Health Care

A recent national study of how much hospitals charge Medicare showed giant disparities among different facilities, even for the same procedures and within the same city!  The research comes as policymakers intensify their focus on costs.  We’ll explore why these huge variations exist, and efforts to reduce the price tag at hospitals in the Granite State.

Guests

Michael Green – President and CEO of Concord Hospital

Ned Helms –Director of the New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice at UNH

After using email and using a search engine, looking for health information is the third most popular web activity for internet users. That’s according to a 2011 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. A new website combines that quest with the popularity of online crowd-sourcing...or putting communal wisdom to work on perplexing problems. CrowdMed is a site for crowd-sourcing medical diagnoses. It uses the collective wisdom of some actual – and mostly armchair -medical professionals to solve tough medical cases and diagnose rare diseases that left traditional healthcare professionals stumped.

Jared Heyman is founder of the online market research firm Infosurv, his new venture is CrowdMed.   welcome to word of mouth.

Clare Martorana worked previously as a general manager and editor-at-large of Web-MD, and now serves as an advisor for CrowdMed.

Although the Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, it said states could choose whether to expand Medicaid. Supporters say doing so helps low income Americans gain coverage and boosts the economy. Critics warn it’s government overreach and is simply unaffordable. We’ll get New Hampshire’s take on this debate.

 Guests

Leo Reynods via Flickr Creative Commons

Our niftiest and spiffiest content, all in one great show. This week, a look at the shifting human condition. Holocaust survivors being turned into holograms, a Russian "Swiss Family Robinson" that missed most of the 20th Century, corporate anthropologists, transplant "tourism," the nasty effect of internet comments, and a former professor pens a memoir about being stalked by an ex- student online.

Today we sit down with New Hampshire's Health and Human Services Commissioner, Nick Toumpas.  After many years of budget cutting, Toumpas may see some funds restored to his budget... from mental health to children in need of services.  Also, he's working on figuring put what the Affordable Care Act could mean for his department, with the 2014 deadline of full-implementation looming.  We'll talk to him about that and take your calls and emails as well.

Guest:

The Families First Health and Support Center is a community health center that provides services regardless of ability to pay. Sue and Kellie are a mother and daughter who have received health care services at the center.

Michael Simmons via flickr Creative Commons

Pop question: how much does a hip replacement cost for an uninsured person? Answer: somewhere between $11,000 and $125,000. A college student’s survey of American hospitals found quoted costs to vary wildly – even when the hospitals provided quotes; many could not, or did not provide the quotes at all. The results were recently published by JAMA -- The Journal of American Medicine Association. Elisabeth Rosenthal covers health and medicine for the New York Times and wrote about the study for “Well”.

http://www.intouchhealth.com

Last week, the FDA approved the first self-navigating communications robot for use in hospitals. The RP-Vita which stands for remote presence virtual independent telemedicine assistant – was created by iRobot and In-Touch. The FDA sanction for the self-guided robot could mark a new era of robotic care in hospitals here in the United States.  Joining us with more on how RP-Vita works is Marcio Macedo, Director of Product Management for iRobot’s remote presence business unit.

The Granite State gets ready for what are called “health exchanges” under  the Affordable Care Act.  These are new marketplaces where consumers and small businesses can shop for health coverage, advocates say these will encourage competition and lower costs, but there are many unknowns, including who will regulate the insurance companies that participate.

Guests:

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Following President Obama’s reelection and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of much of the Affordable Care Act, the gears are in motion to implement this law 2014. We’re talking with lawmakers and health care experts about aspects of Medicaid expansion and health exchanges, major parts of the new law now being debated in the Granite State.

Guests:

surroundsound5000 via Flickr Creative Commons

The loudest and largest debate in health-care over these past few years has centered on coverage and how it ought or ought not to be extended to millions of uninsured Americans.  But for some Americans, coverage isn’t the problem – the problem is getting doctors to agree on the diagnosis and treatment for baffling, or inconclusively researched conditions.

abortion protest in San Francisco - 333
Steve Rhodes / Flickr Creative Common

While voters say economic issues are their top concern, abortion is also a high priority this year.  In a recent Gallup Poll, nearly two-thirds of voters said it’s an important factor in their decision. 

But when you have a pro-choice Republican running against a pro-choice Democrat, abortion doesn’t seem like an obvious lightning-rod issue. 

Photos courtesy of the candidates

On Oct.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Reporters love to write in a kind of shorthand. And when it comes to Medicaid, the preferred shortcut is, 'the health care program for the poor.'

