On behalf of New Hampshire hospitals, we are pleased to have reached a final agreement with the State regarding the funding and support of the State’s Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program.  This agreement ensures that the State will continue to fund critical reimbursements to hospitals for the uncompensated care they provide to low income and vulnerable patients, now and in the future.

Working in partnership, this agreement demonstrates the hospitals’ willingness to move forward and create financial stability for the hospitals, the Medicaid program, the State budget, and most importantly, preserve access to care for our patients who are served by their community hospitals. 

We thank Governor Sununu, his administration and key members of the legislature, including Senate President Chuck Morse and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley for their support and partnership in finalizing the agreement, as well as their commitment to ensuring long-term sustainability for our state, our health care system and the patients we serve.

This week, we join one of the nation’s largest health care events in celebrating National Hospital Week, to thank the dedicated individuals who work in hospitals for their contributions and commitment to the health and wellness of their communities.   

The theme for this year’s National Hospital Week is Caring is our Calling, and that couldn’t be a better mantra for the more than 65,000 individuals that work in hospitals throughout New Hampshire.   

Hospitals demonstrate their unwavering commitment to serving their communities in sickness and in health 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  But a hospital is more than a place where people go to heal; it is part of the community that fosters health, inspires wellness and represents hope.  That is the promise that the blue and white “H” delivers to every patient, every family, in every community.  From providing compassionate medical care within their facilities to engaging in collaborations with community health partners, hospitals exist as the cornerstones of health and wellness throughout our state.  

This year, National Hospital Week coincides with National Nurses Week, providing us with the opportunity to say thank you to our nurses for their commitment and dedication to protecting, promoting and improving health care for their patients when they need it most.  Every day, nurses inspire, innovate and influence, serving at the front lines of organizations that deliver compassionate, quality care to patients.

There is one resource that is essential to a hospital’s success:  the men and women who deliver quality, compassionate health care to their patients every day. Their dedication, sacrifice and commitment to excellence are a direct testament of their commitment to the health and well-being of New Hampshire, and we remain ever thankful for the vital role they play in keeping New Hampshire healthy.

 

Steve Ahnen

President

New Hampshire’s hospitals have reached a tentative agreement with Governor Sununu and the State regarding the funding and support of the State’s Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program.  This agreement will ensure that the State will continue its commitment to fund critical reimbursements to hospitals for the uncompensated care they provide to low income and vulnerable patients, now and in the future.

Under this agreement, New Hampshire hospitals are agreeing to accept reduced reimbursements this year and next for care already provided in exchange for a longer-term and more sustainable structure.  By agreeing to reduced reimbursements now, the hospitals are demonstrating their willingness to move beyond the current controversy to create financial stability for the hospitals, the Medicaid program, the State budget, and most importantly, preserve access to care for our patients who are served by their community hospitals. 

We look forward to working with the Governor, his administration and key members of the legislature to finalize and implement the agreement in a way that ensures the State’s commitments are carried out, and that it fosters long-term sustainability for our health care system over the life of the agreement.

We applaud today’s bi-partisan vote by the NH Senate to reauthorize New Hampshire’s Medicaid Expansion program and their support of continuing this important investment in the health of our state and the people it serves.

Approving the reauthorization of this vital program ensures that more than 50,000 low-income, previously uninsured New Hampshire residents have the health coverage needed to be seen by a primary care doctor or in a health clinic, to receive important primary and preventive care, cost-effective management of chronic conditions, and life-saving mental health and substance use services. 

Since its inception, Medicaid Expansion 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, and we look forward to building upon those successes over the next five years.

The actions taken today by the New Hampshire Senate to reauthorize New Hampshire’s Medicaid Expansion program are a testament of their commitment to assure that New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens will continue to be able to receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

Concord, NH – New Hampshire Hospital Association joins the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day, Thursday, November 16, 2017.

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues. 

Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

These communities also face unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”

New Hampshire has thirteen Critical Access Hospitals throughout the state that support their communities by delivering high quality healthcare in very rural, underserved areas of the state.  These hospitals are engaging in innovative programs like telehealth and electronic health records, that allow New Hampshire’s rural health providers to coordinate care, stay connected with each other and urban tertiary care centers.  

“Our critical access hospitals work tirelessly to address the barriers that their patients face in accessing the healthcare they need when they need it,” says Greg Vasse, Program Director at the New Hampshire Hospital Association who runs the NH Critical Access Hospital Quality Improvement Network.  “We collaborate with our State Office of Rural Health, rural healthcare providers and other rural health stakeholders to foster partnerships that improve the health status of the communities our critical access hospitals serve.”

