Healthcare | New Hampshire Public Radio

Healthcare

Courtesy of Dianne Connelly

Editor's note: Scroll to the end of this story to read our response to N.H. Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette's recent statements on NHPR’s reporting on COVID-19 and the state's long-term care facilities.

The last time Dianne Connelly hugged her mother, Anita Goodwin, was March 13. Had she known what the next few months would bring, she would have held on a little bit longer.

Losses Mount For N.H. Hospitals As COVID-19 Disrupts Healthcare Industry

Aug 10, 2020

New Hampshire hospitals have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to COVID-19. Now, they may have to make cuts.

Daniela Allee, NHPR

Update, June 26: Nashua's Division of Public Health has moved its testing site to the parking lot of the Nashua Public Library as of Thursday, June 25. Tests will continue every Thursday there from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Since early May, health worker Lisa Vasquez has spent most of her Thursday afternoons in the parking lot of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga Church in Nashua — which, at 3 p.m. on those days, transforms into a COVID-19 testing site.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A judge sided with plaintiffs Thursday in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by the ACLU-NH against the state of New Hampshire.

Courtesy of Caly Duquette

Many businesses across New Hampshire are closed right now because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But some are busier than ever.

Birthing centers are in that last group. The small, midwife-led facilities are getting inundated with calls from expectant parents. The new patients say they’re concerned that the hospital will no longer be a safe place to deliver their baby so they’re looking to change their birth plan.

But all this new attention is putting a strain on midwives as they try to maintain a more personalized birth experience.

Tomasz Sienicki/Wikimedia Commons

As hospitals take steps to prepare for a wider outbreak of coronavirus in New Hampshire, industry experts say the virus will take a toll on their balance sheets.

Geoff Forester / Concord Monitor

Health care providers across New Hampshire are adjusting to a new coronavirus reality. They’re also preparing for an even bleaker possible future – one that includes a surge in patients requiring critical care as the virus continues to spread.

From the state’s biggest hospitals, to community health centers, to local doctors’ offices, medical facilities in New Hampshire are taking dramatic steps to keep their patients, and their employees, safe from the coronavirus.

CDC

State health officials are monitoring two potential cases of coronavirus in New Hampshire.

The individuals developed respiratory symptoms after recent travel to Wuhan, China. They are in isolation and are undergoing testing, according to the state health department.

 

 


Note: This story has been updated.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department found what it calls “a warning sign” during an investigation into whether insurance carriers in the state are following a federal law that requires insurers to cover mental health services as they would any other medical services.

Medicare: How Well Is It Actually Working?

Jan 22, 2020

"Medicare-for-all" is a phrase we hear a lot lately on the presidential trail, but we're taking a step back to talk about how Medicare, which was designed to provide health insurance for older Americans and those with disabilities, has evolved since its creation. We look at how Medicare is working now. 

Original air date: Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

Children were restrained or secluded more than 20,000 times in residential youth behavioral health facilities in New Hampshire over a five year period from 2014 to 2018. That’s the finding of a new report from the Office of the Child Advocate, an independent watchdog agency that oversees the state’s Division for Children, Youth, and Families.

NHPR File

A Grafton Superior Court judge has denied Littleton Regional Healthcare's request for an injunction related to the opening of a private urgent care facility in town.

PEXELS

A Grafton Superior Court judge says he'll rule later on an injunction filed by Littleton Regional Healthcare related to the opening of an urgent care facility in the town.

Littleton Regional filed the injunction in October against the Department of Health and Human Services, after the commissioner determined that there would be no adverse effect on the hospital if a ConvenientMD clinic opened less than 3 miles away.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

A committee of New Hampshire House lawmakers is calling for the repeal of the state's Medicaid work requirement.

Disparities in healthcare quality and outcomes for gender (including people who are transgender) and race are receiving more attention: for example, recent reports show black women have much higher mortality rates during and after pregnancy, and women and people of color receive less medical intervention for pain management and cardiovascular care. We discuss the history, systems, and personal biases that contribute, in a multitude of ways, to these disparities. 

Original air date: September 16, 2019 at 9 a.m. 

Disparities in healthcare quality and outcomes for gender (including people who are transgender) and race are receiving more attention: for example, recent reports show black women have much higher mortality rates during and after pregnancy, and women and people of color receive less medical intervention for pain management and cardiovascular care. We discuss the history, systems, and personal biases that contribute, in a multitude of ways, to these disparities. 

Original air date: September 16, 2019 at 9 a.m. 

Courtesy Photo, MCC

River Valley Community College is developing a new program to train licensed practical nurses.

The LPN program would be offered at the Lebanon and Keene campuses, starting in January, if approved by the state’s Board of Nursing.

In 2018, there were about 1,200 openings for LPNs, according to the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security.  

