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Whooping Cough Hits N.H.

Dec 26, 2012
CDC

Pertussis starts like a cold, but after a week or so, it leads to severe coughing fits that can take weeks to shake.  It’s also called ‘whooping cough’ because patients make a high-pitched whoop sound as they suck in air.

There are 222 confirmed cases in the state this year, the highest levels since 2006.

All Options On The Table For N.H. Health Exchange

Dec 24, 2012

The President’s health law wasn’t all that popular with New Hampshire House Republicans.  Among other actions last session, they passed a law prohibiting the state from managing its own health insurance exchange.

And for now, the state is moving forward with a marketplace run by the Federal government.

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:

Todd Bookman / NHPR

About 20 years ago, Bob Vecchiotti developed something called foot neuropathy. It’s a neurological condition that left his feet numb. Sometimes they would tingle or burn.

“But then the pain was getting to the point that I was losing concentration and sleep, and I decided we need to do more,” says Vecchiotti. “That’s when my primary care physician, working with a compound pharmacist, was able to come up with something that worked.”

Vecchiotti is a business consultant in Peterborough. He was somewhat skeptical of compounding.

N.H. Ranks Third In Overall Health

Dec 11, 2012

A new report from the Minnesota-based United Health Foundation ranks New Hampshire the third healthiest state in the nation.  That’s down a spot from last year. The report weights a variety of factors, including infant mortality, obesity, high school graduation rate and levels of violent crime.  Vermont ranked first in the nation for the sixth straight year.

Report: State Ranks Last In Anti-Smoking Efforts

Dec 7, 2012
Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report ranks New Hampshire last in the nation when it comes to funding anti-smoking programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual release says that New Hampshire allocated zero state funds for tobacco prevention efforts this fiscal year.

That’s despite the fact that the state collected more than $250 million dollars in tobacco tax revenue combined with the state’s portion of a 1998 settlement agreement.

Telemedicine In New Hampshire Gets Boost

Dec 6, 2012
Mercy Health / Flick/Creative Commons

Let’s say you are one of the 904 or so residents of Warren, New Hampshire. Let’s say you get sick.  Maybe you just started on a new prescription and are having unwanted side effects.

“Today, they have one of two options,” says Shawn Tester, who runs the day-to-day operations at Ammonousuc Community Health Services, which has five primary care clinics in Grafton and Coos County.

“They either do without. Or they have to travel, oh, I don’t know, 45 miles to our Littleton office to receive that consultative service.”

Kwiatkowski Pleads Not Guilty In Hep C Case

Dec 3, 2012

The former Exeter Hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak pleaded ‘not-guilty’ in Federal court today.

Prosecutor: Still More Work To Do In Hep C Case

Nov 29, 2012

Federal prosecutors say it could take a year or more before a trial in the Hepatitis C outbreak case begins. On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted 33-year old David Kwiatkowski on 14 charges, including tampering with a consumer product.

The former Exeter Hospital employee is accused of stealing syringes of a powerful pain medication, injecting himself, and then reusing the needles on patients.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas says the FBI and members of law enforcement continue to investigate the case.

Indictment Arrives For Hepatitis C Suspect

Nov 28, 2012

A former hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire is facing new federal charges.

State's Biggest Agency Asks For Budget Increase

Nov 27, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking for $321 million more to cover their programs for the next two years.   

Health Policy Gets Reboot After Election

Nov 19, 2012

President Obama’s re-election didn’t exactly smooth over implementation of his signature health care law. State governments across the nation maintain a solid level of anxiety over the bill.

Concord is no different…lawmakers like Republican Jeb Bradley expect to spend a lot of time grappling with the Affordable Care Act’s key provisions.

“The biggest single issue that this legislature in the upcoming two years will face is the expansion of Medicaid.”

Medicaid Expansion Under The Microscope

Nov 15, 2012
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report Thursday looking at Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.

Prescription drug abuse experts unveiled a new tool today to help lower opioid misuse in the state.

That new tool is a website containing information for doctors describing safe prescribing techniques and standards for pain management.

Dr. Seddon Savage, a chronic pain and addiction specialist at Dartmouth, says the cycle of abuse can start with a well-intentioned prescription.

Health Insurance Advisory Board Gets Going

Nov 13, 2012
istock photo

Back in June, the state legislature passed a law prohibiting the state from creating its own health exchange. Instead, New Hampshire will let the Federal government set it up.

But with big Democratic gains in last week’s election, the state is likely to play a bigger role in shaping the exchange.

In case you don’t remember, exchanges are those on-line marketplaces where people will shop for health insurance beginning in 2014.

Health Care On The Campaign Trail

Oct 26, 2012

Jobs and the economy continue to dominate on the campaign trail, from the national to the local level. But  government run health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare are also getting their fair share of attention. Major changes to both programs are potentially on the horizon.