A new report by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies finds that CEO pay has risen by eighteen percent in recent years, a far greater increase than wages in the private sector. Critics say this seems out of line with the charitable mission of these hospitals. But others say these salaries are in keeping with a competitive job market and reward highly skilled leaders.

Guests

Daqella Manera via Flickr/Creative Commons

Although the Supreme Court upheld much of the Affordable Care Act, it removed the federal government’s power to require states to expand Medicaid enrollment or face severe penalties. Now, some states say they’ll opt out. Others are uncertain about how to proceed.  We examine the debate in the Granite State.

Guests:

Mercy Health, via Flickr

This presentation was given at the Unitarian Universalist church in Peterborough, N.H. on July 8. The presentation will air on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

From the Monadnock Summer Lyceum:
 

NH's Health Care Exchange Still Up in the Air

Jun 28, 2012
Bruce A Stockwell / Flickr Creative Commons

Exchanges are the marketplaces where consumers will basically window-shop the various health care policies available in different states.

The Federal government granted each state funds to begin studying and implementing these exchanges, but New Hampshire’s Executive Council gave that money back, nearly $1,000,000.

Republicans, including House Speaker Bill O’Brien, say that the exchanges will simply cost too much to run. He points to the experience of other New England states.

Gubernatorial Candidates React to Health Care Ruling

Jun 28, 2012
Photo by Chickenlump, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s gubernatorial candidates are weighing in on the Supreme Court’s ruling, and they stand, pretty much, where you'd expect.

The two leading GOP contenders for the state’s corner office didn’t like the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court ruling, and that hasn’t really changed.

Ovide Lamontagne, the current front runner, says that as Governor, he would do everything possible to slow down or block the law’s implementation.

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is reacting largely along party lines to the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care.

President Obama will talk about the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act at 12:15 p.m. Listen to live coverage on NHPR, watch the address below, or here on WhiteHouse.gov.

View the live video stream here if you are experiencing difficulties.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/momentsnotice/3494085120/">massmatt</a> / Flickr

A look at the statements made by N.H.'s congressional delegation, state lawmakers and state politicians.

In one of the most widely anticipated decisions in recent history, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the sweeping federal law overhauling the nation's health care system is constitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule today in the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today is the last day of the Court's current term, and the ruling is expected to be released not long after 10 a.m. NHPR will bring you coverage through the day and the days ahead of what this highly-anticipated decision will mean. Join us today at 2:00 p.m. for a special edition of Talk of the Nation and check back at NHPR.org for updates.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos/7432022562/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Mark Fischer</a> / Flickr

Updated at 10:41 a.m. The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act. NHPR continues to bring you coverage throughout the day, and reports tonight on All Things Considered.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule today in the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today is the last day of the Court's current term, and the ruling is expected to be released not long after 10 a.m. 

NHPR will bring you coverage through the day and the days ahead of what this highly-anticipated decision will mean.

While the future of the Affordable Care Act is unclear, some of the changes may be here to stay. President of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Jim Weinstein is focusing on the improvement of patient care over providing more care. NHPR's Dan Gorenstein reporting for Marketplace has more.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39794839@N03/5086437626/">HealthHomeHappy.com</a> / Flickr

Although Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) undergo virtually the same training as medical doctors, their services have hitherto not been covered by insurance companies in the state of New Hampshire. Two and a half years ago ND Bert Mathieson, frustrated by what struck him as “discrimination flat out,” got a sponsor for a bill that would change N.H. law. HB351 would require insurers in the state to reimburse naturopathic doctors, who emphasize illness prevention and lifestyle guidance rather than pharmaceutical or surgical procedures in their practice.

To get a feeling for what being sick in America is really like, and to help us understand the findings of our poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, NPR did a call-out on Facebook. We asked people to share their experiences of the health care system, and within 24 hours, we were flooded with close to 1,000 responses.

NH Senate Approves Reimbursements for Naturopaths

May 16, 2012

Doctors of naturopathic medicine would be reimbursed by health insurance companies under a bill passed by the New Hampshire Senate.

The Senate voted 16-8 Wednesday in favor of the bill. Opponents argued that the bill amounted to a mandate for insurers that would lead to increased premiums. Supporters argued it was a matter of fairness because insurers already reimburse other health care providers for providing the same services.

Christiana Care / Flickr/Creative Commons

The long projected shortage of nurses in the state has been temporarily resolved in recent years. Hospitals that used to be beggars have become choosers, by seeking to hire more nurses with bachelor degrees or even master’s degrees. While many in the field are eager to adapt and pursue higher education, others fear academic achievement is being favored over years of experience.  We look at this development and the broad challenges facing the field of nursing.

Guests:

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