Health

In its latest release of statistics aimed at shedding more light on the quality of the nation’s health care system, the Obama Administration targets the use of physical restraints on psychiatric patients.

It collected data from more than 1,500 facilities nationally. The results show Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester with the fifth highest rate of restraint use in the country.

Hobvias via Flickr CC

New Hampshire residents who may be eligible for Medicaid when the state expands its program are being encouraged to attend one of a dozen public information sessions.

The state is seeking federal approval to expand its program to an estimated 50,000 poor adults by using federal Medicaid funds to buy private health care coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit.

The first informational session will be held Monday night in Concord. Others will be held around the state, with the last one scheduled for July 1 in Portsmouth.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

House and Senate lawmakers have signed off on a Medicaid Enhancement Tax deal.

Lawmakers voted 278-72 in favor of the deal that settles a lawsuit with 25 New Hampshire hospitals.

The Senate later passed it on a voice vote, and it now heads to Governor Maggie Hassan’s desk.

Hassan and legislative leaders announced the settlement last week, with St. Joseph Hospital of Nashua the lone holdout.

Republican Representative David Hess of Hooksett says he may not be completely happy with the result, but the deal is better than nothing.

HealthTrust, Property-Liability Trust, and NH Municipal Association office
Amanda Loder / NHPR

Former Local Government Center insurance pool Property-Liability Trust will return $17 million in illegal subsidies.  This despite earlier protests that it didn’t have the money on hand.  The money will go to another former LGC insurance pool--HealthTrust—and then be refunded to member communities. 

For years, Property-Liability Trust struggled, and was supported by the Health Trust program, which raised funds by over-charging member communities. 

Gift of Life via Facebook

This story was produced by WBUR in Boston. 

It all started one spring afternoon about 10 years ago. David Cavell, then a student at Tufts University, strolled past what looked like a campus blood drive. He saw a friend, stopped, agreed to run a Q-tip across the inside of his cheek, and moved on.

Intel Free Press via Flickr/CC - https://flic.kr/p/bA3eBS

A growing number of Americans are doing their jobs outside the usual confines of the office. And that includes doctors – the multi-billion dollar telemedicine industry is opening up new avenues for patients and for providers in New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Like many kids with autism, Hunter Picknell has trouble expressing himself.

“His primary form of communication is sign language, but there’s certain things he can’t do with his hands and fingers because of his motor-planning issues,” says Melissa Hilton, Hunter’s mother.

“He makes kind of his own sign language, which is very idiosyncratic. We often joke around and say it is sign language with an accent.”

A new report once again ranks Rockingham County as New Hampshire's healthiest, while Coos County remains at the bottom of the list.

NHPR's Health Reporter Todd Bookman was awarded second place in the 2013 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism by the Association of Health Care Journalists. The organization recognized Todd's series Planning For The End: A Look At Advance Directives in the small market Consumer/Feature category.

Public health officials have a problem. They want more parents to get their kids vaccinated, because there's been a resurgence of dangerous diseases as vaccination rates have dropped.

Good News About Childhood Obesity

Mar 11, 2014
Healthnewsnet / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting in the 1980s, public health experts began sounding the alarm: Americans were getting way too heavy.  And of special concern: children, and the particular impact of obesity on them: increased risk for both short and long term ailments such as heart disease, type two diabetes, and a host of social and psychological problems.  Today, it’s been 30 years, and childhood obesity rates have doubled since those first warnings, with doctors saying this problem early in life also closely predicts whether a child will have a healthy weight into adulthood, and a five times greater chance of bei

About a decade ago, Marion Nestle made waves when she published her groundbreaking book “Food Politics,” now considered by many to be one of the founding documents of the movement to reform the American food system.   In it, Nestle criticized the high quality, low quantity eating habits encouraged by the food industry and how many lawmakers in Washington have been influenced by the deep pockets of big agriculture and big food.

About 90 percent of Americans who need long term care get it from unpaid family members. That puts a strain on a lot of relatives who have neither enough time nor the training to care for loved ones with brain disorders such as dementia.

So Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., gives classes to family caregivers, and recruits actors to play the patients.

Any insurance plan sold in the online exchange would first face a public hearing under a bill before State Senators. The measure comes in reaction to Anthem’s decision to cut out 10 of the state's 26 hospitals for plans sold on the new marketplace, a move many lawmakers and consumers say they were blindsided by.

The company defends the decision, saying it helped lower costs by 25%.

A doctor's office
srp6685 via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/tfgOR

Bringing a child into a world means making a lot of decisions – getting the baby’s room ready, taking childbirth classes, and, of course, picking a name.

With so much going on, one very important decision often falls off the radar: finding the right pediatrician.

Reporter Michael Brindley and his wife have been busy making all these decisions, with the birth of their daughter last month.

 A 15-year-old boy is in critical condition at a hospital after he suffered an apparent heart attack during a basketball game and was aided by a defibrillator.

The Valley News reports Lebanon High School sophomore Christopher Roberge was on the bench during the second quarter when he had a medical episode.

Attacks by two psychiatric patients awaiting treatment at Manchester’s Elliot Hospital last year underscored the well-documented problems with New Hampshire’s mental health system.

