Healthcare

Britta Greene / NHPR

Dr. Anna Konopka, a physician in New London, surrendered her medical license in October to settle allegations from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. Months later, she’s still fighting to reopen her doors.

As her battle plays out in the courts, many of her patients are struggling to find a new primary care doctor. Many of them are low income and reliant on pain medication day-to-day.

The Single-Payer Healthcare Debate Revisited

Dec 13, 2017
Reese Brown; U.S. Army

With uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act's future, and Congressional inaction on an alternative, some lawmakers in D.C. and New Hampshire are re-branding an old idea: government-financed universal healthcare.  We look at the pros and cons from a medical and budgetary perspective.

GUESTS:

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Dr. Anna Konopka, a New London doctor who's been fighting in the courts to reopen her practice, was dealt another disappointment this week. In a decision released Wednesday, a judge in Merrimack County Superior Court denied her motion to have her case reconsidered.

The news comes after Konopka learned just last week that she's under investigation by her local police department. The details of that investigation remain unclear. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

A judge in Merrimack County Superior Court has dismissed a case brought by a New London doctor who said she was forced to close her practice under pressure from the state.

Dr. Anna Konopka agreed to surrender her license this fall to settle allegations from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. The details of those allegations are sealed, but Konopka admits she failed to use an online database required for doctors prescribing opioids. In her mid-80s, Konopka does not use a computer.

In the past few months, the Manchester VA Medical Center met with scandal, disaster, and a full helping of public outcry. Today on Word of Mouth, NHPR's Peter Biello looks back on the summer's news and tells the story of one woman's effort to improve hospital facilities for survivors of military sexual trauma. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Dr. Anna Konopka’s medical office sits just across the driveway from her house, tucked along the shore of Pleasant Lake in New London. There’s no cell service, no wifi. Her phone rings off the hook.

At 85, she’s set to close her practice Friday, but the move is not voluntary. She says she’s being forced to shut down by a system that no longer values the type of patient-centered medicine that she practices.  

The New Hampshire Board of Medicine has a different take. They’re challenging her medical decision-making and other fundamental aspects of her work.

Franchise Opportunities; Flickr

After the Graham-Cassidy Bill proposed by Republicans -- their latest Repeal and Replace effort -- failed to garner enough votes recently, patients, healthcare providers, and insurers still face plenty of uncertainty before open enrollment begins November 1. Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders's single-payer proposal continues to gain fans. We'll get the latest on how national politics is shaping the health care debate across the country.  

GUEST:

elliothospital.org

At the first of two public forums Wednesday night in Manchester, the heads of Elliot and Southern New Hampshire Health Systems took questions on what their proposed partnership would mean for patients, staff and the region's healthcare landscape.

Peter Biello

The Boston Globe published revelations on Saturday of dangerous delays in care and unsanitary conditions at the Manchester VA Medical Center.

Recently, VA Secretary David Shulkin told a Senate Committee that an important program designed to help veterans get care at private hospitals was running out of money sooner than expected. He was talking about the Veterans Choice program.

Meanwhile, here in New Hampshire, the program has slowly required more and more administrative help from employees at the Manchester VA. Assistant Director of the medical center, Kevin Forest, recently said as much to the State Veterans Advisory Committee.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: June 30th, 2017

Jun 30, 2017

Governor Sununu and other New Hampshire lawmakers announced their opposition to the proposed healthcare bill from the U.S. Senate.  "Keno-garten" comes to the Granite State, but critics worry the new funding from the electronic gambling game Keno won't be enough for widespread full-day kindergarten programs. And Mayor Ted Gatsas of Manchester announces his re-election campaign, amongst some controversy. 


Ben Henry

An assessment of the quality of care provided to military veterans at the VA hospital in White River Junction, Vermont, has found that management and staff failed on numerous occasions to follow best practices to keep patients safe.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

  New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster is calling on Republican House leaders to withdraw their health care reform bill.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would increase the number of people without insurance by 14 million in the first year, and 24 million by 2026.

Speaking to NHPR's Morning Edition, Kuster said she's not surprised White House officials are disputing the figures released Monday.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Hospital Association says a federal court ruling last week means state budget writers owe hospitals $80 million on top of what the governor has already proposed. But the head of the house finance committee disagrees. 

Fabienne D. via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/UnAHZ

The opioid epidemic profoundly affects families, communities, law enforcement and puts doctors and hospital staff on the front lines of addiction. Today, a physician and ethicist makes a radical suggestion - let addicts shoot up in the hospital.

Then, for most people who sustain traumatic injuries from bullets or car crashes death occurs within an hour. Now, what seems like a miracle cure is freighted with questions of consent, ethics and racism in a country with a sordid history of medical experiments on African Americans.

NHHealthCost.org

A state website that helps people compare prices across healthcare facilities relaunched this week with an expanded library of medical procedures and new information on hospital-quality measures.