With just over a week to go until the election, NHPR’s health reporter Todd Bookman has this overview of what’s at stake for Granite State voters. 

Ambernectar 13 via Flickr Creative Commons

Hospitals, advocates, and even formula manufacturers acknowledge that when it comes to newborns, “breast is best.”  And yet free samples of formula are ubiquitous inside many hospital walls – offered by nurses, doctors, or thrown in goodie bags for new mothers heading home after giving birth.  Now, some hospitals are calling for an in-house ban on free formula samples.  They say the relative ease of bottle-feeding may sway new nursing mothers to give

CDC Social Media / Flickr

A judge heard arguments today in a case involving patient medical records at Exeter Hospital. At issue is just how much access the state needs to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis C.

Back in August, Exeter Hospital filed a protective order arguing the state’s broad request for patient records violates both state and federal privacy laws.

In Merrimack Superior court, lawyers for the State countered, saying they have a duty to investigate exactly what happened inside the hospital, and that means they need complete access.

Number Of Meningitis Cases In State Jumps To Six

Oct 16, 2012
hitthatswitch / Flickr/Creative Commons

The number of cases of fungal meningitis in New Hampshire now stands at six. Public health officials today announced two more cases of the infection.

The patients all received tainted steroid injections manufactured by New England Compounding Company. The Massachusetts-based manufacturer has since recalled all of its products.

Skånska Matupplevelser via Flickr Creative Commons

There is something mysterious about root vegetables…that show of budding, flowering and forming fruit… ripe for the plucking plays out underground. you see the leaves, and maybe the broad shoulders of a beet, but you don’t know what you’ve got until pulling it out of the ground. Once exposed, we know what to do with a potato or carrot, but little about the furtive burdock root, salsify or malanga.  Diane Morgan digs deep into the secrets of this nutritious family of foods that are low in calories and easy on the wallet.

Obesity is on the rise here in New  Hampshire, a recent study finds that the U.S. population is gaining too much weight. New Hampshire's numbers are also increasing, with about 26% of Granite Staters now considered obese. Its also predicted that by the year 2030, more than half of this state's population will be obese. Today we'll look at this study and see what can be done to tip the scales in the opposite direction.

Guests

Any parent can tell you that sweet foods are an easier sell to kids than, say, sprouts or salad. But with more than a quarter of New Hampshire struggling with obesity, researchers at Keene State College are working on innovative ways to get children as young as three years old hooked on vegetables.

No patients in New Hampshire have tested positive for fungal meningitis as the national outbreak continues to grow.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sskennel/4526014600/">SSkennel</a> / Flickr

In a press conference at Exeter Hospital today, lawyers called the state’s request for broad access to medical records a government overreach. The state continues to investigate the Hepatitis C outbreak.

In August, Exeter Hospital filed a protective order in Merrimack Superior Court. It’s seeking to block the state’s request for broad access to patient medical records.

State officials investigating the outbreak of Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital continue pressing for access to patient medical records.

In August, the hospital went to court seeking a protective order, arguing that the Division of Public Health Services’ broad request for records violates both state and federal privacy laws.

Today, the state filed its response in Merrimack Superior Court. It says that healthcare providers are required to share information during a public health investigation.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiskeyandtears/2212224985/">whiskey and tears</a> / flickr

This week, New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services identified the season’s first case of influenza. Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance at DHHS, is encouraging Granite Staters to get vaccinated.

"It’s not too early to be vaccinated," Daly says, "and the flu vaccine this year does contain different strains of the virus, so it’s important that people be vaccinated this year even if they were vaccinated last year as well."  

Living with Lyme

Sep 17, 2012
fairfaxcounty via flickr creative commons

Recently, we learned on this program about the other tick-borne pathogens we should be worrying about beyond Lyme Disease. In the meantime, more and more people in New Hampshire are contracting Lyme. It’s a trend we’ve noticed even on Facebook, where many of our friends are posting about their positive test results, including Word of Mouth contributor Adam McCune…so we asked him to share his story.

Deadlines Loom in Health Plan Decision

Sep 12, 2012

A day after the primary elections, lawmakers were back at the statehouse discussing health insurance. At issue is what insurance companies will have to cover under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA calls for states to select something called a private insurance Essential Health Benefit benchmark by September 30th. Simply put, lawmakers in Concord need to pick an insurance plan that will serve as a model for most other insurance plans offered in the state.

And they have less than three weeks to do it.

In 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria began an article he titled “Laughter – The Best Medicine.” He found decades of research on the therapeutic effects of laughter and wanted to investigate further. He managed to convince four people at a public park in  Mumbai, India, to start a laughter club.  At first they used jokes, but when the jokes ran out, they began to laugh at nothing.

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