We are deeply disappointed that the draft legislation put forth by the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to threaten millions of Americans who are depending on them to maintain the vital health coverage they and their families depend on, including tens of thousands of Granite State residents who obtain their coverage through Medicaid, the Exchange or who are assured coverage protections due to a pre-existing condition or life time limits.

We believe that the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) needs to be reviewed through the eyes of the patient and the caregivers that take care of them, and make protecting health care coverage for our most vulnerable citizens a higher priority.  We remain opposed to the BCRA as released and urge the Senate to start over and create a new version of legislation that protects coverage for those who have it and provides coverage for those who need it most. 

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

The latest score released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the House version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, solidifies our concerns that it will result in millions of Americans losing the health insurance coverage that they depend on to help them get the right care, at the right time, at the right place. 

The AHCA will leave 23 million more people uninsured, including the tens of thousands of Granite State residents who were able to secure vital health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.  In addition, AHCA would cut Medicaid funding by $834 billion over the next ten years and would continue to cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements from hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026, negatively impacting their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them every day.  

CBO’s latest score of the AHCA does nothing but reinforce our concerns that it jeopardizes health care coverage for millions of our most vulnerable citizens.  We will continue to work with Congress to support legislation that protects coverage for those who have it and provides coverage for those who need it most. 

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

Every year, we come together for National Hospital Week, one of the nation’s largest health care events, to celebrate all those individuals who deliver quality, compassionate health care to their patients every day.

This year, National Hospital Week runs May 7th – 13th and provides us with the opportunity to say thank you to all of those individuals who play such an important role in the care that is delivered not only within their walls, but within their communities as well.  From physicians and nurses to administrators and volunteers, hospitals care for our family, friends and neighbors in times of sickness and in health 365 days a year.

In addition to our hospitals, we celebrate National Nurses Week, May 6th – 12th,  in honor of those at the front lines, leading the charge to health and wellness.   We extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our nurses for their dedication to their patients and their profession, and to delivering compassionate care when their patients need it most.

We are humbled by all those in the healthcare field who deliver compassionate, high quality care to patients and their families, and their unwavering commitment to serving their communities as places of health, healing and hope.

So please join us in thanking the many individuals who give their all to their neighbors. From providing medical care in our facilities to running vital programs in our community, we are extremely proud to support those who are committed to the health and well-being of New Hampshire.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

We are deeply disappointed in the vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today in the House of Representatives, as it will result in millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Granite State residents losing the health insurance coverage that they depend on to help them get the right care, at the right time, at the right place. 

The AHCA will continue to cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements from hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026 that would be devastating to their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them. It downshifts costs to the states through the imposition of Medicaid block grants, which underfund the cost of providing care to Medicaid patients and undermine New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program.  And it puts at risk important consumer protections, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase their out-of-pocket spending.

This bill is a significant step backwards on the commitment to ensure coverage and we cannot support it.  We will continue to work with Congress as this bill moves over to the Senate to ensure that any final legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act improves our health care system in a thoughtful and responsible way, rather than dismantling coverage for our most vulnerable residents.

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

We applaud today’s vote by the NH Senate HHS Committee of on HB 400.

The backlog of patients awaiting a bed at New Hampshire Hospital is a symptom of a broader, systems-wide problem: there is insufficient capacity across the entire mental health system here in New Hampshire.

Approval of HB 400 as amended allows us to tackle this challenge from a broader, systems-wide perspective, including additional inpatient psychiatric beds at designated receiving facilities (DRFs) around the state.

Hospitals remain committed to working collaboratively with stakeholders across the state to address this issue from a systems perspective, whether through the State 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver to build capacity to treat mental health as part of primary care practices; adding DRF beds to increase capacity, or adding residential treatment beds to help people following an acute mental health crisis.  We look forward to working with the legislature and others in our effort to better serve the needs of those suffering from mental illness.

We commend Senator Bradley, Senator Morse, Governor Sununu, Commissioner Meyers and many others for their commitment to address the challenges facing New Hampshire’s mental health system, and to ensuring that these patients are able to get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

While Congress and the new Administration have worked toward a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the most recent amended version continues to put health coverage in jeopardy for millions of Americans, especially for those patients who are older and sicker than most, with pre-existing and chronic conditions.

The changes proposed in the amended bill put consumer protections at greater risk by allowing states to waive the essential health benefits standards, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase out-of-pocket spending. This could allow plans to set premium prices based on individual risk for some consumers, which could significantly raise costs for those with pre-existing conditions. 

Our priorities remain unwavering:  advancing the transformation of health care, preserving adequate resources for health care, protecting patient access to care, enhancing the quality of care and patient safety, making health care more affordable and ensuring access to coverage, especially for those who were previously uninsured. 

