Medicaid

Residents of a Vermont nursing home are looking for new places to live after learning the facility is closing at the end of November.

The Valley News reports that Brookside Health and Rehabilitation Center in White River Junction notified residents Wednesday, five days after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would end payments for patient care at the 67-bed facility.

torbakhopper on Flickr

New Hampshire’s Medicaid program will no longer ban insurance coverage for sex reassignment surgery.

Until now, New Hampshire's Medicaid program explicitly blocked such coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services asked lawmakers for permission to take out the language, citing anti-discrimination mandates within the Affordable Care Act. 

New Hampshire lawmakers are getting more information about their options as they consider the fate of the state's expanded Medicaid program.

Medicaid expansion, made possible through President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, subsidizes health care for low-income people. Federal officials recently expressed concern that the state may be out of compliance with federal rules because it relied on voluntary contributions from insurance companies and hospitals to cover some of the state's costs to put people on private insurance.

New Hampshire is once again trying to be the first state to get federal approval to add work requirements to its Medicaid expansion program. This comes a year after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected a similar request — albeit under a different administration.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers said he made multiple attempts throughout 2016 to clarify whether the federal government approved of New Hampshire’s use of provider donations to fund its current Medicaid expansion plan — but the agency never gave him a definitive "yes" or "no" answer last year.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: August 18, 2017

Aug 17, 2017

Continued fallout and reactions to events in Charlottesville, VA, dominate the headlines this week. New Hampshire politicians respond to the President’s ambiguous statements on white supremacy. And yes, there are white supremacists here in New Hampshire. 

In other news, the federal government says New Hampshire's Medicaid funding mechanism might be illegal. Manchester is considering filing its own lawsuit against an opioid company for its alleged role in the state opioid crisis.


Work requirements under the federal health insurance program Medicaid are based on a simple premise: If you want to receive government assistance for your healthcare and you’re able to work, you should work.

Crotched Mountain Foundation

Crotched Mountain Foundation's board voted Monday to close its longtime specialty hospital in Greenfield, likely by the end of August.

josh rogers/nhpr

Budget writers in the New Hampshire Senate are predicting Medicaid caseload will drop over the next two years.  But underestimating caseloads in the program that benefits the poor helped cause the current state budget shortfall.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will be in Concord Wednesday as part of a multi-state ‘listening session' on the opioid epidemic.

Thomas Fearon

Every day, an email goes out to leaders in New Hampshire’s mental health system. It gives an updated count on the number of people in immediate need of inpatient psychiatric care, but are being denied that care because of a shortage of beds in New Hampshire hospitals.

On February 20th of this year, that email contained a staggering number: 68 adults and children were being housed in hospital emergency rooms and hallways because of a lack of available beds. It was a new high.

Allegra Boverman for New Hampshire Public Radio

For conservatives, the idea makes common sense: Require people who receive government assistance, such as food stamps, to hold a job or engage in community service.  Opponents, however, say this ignores challenges facing a population already weighed down by poverty. A bill in the Senate, SB7, would change income eligibility for food stamps, and includes some work requirements.  Opponents say it would exclude thousands of Granite Staters in need of assistance, but supporters argue it focuses on those truly in need.  


AARP Takes Stand Against GOP Healthcare Overhaul

Mar 10, 2017

AARP is taking a stand against the proposed healthcare overhall making its way through the House of Representatives.

AARP claims 233,000 members in New Hampshire, and the group says it basically doesn't like anything about the bill proposed by Congressional Republicans. On a conference all with reporters Thursday, AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner said the bill would downshift the cost of healthcare to families and state government.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Hospital Association has won a court case against the federal government. It could mean more public money going to hospitals to cover the cost of providing uncompensated care.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  With the future of Obamacare unclear, and GOP talk of converting Medicaid, which serves 186,000 people in New Hampshire, to a block grant system, Senator Hassan is reminding colleagues past and present that she sees changes to the program, particularly the end of expanded Medicaid, a grave threat.

