Health

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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. 

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Cancer has traditionally been treated with some combination of radiation and chemotherapy. But these treatments, which often cause pain and take a great deal of time to complete, don't necessarily increase the quality of a patient's remaining years.

But new treatments are emerging that approach cancer in different ways, and Granite Geek David Brooks is here to discuss them.

Listen to the conversation:

Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

At least for now, New Hampshire seems to be in a better position than other states to weather a lapse in federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, after Congress failed to reauthorize it by last week’s deadline.

NAMI New Hampshire, via Facebook

Just three days ago, New Hampshire set a grim record: 74 adults and kids stuck waiting in ERs across the state because there wasn’t a place for them to get mental health treatment. That’s the highest number since advocates started tracking.

New Hampshire officials are welcoming an expansion to a substance use disorder treatment center in the northern part of the state.

The Friendship House facility in Bethlehem provides housing, treatment and support services for people suffering from an addiction. Federal, state and local officials are gathering at the site Friday.

There also are Friendship House outpatient satellite sites in Berlin, Colebrook, North Conway, Tamworth and Woodsville.

New Hampshire has one of the highest drug overdose rates nationally.

An analyst hired by the state to study trends in its insurance markets told lawmakers on Wednesday that people who receive subsidies to help pay for coverage on the individual market are likely to pay about the same — maybe even less — for coverage next year, on average. But people who don’t receive subsidies could see an average increase of 52 percent.

Repetitive hits, which do not cause concussion symptoms, may be causing long term harm in athletes who participate in contact sports up to the age of 12, according to a new study from Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

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.

Centers for Disease Control

Over the last week, state health officials have detected West Nile Virus in mosquito samples from Brentwood, Madbury, and Rye.

Sarah MacGregor, president of Dragon Mosquito Control says in response her crews have sprayed for mosquitoes near schools and in public parks in Rye. Her company is working with the other towns as well.

“The past three weeks we’ve seen an increase in the mosquito population, particularly in the Seacoast – which, we’d want to see mosquitoes waning this time of year.”

School districts, municipalities and other community groups across New Hampshire are in line to receive a boost of federal funding for programs related to fighting the opioid crisis. 

In all, local groups are slated to collectively receive more than $2 million, most of it coming from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 

Thomas Fearon

The Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services is preparing for a new role: CEO of New Hampshire Hospital. But it won’t be Shibinette’s first time working there.

One of her first jobs out of nursing school was as a charge nurse and relief shift supervisor, working primarily with geriatric patients at Thayer Building, part of the hospital campus.

At least 226 people have died from drug overdoses in New Hampshire so far this year. That number is likely to grow, with at least 100 more likely drug deaths still awaiting review by the state medical examiner.

Echoing a pattern we've seen for the last few years, fentanyl is responsible for most of the deaths seen so far in 2017 — almost three-quarters, to be exact.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Community health centers in New Hampshire — and nationwide – are bracing for the possible loss of millions of dollars in federal funding if Congress doesn’t take action by the end of this month.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a quick trip to New Hampshire Thursday afternoon to announce $200 million in federal grants targeting community health centers, to increase access to mental health and opioid abuse services.

istock photo

A new report commissioned by the New Hampshire Insurance Department shows that the people covered by New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program are younger — but also more expensive — than expected. That’s raising new questions for lawmakers to consider as they grapple with how the program should continue beyond its current expiration date at the end of 2018.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Earlier this year, the legislature passed a package of reforms meant to expand access to mental health treatment. New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services is having mixed success soliciting vendors to oversee those changes — they’ve received multiple proposals for some projects but none for others.

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.

James Jordan / Flickr CC

A person in Hanover has tested positive for a rare mosquito-borne illness called the Jamestown Canyon Virus, but health officials are stressing this is a sign to take precautions against arboviral illnesses of all kinds.

istock photo

It's looking like New Hampshire customers buying individual plans on the state's health insurance exchange will have their choice of three carriers next year: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter. 

Garrett Vonk

New Hampshire has a long history of coming up with solutions to fund its Medicaid program that — depending on how you look at it — are either creative or a little crooked. The most recent example can be seen in the plan lawmakers came up with to fund the state’s share of Medicaid expansion for the last two years.

Federal officials have warned New Hampshire that the funding structure underlying the state’s Medicaid expansion plan might be invalid — and they’re giving state officials until the end of next year to fix it, or risk losing future federal funding for the program. 

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New Hampshire's Attorney General made waves earlier this week when it brought its first lawsuit against a pharmaceutical giant, Purdue, over its alleged role in the state’s opioid crisis. But this is just the latest in a decades-long trend of states taking big industries to court.

istock photo

Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny says he can’t remember another time when trying to map out New Hampshire insurance markets was quite as tricky as it is today.

“This kind of uncertainty is unprecedented,” Sevigny said Tuesday, when asked to put this year’s marketplace planning into context. 

istock photo

After failing to make a decision one way or another last week, a small group of state legislators could weigh in today on whether to give an initial green light to a plan from the New Hampshire Insurance Department meant to help prevent steep rate increases.

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

Dean Kamen brought the world the Segway and helped to transform New Hampshire's Millyard from a hollowed-out manufacturing strip to a growing tech hub. Now, he's setting his sights on making Manchester a hub for a whole new field of medicine.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu said he was “incredibly disappointed” after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act came to a halt late Thursday night in Washington.

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.

elliothospital.org

The public will have a first chance this week to talk face-to-face with leaders of Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Health System about their plans to create a new regional hospital system.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Lawmakers approved a new rule designed to grant more due process rights to mental health patients who are transferred to the state prison. But as advocates for mental health reform argued these new protections should not have to exist in the first place.

Garrett Vonk

Three years after the state reached a major legal settlement meant to reform its mental health system, both the outside reviewer hired to monitor the state’s progress and the advocacy organization that sued on patients’ behalf say there’s still significant work to be done.

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