Jason Moon

Reporter

Before joining NHPR's newsroom in February of 2015, Jason held internships with a variety of public radio organizations including StoryCorps, Transom.org, and WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama. He studied philosophy, political science, and audio documentaries at Bennington College in Vermont.

Jason lives in New Hampshire's Upper Valley region and covers a variety of topics including health, and is the host and reporter behind Bear Brook, an investigative podcast. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Executive Council on Wednesday approved a contract worth more than $900 million for three companies to run the state's Medicaid program.

 

About 180,000 people in New Hampshire are insured by either Medicaid, or expanded Medicaid.

 

Two of the companies, Well Sense and New Hampshire Healthy Families, are already providing those services.

 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The state Office of Child Advocate has announced it is currently reviewing how the Department for Children Youth and Families handles cases of infants born exposed to drugs.

The Office of the Child Advocate says it opened the review in December of last year after it received concerns about how DCYF was handling the cases. In two cases in 2018 infants, died after DCYF closed assessments for neglect as unfounded.

Statewide, the state Child Advocate says there were 466 children involved in DCYF cases where there were indications that the child was born exposed to drugs.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Right now, around 50,000 people in New Hampshire get their health insurance through expanded Medicaid. As a creation of the Affordable Care Act, the program is designed to cover people who make too much money to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health insurance.

Beginning later this year, for some of those 50,000 people, there is a new string attached to that health insurance: a requirement they work at least 100 hours each month.

Jason Moon / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu signed three executive orders Tuesday designed to address recommendations from the state's new 10-year mental health plan.

One executive order creates a commission to study the intersection of mental illness and the justice system, including how the state can better treat inmates with mental illness so that they don't re-offend.

Jason Moon / NHPR

Earlier this month, a group of police officers, firefighters, and paramedics became the first in New Hampshire to complete an intensive course on how to react to people in mental health crisis. It brought together people with firsthand experience from both sides of that interaction.

Steve Smithe via Flickr

Multiple news agencies are reporting that drug company Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, is considering filing for bankruptcy. That could affect lawsuits against the drug maker here in New Hampshire.

Mia Phillips

Dogs from around the Northeast gathered in Tamworth last weekend – along with their owners - to take part in a decades-old winter tradition: the Tamworth Sled Dog Races. Organizers say the event goes back to 1937.

But poor weather conditions in recent years have canceled the race, leaving some to worry about the future of this winter classic.

Via NPR

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan was among the lawmakers asking questions of the nation's biggest drug companies in Washington today.

While much of the hearing before the Senate Finance Committee focused on the high price of prescription drugs in the U.S., Hassan focused her questions on the sales tactics the companies used when promoting opioids to doctors.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill to add new positions to the state’s cold case unit.

The bill would hire two new detectives to investigate cold cases and two new attorneys to prosecute them. The unit is currently staffed with one attorney and four detectives, two of whom work part-time.

The bipartisan bill comes after the federal money that helped launch the unit in 2009 was depleted.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate today unanimously approved a plan to spend more than $10 million to address a shortage of mental health beds in New Hampshire.

The money would pay for a number of efforts including renovations at existing hospitals to make room for inpatient psychiatric care, a new mobile mental health crisis unit, and new transitional housing for people who are released from inpatient psychiatric care.

NHPR Staff

The state senate yesterday unanimously passed two bills aimed at boosting mental health services and protecting vulnerable children.

The votes came on the same day Governor Chris Sununu was outlining his budget which looks to tackle some of the same issues.

One bill, passed Thursday, would add 77 positions to the Department for Children, Youth, and Families over the next two years. That's 15 more positions than Sununu called for in his speech.

PEXELS

New Hampshire's shortage of workers not only affects the state's overall economic growth, but it's also limiting access to health care services.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Bob MacLeod, the CEO of Mid-State Health Center in Plymouth, about how he's struggling to find enough primary care physicians to keep up with the demand.

This is a partial transcript from the interview. To hear the whole conversation, click on the audio above.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

A proposal to transfer jurisdiction of the state's only secure psychiatric unit to the Department of Health and Human Services went before lawmakers today.

For decades New Hampshire's secure psychiatric unit, or SPU, has been at the state prison. That means some patients who need secure treatment, but have committed no crime, have to get help behind prison walls.

New data shows a widespread shortage in health care workers across New Hampshire.