Licensed practical nurses work under the supervision of physicians and registered nurses. They can collect patient data and provide some treatment. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

As a new work requirement for beneficiaries of New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid program takes effect this month, some in the healthcare industry say early signs are pointing to a bumpy road ahead.

Senator Maggie Hassan was one of a group of bipartisan lawmakers who introduced a bill on Thursday designed to stop surprise medical billing.

The plan would set up an arbitration process where medical providers and insurers could work out who pays for an out-of-network visit without involving the patient.

“That's really the key part of our legislation,” said Hassan at a press conference in Washington, D.C., “taking the patient out of these payment disputes between plans and providers.”

Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said the ripple effects of opioid addiction will be felt for generations. 

She joined NHPR's The Exchange Monday to discuss the federal and state responses to the crisis, as well as the role the FDA may have played in either "wittingly or unwittingly" encouraging overprescribing of opioids. 

Listen to the full interview here, or watch a video of the program below

Hassan also addressed climate change -- she prefers a series of steps, rather than the sweeping Green New Deal. And she's concerned about the possible impact of  Medicare for all proposals now under discussion.

"As you transition people from one system to the next, it can be very disruptive...especially if you're somebody with complex medical needs," she said.

NHPR Staff

A battle is brewing over the state's new Medicaid "community engagement requirement," which requires certain beneficiaries of Medicaid to engage in various activities, including attending school or holding a job in order to receive coverage.  

New Hampshire is one of a handful of states with this type of arrangement, often called a "work requirement."

Sara Plourde For NHPR

New Hampshire has joined a handful of states that mandate some Medicaid recipients to engage in certain activities: for example, a job, school, or community services. But recent federal changes tightening certain aspects of the program, as well as proposed legislation, have renewed debate over the Granite State's approach. 

File Photo, NHPR

A number of affiliated North Country hospitals are pledging to continue working together despite a recent decision by the group's largest member, Littleton Regional Healthcare, to go its own way.

The hospitals include Androscoggin Valley in Berlin, Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, and Upper Connecticut Valley in Colebrook.

They came together less than four years ago in an attempt to cut costs and keep care accessible to the largely rural communities they serve.

North Country Hospital Group Loses Largest Member

Feb 21, 2019
Allison Quantz | NHPR

Littleton Regional Healthcare has announced plans to pull out of an affiliation agreement with three Coos County medical centers.

The hospitals formally joined together less than four years ago under a non-profit umbrella organization, North Country Healthcare, in an attempt to cut costs and improve accessibility of care for patients.  

A New National Strategy for Managing Pain

Feb 4, 2019
U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham)

In the midst of the opioid epidemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is addressing the need for alternative pain management. The department recently released a draft federal report on best practices — and opened a public comment period. Pain specialists recommend an interdisciplinary approach, combining physical treatments, pharmacology and mental health therapy. Many Granite Staters encounter hurdles with insurance coverage, access to health care providers, and stigma in treating their pain holistically.

We talk to physicians about the best approaches to acute and chronic pain. We also hear how health insurance companies are adjusting coverage to meet changing trends in pain management.

  

The six-week window for people who buy their own health insurance through the Affordable Care Act begins Thursday.

Three insurance companies—Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter—are offering a total of 17 different plans in New Hampshire.

Even if you like your current plan, consumers are encouraged to shop around as prices and policies tend to shift from year to year. Overall, premiums for 2019 are down slightly from current rates.

The open enrollment window runs through December 15th.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

 

Chris Pappas, Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District, says we bipartisan legislation is needed to bring down insurance costs, and that patient protections will rein in profit-driven insurance companies.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with Pappas on health care policy in our final interview for this series. In the past two weeks, All Things Considered spoke with all of New Hampshire's gubernatorial and Congressional candidates.

[This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.]

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Republican candidate in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District Eddie Edwards says he supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. For people who currently rely on expanded Medicaid, he says, increasing access to insurers across the country would bring down costs.

All Things Considered Host Peter Biello spoke with Edwards about healthcare policy. All Things Considered is speaking with all congressional candidates this week.

(This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster says if she is re-elected, her proposals for healthcare in New Hampshire, including a plan for Medicare expansion, will increase access and stabilize health insurance markets.

All Things Considered Host Peter Biello spoke with Kuster, incumbent in the 2nd Congressional District, on healthcare policy. All Things Considered is speaking with all Congressional candidates this week.

(This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Republican candidate in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District Steve Negron says he does not think the government should be in the business of healthcare, although he supports federal funding for Medicaid to help needy populations. 

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Negron about healthcare policy. All Things Considered is speaking will all congressional candidates in the New Hampshire this week.

(This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

If you are elected to Congress how would you tackle the state's opioid crisis?

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