Health Care

When doctors in this country work with patients originally from other countries, it can feel like a bit of a telephone game. This feeling is compounded when there’s a translator in the room passing messages back and forth. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is bringing together health care providers and insurers to explore why spending on health care is high and rising, and what can be done to change that.

istock photo

When Lorraine Sevigny moved to New Hampshire, she still had health insurance through COBRA from her previous job but had to stay in her HMO network. “I became ill about a month or two after I came up and I did end up going down to Massachusetts to see my doctor,” so that her insurance would cover the cost. 

Beacon Press

Less Medicine, More Health. That’s the contradictory-sounding title of a new book by Dartmouth researcher and Doctor Gilbert Welch. It’s a challenge to the conventional wisdom among patients and providers that more testing and more treatment is always better.  Welch says in some cases, you can have too much health care – and can even be harmed by it.

Guest:

StopnLook via Flickr CC

A commission studying ways to reduce workers compensation costs in New Hampshire released its final report Friday, but did not go so far as to recommend a cap how much health providers can charge for the care of injured workers.

Instead, in the 38-page report, a majority of commission members recommends the panel continue its work for another year.

Delaywaves via Creative Commons

Vermont's big experiment in creating a single-payer health care system is over, at least for now.

On Wednesday Governor Peter Shumlin announced he would effectively kill the plan to create a publicly-financed insurance system that was to be known as Green Mountain Health Care. "In my judgment," Shumlin said, "now is not the right time to ask our legislature to take the step of passing the financial plan for Green Mountain Health Care."

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

The Children’s Dental Network offers preventive dental services in 27 schools in and around Derry, NH to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to those services. Jeanne Carroll and her husband are both college grads, and considered themselves “middle class;” they never thought they would have difficulty providing dental health care for their three children. 

Via Lakeview's website

Officials at a brain injury rehabilitation center in Effingham are disputing allegations that residents at its facility have been subject to abuse and neglect, including a death in 2012.

Governor Maggie Hassan has ordered that no further patients be admitted as the state reviews the charges.

A pair of reports issued Monday by the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire detail problems at Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center in Effingham.

A New Hampshire Center for Public Policy study predicts the state's aging population will reshape its health care system.

The center's annual report, titled "What Is New Hampshire," says that by the year 2020, nearly 20 percent of the state's population will be 65 or older, a dramatic jump from 13.5 percent in 2010.

The report also notes that the economy is changing significantly.

The Farnum Center provides treatment to people with substance use disorders. It recently moved to a new facility which includes a new medical detox unit, the only one in the state not connected to a hospital. 

Dr. Cheryl Wilkie works with patients at the center. “We have a five day detox, a 30-day residential treatment center and then outpatient services that follow them as long as they need it.

N.H. Insurance Department

Consumers will have more than 50 plans to choose from next year on the Affordable Care Act health exchange, according to the New Hampshire Insurance Department.

During the first of two public hearings, department officials on Tuesday said five insurance companies will compete in the marketplace in 2015.

Anthem was the only participant this year, and it’s decision to include just 16 of the state’s 26 hospitals in its network sparked frustration even among supporters of the health law.

New Hampshire veterans who have been waiting more than three months for an appointment to see a specialist at the Manchester VA Medical Center now have the option of receiving treatment from a non-VA physician.

Staff at the center are in the process of contacting 118 Granite State veterans who are on an “electronic wait list” of former troops who have been unable to see a VA physician in 90 days or less, said Tammy Krueger, director of the Manchester VA Medical Center.

Veterans seeking an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Manchester were able to see a doctor in 30 days or less 98 percent of the time,  according to a nationwide audit released today by Department of Veterans Affairs.

But as many as 118 Granite State veterans waited 90 days or more for their first appointment, and 98 former troops who enrolled for treatment in the last decade have yet to see a physician in the VA network.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire will seek a waiver from the federal government Friday hoping to get $275 million more in matching funds over five years for health care services provided by the state, county and local governments.

The joint legislative Fiscal Committee approved the waiver application Wednesday.

Jeffrey Meyers, director of intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the federal government is not sharing the cost of about $80 million in annual health care spending in New Hampshire. The waiver asks the federal government to pitch in.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

You don’t drop everything to go get a colonoscopy.

But after a decade of waiting, 63-year old Richard Coll of Manchester knew he couldn’t keep putting it off.

“It’s something you got to do, you’re supposed to do," says Coll. "There’s a little history in my family, so I was encouraged to do it.”

But he doesn’t have insurance and the price tag—actually the lack of a price tag-—kept getting in the way.

“[I was] shopping around, and everyone I asked, whether it was the doctor or an institution like a hospital, they looked at me like I was crazy,” says Coll.

