Health

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
Health
12:14 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Medicaid Overhaul Plan Hits A Road Block

It’s been three years since state lawmakers began touting managed care as the salvation of Medicaid.

Read more
Health
4:41 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

State Hospitals Making Gains In Fight Against Infection

The number of dangerous infections acquired at hospitals in New Hampshire is falling. A new report shows that there were 110 acquired infections in 2011. That’s a 20% decrease from 2009 levels.

State law mandates that hospitals report infections following certain procedures, including heart, colon and knee surgeries.

Beth Daly, Chief of Infectious Disease Surveillance at the state Health Department, says these are important numbers to track.

Read more
Health
6:11 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Public Calls For Easy, Affordable Health Exchange Experience

A day after the Federal government approved the state’s application for a partnership health exchange, the public had its chance to weigh in on the new insurance marketplaces.

Small business owners, parents and advocates lined up in Concord at an event organized by AARP and NH Voices for Health. Speakers expressed concerns about affordability.

Many called for more transparency.

Another fear is the sheer complexity of shopping for health insurance. Lisa Kaplan Howe with NH Voices hopes the new marketplaces will streamline the process.

Read more
Health
5:19 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

New Hampshire Gets Okay From Feds For Health Exchange Partnership

The Federal government announced today that New Hampshire’s application for a partnership health care exchange has been approved. Exchanges are the new marketplaces where individuals and small businesses will shop for health insurance starting in October of this year. 

The partnership means the N.H. Insurance Department will continue to regulate plans sold in the state. The Federal government will pay for and control the new marketplace website and the '1-800 call center'.

Health
4:59 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Supporters Of Medicaid Expansion Make Their Case To Lawmakers

Due to the large crowd, lawmakers gathered in Representatives Hall to hear from the public .
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

    The public had its chance today to weigh in on the state’s decision regarding Medicaid expansion.

Nearly two dozen people, all in favor of expansion, testified in front of a committee of state lawmakers.

That included Susan Bruce, who lost her husband, and then her health insurance in 2009. Her part-time job offers no coverage.  

Bruce: "It is an odd position to be in. I don’t make enough money to afford to live, really, but I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid as it currently exists."

Read more
Health
6:00 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Soothing Cancer With The Arts

Jessica Gebard works on her writing with Marv Klassen-Landis
Liz Faiella/NHPR

A creative arts program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon is helping cancer patients and their families deal with life-changing illness.

Read more
Health
7:59 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

What Medicaid Expansion Could Mean For New Hampshire Businesses

A top executive with one of New Hampshire's largest healthcare providers told a gathering of businessmen and women that they have a significant stake in how the state cares for low-income and uninsured residents.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.  

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

___________________

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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. 

Read more

Pages