Statement by Steve Ahnen, President, New Hampshire Hospital Association 
 
August 20, 2021 
 
Today, the Legislative Fiscal Committee approved federal COVID-19 relief funds for our Critical Access Hospitals.  We are thankful for the favorable vote of the committee to move this forward. 
 
During the consideration of the funding, a minority of members questioned the ability for hospitals to mandate vaccination of their healthcare workers.  We believe that requiring vaccines of our workforce is absolutely the right thing to do to protect the health and safety of our patients, our workforce and our communities.  All hospitals will make these determinations independently on when and how to implement a vaccine mandate policy and will do so in compliance with state and federal laws.  The science and real-world data have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, and truly are the path that will lead us out of the pandemic. 
 
Fortunately, the majority of the Legislative Fiscal Committee passed this important provision.  We applaud and thank those members that stood beside our hospital and health system heroes.
 
Download the statement here.

The New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA) submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) physician fee schedule (PFS) proposed rule for calendar year (CY) 2020.

 

Read the full comments submitted here.

The New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA) recently submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment system proposed rule for calendar year (CY) 2020.

 

Read the full comments submitted here.

Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, released the below statement on the budget compromise achieved:

This agreement allows New Hampshire to move beyond the budget stalemate of the past few months and move forward on several important initiatives.  This compromise budget makes investments in a number of key areas vital to the health of our patients, including mental health and substance use, as well as providing an increase in Medicaid rates for all providers to help address workforce shortages and gaps in our health care system caused by New Hampshire’s low Medicaid reimbursement rates.  We appreciate the efforts of Governor Sununu, Senate President Donna Soucy, Senate Finance Chairman Lou D’Allesandro, House Speaker Steve Shurtleff and House Finance Committee Chairman Mary Jane Wallner in working to reach this compromise, and we urge the support of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Today, November 15th, the New Hampshire Hospital Association is proud to join other state and national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day.

National Rural Health Day was created to recognize those who serve the vital health needs of nearly 60 million people residing in America’s rural communities, and the importance of rural healthcare providers who work tirelessly to address the barriers patients face in accessing healthcare when they need it.

New Hampshire has 13 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 medicine that allow New Hampshire’s rural health providers to coordinate care, stay connected with each other and urban tertiary care centers.  In addition, they partner with the state’s tertiary care hospitals to bring expert, specialty care to rural patients where they live through a variety of collaborations.  They collaborate with the State Office of Rural Health, rural healthcare providers and others to create partnerships that improve the health and well-being of their communities.

Beyond the issue of care, rural hospitals also serve as economic engines for the communities they serve, often existing as the largest employers in their communities for generations of families.  New Hampshire’s rural hospitals recruit and sustain physicians, specialists and other clinicians to provide care, and the availability of that care is an important factor in attracting business and industry to our state. 

It is because of their efforts in ensuring access to care and status as community and economic anchors, that the Rural Health Coalition (RHC), which helps to coordinate the work of New Hampshire’s 13 critical access hospitals, is being honored with the 2018 Community Star recognition from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), along with colleagues across the country for delivering excellence in rural health settings over the past year.  The RHC is led by a CAH CEO each year and we were fortunate to have Maria Ryan, Ph.D., CEO at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, NH, who served in that role this past year.  Mike Peterson, President of Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, NH, will serve as Chair in the coming year.

It is because of the dedication and commitment of New Hampshire’s rural health care leaders to ensure their communities have access to healthcare, and the compassion with which they deliver that care to their patients and families, that we honor New Hampshire’s rural healthcare providers today and every day. 

 

The Rural Health Coalition recognized as a 2018 Community Star by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH)

 

Community Star image

Concord, NH – At its 21st Annual Awards Ceremony, New Futures recognized the New Hampshire Hospital Association and its member hospitals with its prestigious 2018 President’s Award for their continued efforts to improve the health and wellness of Granite State residents.

The New Futures’ 2018 President’s Award recognizes an individual or organization who has worked closely with New Futures and its president to advance public policies in line with New Futures’ mission and priorities.  The New Hampshire Hospital Association and its member hospitals received the award for their tireless efforts to preserve health care coverage for more than 50,000 Granite State residents through Medicaid Expansion reauthorization, their pledge to financially support the state’s Alcohol Abuse, Prevention and Treatment fund over the next five years, and their advocacy in support of those suffering with behavioral health issues and the challenges that face the state’s mental health system.

“New Hampshire hospitals and health systems are committed to improving the health of New Hampshire residents suffering from addiction, and this new partnership represents an important step forward in the fight against the opioid and substance use epidemic,” said NHHA President Steve Ahnen.  “Our hospitals are proud to be an important ally in this initiative to improve the future health of our state, and it is an honor to accept this prestigious award on behalf of the work they do every day.”

The New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Foundation for Healthy Communities, along with Governor Sununu, the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) and other partners, launched a statewide Opioid Disposal Education Campaign focused on educating patients and their families on how to safely dispose of leftover prescription medications; a first of its kind effort in New Hampshire.