Based on upholding these priorities for our patients and our communities, the NHHA couldn’t support the AHCA bill previously, and we remain opposed to the AHCA in its amended state.  We will continue to work with Congress, the Administration and others on legislation that improves our health care system in a thoughtful and responsible way, rather than dismantling coverage for our most vulnerable residents.

Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

 

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 24 – 28), we’d like to take the opportunity to recognize the integral role our volunteers play in advancing patient engagement and quality care for our communities. Throughout New Hampshire hospitals, our volunteers lend their time, hands and hearts to patients and their families, enhancing the patient experience in more ways than they’ll ever know. 

Whether it’s a warm welcome as families enter the hospital lobby, a comforting hand helping a patient down the hall, or a friendly visitor keeping patients company during their stay, volunteers nationwide provide invaluable support to our patients in need when they need it most. 

This week we celebrate all of our volunteers throughout New Hampshire for their care, commitment and compassion to those around them, tirelessly serving for the greater good and making a difference every day.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

Today we learned of the sad passing of Senator Scott McGilvray, a man known for his compassion, dedication and commitment to children and serving his community.  We join his colleagues in the Legislature in expressing our deepest condolences to Scott’s family and friends, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of his loved ones during this very difficult time.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

Over the past several months as Congress and the new Administration have worked toward a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been clear that while changes are needed, we must maintain coverage for the millions of Americans, including the tens of thousands of residents here in New Hampshire, who were finally able to obtain the health insurance coverage they needed.

Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act appears to go backwards on that commitment to coverage, leaving more people without health insurance.  Further, while it repeals or eliminates many of the taxes that helped to fund the coverage gains that were part of the ACA, the American Health Care Act does not eliminate the significant Medicare spending reductions for hospital services that were also part of the ACA’s funding equation. Hospitals in New Hampshire are estimated to receive approximately $1.5 billion less in Medicare reimbursements between 2018 and 2026 from these Medicare changes, reductions that would be devastating to their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them if people lose their coverage.  Further, the American Health Care Act would replace the Medicaid program with per capita block grants that underfunds the actual cost of providing care to Medicaid patients, would down-shift costs to the state and undermine New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program.

Our priorities remain unwavering:  advancing the transformation of health care, preserving adequate resources for health care, protecting patient access to care, enhancing the quality of care and patient safety, making health care more affordable and ensuring access to coverage, especially for those who were previously uninsured. 

This is the first step in what will undoubtedly be a longer and more extensive debate over the future of the ACA and health care policy. We are committed to working with Congress, the Administration and others on legislation that improves our health care system through patient-centered care, but given the troubling impact this bill would have on our patients, our hospitals and our state, we cannot support the American Health Care Act in its current form.

 

Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

A Salute to New Hampshire’s Veterans!

As we celebrate this Veteran’s Day, the women and men who provide care and service in New Hampshire’s hospitals wish to salute all those who have served our state and our nation.  Your dedication and commitment for this nation are an inspiration to all and an important reminder of the sacrifices that have been made to secure and strengthen our freedoms as Americans.  We are grateful for and indebted to you for your service.

This past year, the New Hampshire Hospital Association’s (NHHA) Board of Trustees endorsed two very important initiatives that are important to highlight as we honor our Veterans.  The first, Hospitals for Heroes, was designed to signal to all that hospitals in New Hampshire are here to care for those who served and sacrificed so much for us.  The challenges facing Veterans in New Hampshire of being able to access local, timely care has been an ongoing challenge, and the rollout of the VA Choice program has presented significant road blocks for our Veterans and providers alike.  Hospitals are committed to serving these brave men and women by providing them with high quality care close to him, when they need it most. 

And secondly, the NHHA Board of Trustees endorsed the Campaign to Change Direction, a statewide initiative focused on changing the culture of mental health in New Hampshire.  By removing the stigma associated with this disease, we can betterhelp those suffering with mental illness get the care and support they need.  This couldn’t be a more pressing need for our Veterans, given the stunning number of those who are taking their own lives as a result of the trauma that is associated with the wars and violence they’ve endured.  By bringing mental health care out of the shadows and into the mainstream, we can raise awareness about these issues and change the culture around mental health. 

God bless the brave men and women who have served our country on this Veterans Day and every day.

 

Steve Ahnen

President

 

Recently, the New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Foundation for Healthy Communities held their Annual Meeting at the OMNI Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.  It is at this meeting that hospitals, healthcare leaders and community partners from across the state come together to celebrate the work being done by all, and to honor those who have made significant contributions to hospitals and the healthcare field.

This year’s meeting, Advancing Total Population Health:  How do we get there from here? focused on the collaborative efforts our hospitals, providers and partners are undertaking to build healthcare delivery systems that will allow them to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time. . .every time.