State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, State Offices of Rural Health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.

 

Living & Working in Rural Communities - What's it Mean to Patients and Providers?

Pat Nestor, Retired Airforce Veteran, gets his care at Separe Memorial Hospital - click here to learn more about why he chooses to get his care from one of New Hampshire's Critical Access Hospitals.

PNestor

 

Michael Watto, MD, Speare Memorial Hospital Primary Care and retired military physician for the United States Army, lives and practices in rural New Hampshire, serving the area's underserved patients, including his fellow Veterans - read his story here.

 

MWatto web

The New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Foundation for Healthy Communities recently held their Annual Meeting at the OMNI Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where hospitals, healthcare leaders and community partners from across the state came together to hear from exceptional speakers on ways to move health care forward, and to network and share best practices with colleagues from around the state.  It is also where both organizations celebrate the work being done by all, and to honor those who have made significant contributions to hospitals and the healthcare field.

At this year’s Annual Meeting, we discussed the complex challenges our hospitals, providers and partners are experiencing in today’s healthcare environment, from the behavioral health and opioid crisis our state is currently facing, to the national political landscape and its impact on both local and national efforts to deliver quality, affordable care to our communities.

Every day, New Hampshire hospitals go above and beyond their mission of delivering high quality, affordable healthcare to their patients.  As places of health, healing and hope, they strive to improve the health and well-being of their communities while adapting to the challenging healthcare landscape so that they can meet the needs of their patients beyond the walls of their hospitals. 

Every day, we drive past the blue and white H signs that populate our highways and byways here in New Hampshire and the institution they represent to those in need.  While seemingly just a sign to those who see it, the blue and white H represents so much more – they are a promise our hospitals as institutions hold out to their communities that they will be there in times of need, wherever and whenever their community needs them.

As we collaborate across the continuum to address the challenges we face together, we remain proud of our hospitals that live out their promise to their patients, families and communities every day here in the Granite State.

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

 

2017 Annual Meeting Presentations

2017 Annual Meeting Awards

Of behalf of our hospitals, our patients and their families, we are relieved the Senate rejected legislation that would have jeopardized health care coverage for millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Granite State residents, in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

During this process, Congress has debated various reform proposals that would have been devastating for our most vulnerable citizens and for the providers who ensure they are able to receive the care they need when and where they need it most.   These reform proposals would have had lasting impact on our healthcare system and dramatically affected our hospitals’ ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them every day. 

Protecting health coverage remains our priority, and while we understand that modifications to the current healthcare system are needed, we believe that it is time for legislators to come together to create bipartisan solutions that protect health care coverage for all Americans.

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

Of behalf of our hospitals and the patients they serve throughout New Hampshire, we’re extremely disappointed that the Senate continues to put forth legislation that jeopardizes health care coverage for millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Granite State residents, in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate’s revised health care bill continues to be catastrophic for our most vulnerable citizens, including those with chronic conditions and disabilities, as well as the elderly.  In addition, it doesn’t address the significant reductions in federal spending which cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026, and maintains the imposition of caps on Medicaid spending, estimated to result in more than $1.4 billion in reduced federal investments in New Hampshire’s Medicaid program, downshifting costs to the states and underfunding the cost of providing care to Medicaid patients.  These cuts are unsustainable and their lasting impact would dramatically affect our hospitals’ ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them every day. 

Protecting health coverage for our most vulnerable citizens remains our priority, and because of that, we remain opposed to the Senate’s revised health care bill.   On behalf of our hospitals and the patients they serve, we urge the Senate to create bipartisan legislation that protects health care coverage for our most vulnerable citizens and provides coverage for those who need it most.

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

The score issued by the Congressional Budget Office of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), confirms our concerns that it would result in the loss of health insurance coverage for 22 million Americans, coverage that they depend on to help them and their families to get the right care, at the right time, at the right place.

As we have steadfastly maintained for the last several months, we cannot support legislation that would cause millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Granite State residents, to lose health insurance coverage and downshift costs to New Hampshire’s Medicaid program through significant reductions in federal spending.  In addition, BCRA would continue to cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026, dramatically impacting their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them every day. 

We believe that the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) needs to be viewed 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 and urge the Senate to vote no on this bill, and 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

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