The safe and proper disposal of unused prescription medications is a critical element in fighting opioid addiction, and this statewide campaign will educate patients and their families on the safe disposal of unused prescription medications through the Zero Left Campaign and the distribution of Deterra bags, which are drug deactivation pouches that render prescription medications useless when water is added. 

The Zero Left Campaign was founded by Jim & Jeanne Moser after losing their son, Adam, to an opioid overdose. In June of 2017, inspired by the Mosers and their loss, Granite Health and its 5 hospitals launched the Zero Left Campaign by distributing Deterra bags to patients, along with educational material on the safe disposal of unused prescription medications, installing medication take-back boxes in their facilities and training providers to prescribe opioids in alignment with standards adopted by the medical boards.

Given our state’s current opioid crisis and the challenges our patients and their families are facing, hospitals statewide are now supporting this important campaign by distributing the Deterra pouches and education material to their patients and helping raise awareness around the importance of Zero Left in preventing prescription abuse.

 

 

Resources

Zero Left Campaign

Zero Left Brochure

Zero Left Poster

 

Articles

Zero Left Helps to Safely Remove Unused Opioids

Mosers Create Film to Fight Opioids 1 Year After Son's Death

 

Videos

Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate:  vimeo.com/253692444

True Story:  Adam Moser https://youtu.be/y_NVIWi5jJQ

Just the One Time:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuaLlalpl8g&t=216s

 

The New Hampshire Hospital Association recently submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Request for Information (RFI) regarding the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark Law).

Download the full comments here.

On behalf of New Hampshire’s hospitals and the patients they serve, we couldn’t be more pleased with today’s signing of Senate Bill 313, which transforms the NH Health Protection Program (NHHPP) into the Granite Advantage Health Care Program (GAHCP).

This vital program ensures that more than 52,000 low-income, previously uninsured New Hampshire residents maintain essential 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. 

Hospitals have long supported New Hampshire’s Medicaid Expansion program, as it 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 continuing those trends under the Granite State Health Care Program.

Signing SB 313 into law is testament of the state’s 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, and we’re proud to be a partner in this statewide effort to improve the health of our patients and communities.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

CONCORD – The Foundation for Healthy Communities is pleased to announce Isaac Hirschfeld, RN, Elliot Health System, as the 2018 recipient of the Clint M. Jones Nursing Award.   Elliot Health System set two records with the Clint Jones Nursing Award Program this year, as this is first time the program has had a male recipient and the third year in a row that a nurse from Elliot Health System has received this prestigious award.

Hirschfeld, a resident of Allenstown and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, received the annual award in front of his peers and family during a special Nurses Week celebration held Wednesday, May 9th at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH.

The Clint Jones Nursing Award was created in 2006 by the Foundation for Healthy Communities to honor the memory of the former director of the Foundation’s N.H. Nursing Workforce Partnership.  The award recognizes a registered nurse practicing in New Hampshire for at least one year but not more than six years, who exemplifies quality, compassionate nursing care and demonstrates a commitment to a career in nursing. 

Between November 2002 and February 2005, the N.H. Nursing Workforce Partnership, under the direction of Clint Jones, distributed millions of dollars in forgivable loans to hundreds of aspiring nurses in college and practicing nurses who received specialty training or advanced degrees.

Hirschfeld joined the staff at Elliot Hospital in 2013 and currently serves on the hospital’s Fitch Unit working with patients and their families.  He won Novice Nurse of the Year in his first year with Elliot for his leadership, professionalism and dedication to improving the quality and delivery of patient care.

In nominating Hirschfeld for the award, Sharon Kostansek, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager, cited his exemplary dedication as a nurse, as well as his compassion and commitment to his patients and their families.  “When I think of why the Clint Jones Nursing Award was developed, I think of Isaac’s extraordinary enthusiasm and commitment to our patients and the Elliot family,” stated Kostansek.  “Isaac is an exemplary nurse who continues to give and go above and beyond for his patients and his colleagues, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have him at our patients’ bedside.”

As they have every year, Clint’s family, represented by his wife, Leslie and son, Matt, attended the ceremony held at Elliot Hospital to present the award to Hirschfeld. 

“It’s always humbling to recognize nurses throughout the state for their commitment to delivering compassionate care to those when they need it most,” stated Clint Jones’ son, Matt Jones.   “We congratulate Isaac on receiving this award, but more importantly we thank him for his tireless commitment to his patients and their families.”

 

Pictured below:  Sharon Kostansek, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager, Elliot Hospital; Leslie Jones; Isaac Hirschfeld, RN, 2018 Clint Jones recipient; Matthew Jones; Peter Ames, Executive Director, Foundation for Healthy Communities; Martha Leighton, Chief Nursing Officer, Elliot Hospital.

 

CJA 2018 Group