It’s a theme that speaks to the transformation that is occurring in health care here in New Hampshire and the goal of delivering evidence-based, high quality, affordable and accessible care to the patients and communities our hospitals and providers serve.

For those of us in health care, partnering together is what makes our work so meaningful, but it’s also what makes possible our ability to deliver on the goals of changing the way we deliver care to our patients to improve overall health.

At the Annual Meeting, the Foundation for Healthy Communities celebrated its 20th year of living its mission of improving health and health care in communities through education and partnerships that engage individuals and organizations. The success of the Foundation is a direct testament to the commitment of many partners, individuals and organizations alike, and we thank all of you for your continued support. 

In addition, the Foundation for Healthy Communities presented a framework for Total Population Health in New Hampshire, which provides a summary of the Foundation’s efforts and milestones over the years working with its partners, as well as the path forward as we continue those efforts to advance total population health.

As we look to the future, I remain confident and optimistic that, together, we are building the health care system that will provide access to high quality, evidence-based, affordable care for generations to come.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

 

View 2016 Annual Meeting presentations and press releases

Change can be difficult, frightening, even overwhelming.  But it can also be invigorating as one takes on the challenges at hand with a new sense of optimism, renewed strength and focus to make a difference.

Today was one of those days where I felt all of those emotions at once.  Sitting in Representatives Hall at the New Hampshire State House listening to leaders of the Change Direction New Hampshire initiative talk about where we are today and the path that lies ahead with respect to changing the culture of mental health care in New Hampshire and in this country.  This morning, I was honored to be invited to listen to former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick talk about his own personal experience with a family member who suffers from a mental illness. 

It was a powerful example of just how important a story can be, how it can capture in one vignette the struggles and challenges so many face, not just that one person.  And as Judge Broderick and others leading the initiative both locally and nationally discussed, there is so much we must do to bring mental health care out of the shadows and into the mainstream.  There isn’t one of us who isn’t touched in some way by mental illness…either personally, a family member,  friend, neighbor, or co-worker.  And it’s going to take all of us, working together, to make progress.  But that’s what Granite Staters do…they come together to solve the challenges in their communities. 

So find out how you can be part of this effort to change direction to change the culture of mental health in New Hampshire.  Log on to the website, www.changedirection.org/nh, and take part in this important initiative.

 

Steve Ahnen

President 

Throughout New Hampshire hospitals, there are hundreds of nurses protecting the health and safety of the patients they see every day.  Nurses are a vital part of our healthcare system, existing as providers at hospitals, outpatient, home-based and long-term care facilities.  United by a desire to care for others during their greatest time of need, they serve at their patients’ bedside with compassion, comfort and healing hands. 

In honor of our outstanding nurses and the quality care they deliver, we are proud to join the American Nurses Association and numerous health care organizations across the country to celebrate National Nurses Week (May 6 to 12).   During this week, we honor these individuals for their commitment to delivering safe, patient-centered care to ensure that every patient and their families have the best experience with the best possible outcome.  

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our nurses for their unwavering commitment to their patients, their community and their profession, and are honored to be celebrating the hard work and dedication of these skilled health care professionals.

In addition, Sunday marked the beginning of National Hospital Week, May 8 – May 14, where we honor those individuals who support the health and wellbeing of their communities – from physicians and nurses, to food service, engineers, volunteers and administrators.  Every individual within a hospital plays an integral role in the care that’s delivered within their walls to every patient, every day.

New Hampshire hospitals are dedicated to providing their patients with dedication and compassionate care from the heart.  All throughout our state, the blue H sign exists as a promise to deliver quality, patient-centered care when you and your family need it most.

We remain inspired by those in your organizations who deliver compassionate, high quality care to your patients, and your commitment to serving your communities as places of health, healing and hope.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

 

American Hospital Association's National Hospital Week Thank You Video

The New Hampshire Hospital Association released the below statement on the Senate vote to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan:

“We applaud today’s bi-partisan vote by the NH Senate to reauthorize the NH Health Protection Program. Their leadership in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing our health care system today is commendable, as is their commitment to a New Hampshire-based solution that benefits patients, providers and businesses of New Hampshire,” said Steve Ahnen.

Approving the reauthorization of the NH Health Protection Program ensures private health insurance coverage to more than 48,000 low-income, uninsured New Hampshire residents so that they can continue to get the primary and preventative care they need. To date, the program has successfully reduced the number of uninsured patients seeking care in emergency rooms; reduced the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals to those without insurance; and reduced the cost shift to those with insurance.

“Today’s vote in the New Hampshire Senate to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP) represents a significant step forward for patients, providers, businesses and our state’s economy,” added Ahnen.

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association