason Meredith

New Hampshire has a higher rate of breast cancer than any state in the U.S. according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2011 - the most recent data available is from back - out of every 100,000 people in the state, there were 141.7 cases of breast cancer. In part, that’s because of demographic; breast cancer is most prevalent in white women, and New Hampshire is about 94 percent white.

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Health
6:04 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Urgent Care Clinics Poised to Compete In Keene

Max Puyanic, CEO of ConvenientMD, shows off an urgent care clinic in Concord.
Credit Jack Rodolico

The number of urgent care clinics in New Hampshire has almost doubled since 2012. And in the next year, three such clinics will open their doors in the City of Keene. That will mean more choices for patients in the Monadnock Region - and stiff competition for the clinics.

Urgent care clinics are often called retail healthcare. You’ll see the clinics in strip malls. The idea is you can walk in without an appointment, be treated by a doctor for anything from a bad cut to a broken finger to a sore throat, and get out -- quickly.

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Health
3:34 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Immigrants Growing N.H.'s Food Economy By Changing What's Grown And Sold Locally

Wesley Tiku shows off some mustard greens, one of his store's most popular items, in the produce aisle of Kathmandu Baazar in Concord.
Credit Jack Rodolico

New immigrants often face an unexpected challenge: how to navigate away from an American diet that takes a toll on your health? That’s becoming easier in New Hampshire due to a network of markets and farms that carry familiar foods for the state’s foreign residents.

New Hampshire is home to a small but growing immigrant population; about one in 20 Granite Staters are foreign born. And there’s an experience that unites many of them: that bewildering first visit to an American grocery store.

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Health
3:31 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Hassan Joins New England Governors In Push To Reverse Painkiller Approval

Credit via SEC.gov

The six New England governors are urging the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to reverse the Food and Drug Administration's approval of a powerful new painkiller, Zohydro.

In a letter dated Thursday, the governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island tell Secretary Sylvia Burwell that the region is in the midst of an addiction crisis.

The drug Zohydro is an extended-release capsule that contains up to five times the amount of narcotic hydrocodone previously available in pills.

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Health
4:46 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Transparent Pricing Could Push Health Costs Down

Credit Michael Dorausch

A new study out of Dartmouth tracks a rise in healthcare costs across northern New England. It is not exactly surprising data. But what is new is that the information is even available.

Between 2008 and 2010, people on private insurance in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont saw healthcare costs climb by 4.5 percent annually.

For just shy of a decade, northern New England states have required insurance companies to report how much they pay for services like blood tests and X-rays. That’s important because, historically, these data lived in the dark.

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Health
5:10 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Two Healthcare Centers Receive Federal Grants For Renovations

Lamprey Health Care's Raymond facility will receive a $250,000 for renovations designed to make the building more accessible.

Two New Hampshire healthcare centers will split nearly half a million dollars in federal grants announced on Tuesday. The funding comes from the Affordable Care Act and will be used for renovations.

Lamprey Health Care will use its $250,000 grant to make its Raymond facility more accessible for patients and doctors. The work will include redesigning the floor plan and making the entrance more accessible to wheelchairs. Michelle Gaduet, Lamprey's Communications Coordinator, says the building hasn’t been updated in 18 years.

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Health
4:31 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Triple E Detected For First Time This Year In N.H.

Credit James Jordan / Flickr CC

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as triple E, has been detected for the first time this year in New Hampshire. The Department of Health and Human Services found the disease, which can be fatal to humans, in a batch of mosquitos from Londonderry.

Eleven humans have contracted the disease in New Hampshire since 2005, though there have been no recorded cases since 2009.

Abigail Mathewson State Public Health Veternarian says the discovery marks the beginning of mosquito-borne illness season.

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NH News
11:24 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Cluster Of Salmonella Infections In N.H. Linked To National Outbreak, Backyard Chickens

State health officials cite the importance of hand washing after handling chickens.
Credit Anne Peterson via Flickr CC

State health officials say several recent salmonella infections in New Hampshire are linked to a national outbreak.  

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 11 people in the state were infected with salmonella shortly after exposure to chicks or chickens.

The patients became ill between late March and early July, and most had been raising the chicks in their homes or backyards.

Two were hospitalized, and all have fully recovered.

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NH News
1:48 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Sees 9,400 Enrollees Leading Up To Friday Launch

Gov. Maggie Hassan at Lamprey Community Health Center in Nashua on Monday.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

Roughly 9,400 people have enrolled for coverage under the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which is set to launch Friday.

Since enrollment opened on July 1, nearly a fifth of the 50,000 low-income Granite Staters expected to qualify for coverage have successfully signed up.

Speaking at Lamprey Community Health Center in Nashua on Monday, Governor Maggie Hassan calls that a good start.

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Health
7:55 am
Tue August 5, 2014

$1M Grant Will Expand Home Visits In New Hampshire

New Hampshire is getting a $1 million grant to expand a home visiting program for pregnant woman and parents with children up to age 5.

The money is going to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program established by the Affordable Care Act.

The money will allow nurses, social workers and early childhood educators to reach more parents and families.

NH News
4:30 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Four Community Health Centers To Share $921,000 In Federal Funds

Four health centers in the state will be sharing about $921,000 in federal funds to help people with mental illness or substance abuse...

The funds are coming through the Affordable Care Act and they’ll be used at community health centers, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said Thursday.

Those centers are:

* Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth: $250,000.

* Harbor Homes in Nashua: $250,000.

* Manchester Community Health Center: $250,000.

* City of Manchester: $171,360.

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Health
9:15 am
Mon July 21, 2014

A Husband, A Wife, A Liver

Derek entertains Logan with his rendition of 'Oh Liver.'
Greta Rybus www.gretarybus.com

In 2004, Derek Janiak was struck by a string of migraines. His energy faded and he began losing weight. Doctors thought it might be cancer.

Further testing showed Janiak had a rare liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). The prognosis was 10-15 years of slowly worsening health, and then he’d require a transplant.

Derek’s wife, Logan Shannon, works at New Hampshire Public Radio. Over the past year, she and her husband agreed to share their story with NHPR's Health Reporter Todd Bookman.

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Health
3:47 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Hassan Signs $11 Million Mental Health Package

Gov. Hassan signs House Bill 1635 into law, surrounded by mental health advocates and lawmakers.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Governor Hassan has signed legislation designed to strengthen the state’s mental health system, a result of a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012.

The law allocates roughly $11 million through next fiscal year for increased community-based treatment options including supportive housing and crisis response teams. It is the first portion of a $30 million settlement agreement reached in December.

The Disabilities Rights Center and U.S. Department of Justice had sued the state in federal court over its lack of adequate care for people with mental illness.

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