NHPR Staff

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are considering transforming  Medicaid - which provides health services to millions of low income people - to a block grant program. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is pitching the potential change as a way to better serve local needs, but it’s also one that carries risk.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program has been a success. That conclusion is a shift from his prior statements about the program, which has provided health insurance to more than 50,000 Granite Staters.

U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Viramontes, Wikimedia Commons

Adults with developmental disabilities in New Hampshire have long struggled to find adequate support once they leave the school system. This legislative season, lawmakers will vote on a bill that would give a 2% raise to workers who care for these Granite Staters - with the aim of boosting the workforce serving this population.  

Petty Officer 2nd Class Tiarra Fulgham; Wikimedia Commons

Adults with developmental disabilities are provided government assistance, including services they used to get from the school system as children. But for years, there's been a waiting list for that help, despite political promises and attempts at reform.  We ask why the state keeps falling short for these adults and their families.

Producer's Note: Read our additional coverage of this show. 


Thomas Fearon

 

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services says personal information for as many as 15,000 clients has been breached.

 

Names, addresses, social security numbers and Medicaid ID numbers were stolen, with some information posted on social media sites.

 

The agency says a patient at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Concord accessed the information in October, 2015 through a computer in the facility’s library.

 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The federal government released data today on the impacts of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire.

The big picture is the uninsured rate in New Hampshire is down 43 percent since before the law went into effect. That means 63,000 people have gained coverage in the state through the Affordable Care Act.

About two-thirds of the newly insured bought coverage through Healthcare.gov, and the rest have signed up for the state's expanded Medicaid program, which provides insurance for low-income people.

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, last year New Hampshire hospitals had 64 so-called adverse events - preventable accidents that harm patients.

The federal government has said no to New Hampshire's attempt to make Medicaid recipients prove they're working, or a so-called work requirement.

When the state legislature re-authorized expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, there was a catch: Republicans pushed for a rule that would require Medicaid recipients to prove they were employed or looking for work, a measure that needed federal approval.

Prescription Drug Treatment Info / Flickr/CC

Starting this month, the state’s more than 140,000 Medicaid recipients are eligible for substance abuse disorder benefits.

The expansion went into effect Friday.

The benefit was already available to the 49,000 people who enrolled as part of the state’s Medicaid expansion program launched two years ago.

Lawmakers reauthorized the program earlier this year.

Jack Rodolico

When Jen Howe woke up on Monday, she wasn’t planning on being back in the surgeon’s office. She’s laid out on a table, and the nurse reminds her to relax, and breathe.

Howe had an abdominal surgery two weeks ago. The incision is just below her waistline. Dr Krzysztof Plociennik is probing two inches into the wound, poking at a hard spot until blood squirts out of the wound.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The powerful Senate Finance Committee is preparing to offer a recommendation on a proposal to continue Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.

The committee, which is joining with members of the Senate's health committee, will decide whether to support or oppose the plan Monday. The committee can also make changes to the plan.

After the committee vote, the bill heads to the Senate floor. If it passes without changes, it goes on to Gov. Maggie Hassan's desk.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A mix of 12 Republicans and Democrats from the North Country agreed on the need to pass a bill that would continue Medicaid for the next two years.

That reflected the tone at the House on Wednesday, where HB 1696  passed 216 - 145, NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reported.

Jack Rodolico

Lexi Gerkin is 14 years old. She has a number of complex disabilities and medical conditions, and she’s been without nursing for four months. And Lexi’s mother, Audrey Gerkin, is hopeful that higher pay rates for pediatric nurses will make it easier to find in-home care for her daughter.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Despite Tuesday's primary wrapping up late Tuesday night, the New Hampshire House returned to business the very next morning.

Lawmakers had a slate of bills on the docket Wednesday from continuing Medicaid expansion for another two years, to funding full-day kindergarten.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

As the sunset for New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion approaches, state legislators are debating how best, or whether, to extend the program. And while the prospect of dropping 47,000 Granite Staters who receive this coverage is daunting, some lawmakers are worried about how to fund it when federal support decreases.

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