The data, released by the public health advocacy group New Futures, shows that across the state's 10 community mental health centers there are more than 200 open positions. That's an increase in vacancies of more than 20 percent over the past two years.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

An effort to undo a new work-requirement in the state's Medicaid expansion program went before lawmakers today.

The work requirement was part of a bipartisan compromise that re-authorized expanded Medicaid last session.

Starting next month some Medicaid Expansion recipients will need to complete 100 hours of work or volunteer work each month or risk losing their health coverage.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

An effort to fund new public health positions like a state toxicologist and a water quality analyst went before a Senate committee Tuesday.

The idea for the positions comes from the recommendations of two legislative commissions. One was set up to investigate a pediatric cancer cluster on the Seacoast. The other investigated environmentally triggered diseases more broadly.

Allison Quantz

State health officials are warning that New Hampshire is in the early stages of a Hepatitis A outbreak.

Thirteen people across southern New Hampshire have become infected by the virus over the past three months. That's already more cases than in the average year.

Hepatitis A is transmitted by ingesting small undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

Jason Moon / NHPR

Law enforcement officials and the families of murder victims testified on behalf of a bill that would expand the state's cold case unit Tuesday morning.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the federal money that helped launch the Cold Case Unit back in 2009 has run out and that dozens of investigations have suffered as a result.

Two of the state's largest hospitals are hoping to combine forces in a new healthcare network.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock and GraniteOne Health, an existing group that includes Catholic Medical Center, signed a letter of intent Thursday to combine under a new entity called Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne.

NHPR Photo

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services released the final version of the state's 10-year mental health plan. It outlines several steps, including action on the practice of boarding mental patients in emergency rooms when there is no immediate room at New Hampshire Hospital.

NHPR's Jason Moon discussed the report with All Things Considered Host Peter Biello.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the final version of a new 10-year plan for improving mental health services in the state. The plan, which gathered public input over a series of meetings last fall, calls for immediate action on a number of fronts, including the boarding of mental patients in emergency rooms and the state’s increasing suicide rate.

NHPR File Photo

A new bill would prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements in legal settlements involving public agencies or employees.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Representative Paul Berch, says people who bring suits against local or state government shouldn't be barred from speaking publicly about the dispute after a settlement.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has launched a new online crowdsourcing project with the goal of mapping every stone wall in the state.

The project is built around an online LiDAR map. 

Department of Human Health and Services

An attorney representing the families of two children in litigation against DCYF says a new report from the Office of the Child Advocate doesn't go far enough.

Rus Rilee represents the families of Brielle Gage and Sadee Willott, two toddlers who were killed by abusive mothers in separate incidents in 2014 and 2015. In both cases, abuse had been reported to the state's Division for Children Youth and Families.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Office of Child Advocate is calling for additional caseworkers and additional training at the Division of Children, Youth and Families. That was one of many recommendations from the OCA in its first annual report released Monday.

The Office of Child Advocate was created about a year ago in the wake of the deaths of two children at the hands of abusive parents. The deaths occurred despite the fact that both cases had been reported to DCYF.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A new report from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues the rollout of New Hampshire's work requirement for expanded Medicaid beneficiaries is doomed to the same problems that have hampered a similar policy in Arkansas.

Jason Moon / NHPR

A new state advisory council on opioid overprescribing will use data analysis to better understand the state's opioid crisis.

Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order creating the New Hampshire Opioid Overprescribing and Misuse Project Advisory Council Thursday afternoon. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Executive Council has approved a $4.4 million contract to fund a new behavioral health crisis treatment center.

The contract, awarded to Riverbend Community Health, will fund a 24/7 crisis center in Concord. It will provide short-term treatment to stabilize patients before connecting them with community mental health resources.

Riverbend CEO Peter Evers says the center will be an alternative to emergency rooms for first responders dropping off someone in a mental health crisis.

PublicDomainPictures.net

The New Hampshire Hospital Association has moved to intervene in a lawsuit against the state brought by the ACLU-NH.

The lawsuit addresses the current practice of emergency room boarding, where patients who are involuntarily committed for acute psychiatric treatment are sometimes held for weeks in emergency rooms without a probable cause hearing.

Manchester Superintendent Bolgen Vargas has abruptly resigned from his job leading the state’s largest school district.

In his resignation letter, Superintendent Vargas said only that “personal and professional” reasons were behind the move.

But some Manchester school board members, including Richard Girard, said a culture of constant bickering within their own ranks likely played a role in Vargas’ decision.

“There are all kinds of these petty little battles that just sap your will to live, let alone be a superintendent to schools,” said Girard.

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