In December, the state agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed in 2012 on behalf of six plaintiffs who had cycled in and out of emergency rooms and the state mental hospital. The state has agreed to spend $30 million over the next three years to re-build its community-based system of care, once considered a national model.

Jackie Newgent RDN, CDN via Flickr/CC - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackie_newgent/11072560865/in/photolist-hSrLzP-7kUgGc-5CfzCM-aLpi5P-4dAm1v-7T2r4-aLphsD-aLpmcB-aLpiPV-aLph9t-aLpkZv-aLpjog-aLpkvi-aLpgKk-aLpkGR-aLpkPV-aLpgXZ-aLphN6-aLpfGD-aLphdT-6gYqPv-

Chances are at least a few of us have once again vowed to eat healthy in the new year. And, chances are, those of us who have made that resolution will run into a big challenge: how do you eat healthy when you're eating out?

Susan Laughlin of New Hampshire Magazine has been pondering this very question, and she has some encouraging tips - mostly related to soup.

Phil Nolan via Flickr Creative Commons

New Year’s Eve is a day of indulgence, the last chance to gorge on delicious treats and beverages before cleaning the slate. What’s on your menu tonight? Does it involve kale or Siracha, or a Cronut? According to our guest J.M. Hirsch, food editor at the Associated Press, those were among the hottest foods of 2013.

Silicon Valley's New Product: Vegan Food

Dec 31, 2013
Hampton Creek Foods

With the world’s population growing larger every year, demand for meat, dairy and eggs is on rise. Some worry that the global demand for animal products will soon outstrip our ability to produce them. But one San Francisco startup thinks it can change the way we shop by convincing the meat-loving population that its vegan products are not only cruelty-free and environmentally sound, but cheaper and tastier than the real thing.

Healthnewsnet / Flickr Creative Commons

Since Edward Jenner’s discovery of a smallpox vaccine in the 18th century, vaccinations have at times been controversial. Today, while vaccines have been proven to inoculate against a host of dangerous diseases, the debate continues. We’ll look at what underlies this debate today.

GUESTS:

The Dartmouth Atlas

 A new study from the Dartmouth Atlas Project finds many children in northern New England receive potentially unneeded medical care that could have harmful side effects.

Researchers compared data for a range of care across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine for children under age 18.

David Grove via flickr Creative Commons

In 1984 Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act to address the nation’s critical organ donation shortage and improve the organ matching and placement process. The act made it illegal for anyone to give or acquire an organ for material gain. Now, almost three decades later, the act is making headlines again but this time in response to the push to rescind a ruling by the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit. The court ruled that certain types of bone marrow donors could be compensated. Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to overturn the decision, arguing that bone-marrow is subject to the 1984 act and as such, may not be compensated.

Dr. Sally Satel is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine; she examines mental health policy as well as political trends. She wrote the article “Why It’s Okay To Pay Bone-Marrow Donors” for Bloomberg.com.

Iqbal Osman via Flickr Creative Commons

In the new movie “Delivery Man,” Vince Vaughn discovers that his “donation” has been used hundreds of times without his knowledge. Far-fetched plot? Maybe not. The United States does not track sperm donations. We have no idea how many there are, how often they're donated, nor how many children are born from those donations. Rene Almeling is an assistant professor of sociology at Yale. She wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times about “The Unregulated Sperm Industry.”

Arnett Gill via Flickr Creative Commons

We all know laughter can be contagious. But can it be a good workout?  A form of therapy?  Even a skill?  Many happy devotees think, yes. Inspired in part by the growing popularity of laughter yoga, filmmaker and journalist Albert Nerenberg hosted the first official laughing contest in Montreal back in 2011. He’s also the director of the 2009 documentary, Laughology.

Rafael Viana Araujo via Flickr Creative Commons

You may be familiar with the ordeal of introducing children to broccoli and spinach.  Two new studies suggest that finicky eaters might have picked up their discriminating habit in the womb. Forget genetics, personal responsibility, and discipline. Your taste for junk food and soda may have a lot to do with how your mother satisfied her cravings.

Kristin Wartman, is a food, politics and health journalist. She recently wrote about the new science of food choices for the New York Times.

Star Trek's seemingly miraculous 'tricorder' is a device which can measure anything from a patient's vital signs to geological activity with the push of a button. Now, a company called Scanadu has developed a device called the 'Scout,' which they hope can be as useful for the health industry as tricorders were on the Enterprise. We talked with the company's co-founder to learn more. 

James A. Perkins via hepcni.net

Although new cases of Hepatitis-C have drastically decreased in the United States since peaking in the 1980’s, the blood-borne disease which primarily attacks and destroys the liver, kills more Americans annually than AIDS.

Andrew Pollack covers business and biotechnology for the New York Times. We read his article “Hepatitis-C, a Silent Killer, Meets Its Match,” in which Pollack describes a new series of treatments about to enter the market that could effectively do the impossible: wipe out Hep C.

If you’ve been following the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, you might be struggling to keep up with the twists and turns - from legislation passed in 2012 that barred creation of a state-run marketplace, to the thousands of letters Anthem Blue Cross mailed to policyholders this month, telling them their health plans did not meet the law’s coverage standards.

Pages