 

The state will appeal a superior court judge's ruling that a tax on New Hampshire's hospitals that brings in $185 million annually is unconstitutional.

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

The Children’s Dental Network offers preventive dental services in 27 schools in and around Derry, NH to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to those services. Jeanne Carroll and her husband are both college grads, and considered themselves “middle class;” they never thought they would have difficulty providing dental health care for their three children. 

gramola2three / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent report finds that a growing number of elderly patients outlive their hospice stay, costing Medicare millions, and raising questions about how we look at end of life care. Some say these conversations should start long before a terminal diagnosis. That they say will end up helping them live more comfortably in their final days, all while reducing the bottom line.

 

The Obama administration says about 5,000 more New Hampshire residents selected a health plan through the new federal insurance market last month.

Sara Plourde

The centers for disease control and prevention recently reported that doctors don’t adequately warn patients about the dangers of drinking. CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, “there are at least 38 million Americans who have problems with alcohol. For every alcoholic, there are six people who drink too much to the point where it adversely affects their lives”. Our guest is Lance Brendan Young, he argues the problem doesn’t begin in the doctor’s office, but dates back to 1849 when the term “alcoholism” was first described as a chronic, relapsing disease. Lance is assistant professor of communication at Western Illinois University and has researched and written extensively on the language used to frame alcohol abuse. He doesn’t think the condition should be treated as a disease 

truthout.org / Flickr Creative Commons

Twenty-fourteen is when the rubber hits road for the ACA, with new deadlines and new requirements kicking in. These include the so-called individual mandate, which says everyone must carry health insurance or pay a penalty.  We’re talking about what to expect in the Granite State in 2014.

GUESTS:

  • Todd Bookman- NHPR’s health reporter
  • Jay Hancock – reporter for Kaiser Health News

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about how the Democratic members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation - all facing re-election next fall - are now supporting changes to the Affordable Care Act.  

NHPR Staff

 

Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has introduced a measure that would give people at least a two-month extension to make up for time lost to website glitches to sign up for health insurance plans under the new federal health care overhaul law.

The open-enrollment period current ends March 31, 2014.

The measure also would give the Health and Human Services Secretary flexibility to further extend enrollment if Healthcare.gov isn't fully functional as of Dec 1.

Many New Hampshire residents who buy their own health insurance are finding cancelation notices in their mailbox. Anthem, the state’s largest carrier, says it’s dropping more than two-thirds of its individual plans because they don’t satisfy new regulations in the Affordable Care Act.

Linda Allen of Allen Associates in Manchester says her brokerage house has been flooded with calls about the discontinuation notice.

“I’d say our phone is ringing probably triple what it usually does with questions from our clients and from people who are not our clients,” says Allen.

New Hampshire still hasn't hired anyone to advertise the federal health care overhaul law in the state, but officials say that's not necessarily a bad thing, and the state isn't alone.

Concord Hospital Names New CEO

Oct 2, 2013

Concord Hospital is getting a new CEO.

The hospital Board of Trustees has selected Robert Steigmeyer. He is expected to start the first week of January 2014.

Steigmeyer has been the chief executive officer at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, Pa., since 2012 and a leader of a community medical center that eventually joined it.

401(K) 2013 via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is getting a $3 million federal grant to fight unreasonable increases in health insurance rates and to make pricing more transparent.

The grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The goal is to support state efforts to review health insurance rate increases, educate consumers and hold insurance companies accountable.

Greening The O.R.

Sep 18, 2013
Flickr Creative Commons

Reduce, reuse, recycle? Not in the medical profession. While recycling has become the aspiration or even the norm in most areas of our daily lives, an operating room is the one place where recycling feels like a dangerous practice. Recent studies provide staggering statistics of the amount of waste produced by hospitals on a daily basis; one conservative estimate puts annual hospital waste at five point nine million tons, with operating rooms accounting for twenty to thirty percent of that total. In light of these numbers, there is a growing effort to bring sustainability into the health care sector while still maintaining the highest level of hygiene.

Group Decries Impact Of Federal Healthcare Law

Aug 1, 2013
Ella Nilsen

Conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity rallied against the Affordable Care Act in the front of the State House today, detailing concerns including rising costs and doctor shortages.

The protest comes as a panel examines Medicaid Expansion in N.H., a provision of the federal healthcare law.

Director of Americans for Prosperity – N.H., Greg Moore said the group opposes expansion.

Health Reform on Hold?

Jul 18, 2013
truthout.org via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Obama administration recently announced delays in several provisions of the Affordable Care Act -- including the employer mandate, which requires businesses of a certain size to provide health insurance for employees…as well as smaller technical changes. We’ll talk with experts on where we are now, given this shift, and what might be next.

 Guests:

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