The new version of NHHealthCost.Org features 31 additional medical procedures, including physical therapy, behavioral health and chiropractic care. Cost estimates for 16 dental procedures are now available, as well as new information on the retail price of 65 brand-name and generic drugs.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

As the New Hampshire legislature debates whether to extend expanded Medicaid, house lawmakers continue to question whether the state will get a return on its investment. After two days of work sessions, the House Finance Committee heard its final testimony Wednesday before its scheduled to vote.

Allegra Boverman

For the first time in its 100 year history, Planned Parenthood has endorsed a candidate in a presidential primary: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton officially accepted the endorsement yesterday afternoon in Manchester. NHPR’s Natasha Haverty reports.


Checking Up on the Affordable Care Act in N.H.

Dec 15, 2015
Morgan / Flickr/CC

As another health insurance enrollment period comes to end, the conversation continues about whether or not the affordable care act is working for individuals and employers in the state. We take stock of who's getting insured, what's on the horizon for Medicaid expansion, and whether the economics of the law are bringing down costs as intended. 

 

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9.28.15: White Lies, Pill Trackers, & Man Buns

Sep 28, 2015
Paweł Marciniak via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/zfPq8

Among the choices for the 2015 edition of the Best American Poetry, a poem by Yi-Fen Chou.  The problem? The author was actually a white guy using a made-up name. Today, white privilege in the poetry world, and the editor who defended his use of racial nepotism. Then, since airline de-regulation in the 1970s, legroom and seat width have measurably decreased, leading to cramped misery in economy-class cabins. But is it a human rights issue? One organization says yes. 

Morgan / Flickr/CC

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.

GaborfromHungary / Morguefile

When babies are born sick or underweight, they’re often moved to neonatal intensive care units. A new study by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice has found that admission rates for to intensive care units, or NICUs, are increasing for newborns of all weights. That's raising questions about whether babies are receiving expensive medical care they do not need. 

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Wade Harrison, the lead author of this study.

Audio will be available after 6 p.m., Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Jack Rodolico

The state is giving a first look at insurance networks for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act.

Every hospital in the state will be covered by at least two of the insurance plans that will be sold on Healthcare.gov in 2016. There will also be an uptick in the total number of plans over this year.

Connor Tarter / Flickr/cc

New Hampshire’s Health Protection Program faces sunset in twenty sixteen unless the legislature votes to extend it. We’ll find out more. Then later – a new, national report ranks colleges based on the economic value of their degrees and a New Hampshire Community college tops the list.

Jack Rodolico

Last April, the news broke that 40 veterans had died while waiting for medical care from a VA Hospital in Arizona. That provoked a national outcry at long wait times for sick vets.

Congress passed a $16.3 billion law to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Administration, and a crucial aspect of that law is now unfolding in New Hampshire. The idea is for the VA to pay for medical treatment outside the VA system.

Saturday marked the beginning of the second round of open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. And in New Hampshire that means a lot more options this time around for the nearly 100,000 residents without insurance.

Here's the problem: five insurers offering forty plans, each with varying premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays. Who could blame you for being confused?

Vanderbuilt.edu

When her son came home from school one day last March, Jessica Giberson was disturbed. She noticed her son’s genitals were bruised and swollen. Giberson’s son is developmentally delayed.  

"He is nine years old. He’s more like a three year old in a nine year old’s body," says Giberson.

Giberson says she complained to the Crotched Mountain Foundation School, but that nothing ever came of it. Then in June, she got a call from the school.

Maine Community Health Options

One of the new insurers set to begin offering plans on New Hampshire’s health care exchange next year announced its rates Thursday.

Maine Community Health Options is one of five insurance companies offering plans in 2015.

The non-profit, member-run co-op, was the first to announce its rates, saying it will offer ten different plans and will include all of the state’s 26 hospitals in its provider network.

Dr. John Yindra, the company’s Chief Medical Officer, says people with chronic conditions will be able to choose from a range of plans, and costs should be low.

Some Who Benefit Remain Unsold On Obamacare

Oct 16, 2014
Jack Rodolico

Yusuf Valera resents that he has to buy health insurance. He’s never had it, and he says he doesn’t want it now.

"I don’t have much of a choice. If I don’t do it, then they’re going to take money out of my taxes anyway," Valera says.

The irony is Valera stands to gain - in a big way - from the Affordable Care Act. Yet like most New Hampshire residents, he simply doesn't like the law.

EEE Claims Second Life In N.H.

Oct 15, 2014
Mr.Ripp

State health officials say a New Hampshire resident has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.

The Manchester resident was likely exposed to EEE in August, then passed away in September. This is the second EEE-related death and the third human case of EEE this year.

The virus spreads from birds to humans through mosquito bites. Symptoms come on like the flu, then in some people lead to encephalitis, or severe brain swelling.

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