Todd Bookman

Health Reporter

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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NH News
3:10 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Dartmouth's Big Green Gift

Credit Flikr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

Dartmouth College is receiving a $100 million anonymous donation, the largest single gift in school history.

"We are thrilled," says Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson. "And we're especially thrilled that it will be devoted entirely to strengthening Dartmouth's academic mission."

The gift will be added to school’s already sizeable $3.7 billion endowment. The interest earned will help fund an array of new initiatives, including the addition of 30 to 40 cross-discipline professorships.

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Health
5:21 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Report Citing 90% Rate Increase Under ACA Called Into Question

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is disputing a report that claims a 90% spike in individual premiums under the Affordable Care Act. The report from Morgan Stanley, which has become the latest flashpoint in the political battle over Obamacare, was based on a national survey of insurance brokers.

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Health
4:09 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

With Expansion Coming, Medicaid Enrollment Already Up In New Hampshire

The number of Medicaid enrollees in New Hampshire is up 4% since last October, according to new data from the federal government. More than 133,000 people were enrolled as of February, compared with roughly 127,000 recipients before the launch of the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
5:06 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Hassan Delays Portion Of Medicaid Managed Care Plan

Governor Maggie Hassan announcing a delay in the transition to Medicaid Managed Care for developmentally disabled recipients who receive long-term services.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The transition of New Hampshire's Medicaid program to what’s called ‘managed care’ was supposed to be phased in over three years.

First, private companies would take over administration of medical care for more than 100,000 recipients. In year two, services for people with developmental disabilities, including supports such as 24-hour aides and housing would switch over. And then, lastly, newly eligible recipients through Medicaid expansion would get benefits arranged through the managed care companies.

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Health
4:21 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Loophole Means Many Child Restraints Go Unreported In New Hampshire

Melissa Hunter says she wasn't immediately notified of the school's use of seclusion on her son.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Like many kids with autism, Hunter Picknell has trouble expressing himself.

“His primary form of communication is sign language, but there’s certain things he can’t do with his hands and fingers because of his motor-planning issues,” says Melissa Hilton, Hunter’s mother.

“He makes kind of his own sign language, which is very idiosyncratic. We often joke around and say it is sign language with an accent.”

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NH News
3:00 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Senate Approves Gas Tax Hike On 15-9 Vote

Credit konstantine1982 via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a 4.2-cent hike in the state’s gas tax that would raise an estimated $32 million for roads projects.

The bill also eliminates a set of tolls in Merrimack.

New Hampshire’s gas tax has held steady at 18-cents per gallon since the early 1990s, losing ground to inflation and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Senator Jim Rausch sponsored the plan, which originally envisioned indexing the tax to the inflation rate.

But the Republican from Derry scrapped that plan in favor of a scaled down measure.

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Health
5:41 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It's Last Call For Health Sign-Ups In New Hampshire

Leigh Niland walks Keene resident John Carland through the process of shopping for health insurance through the exchange.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Time is running out for individuals looking to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The cut-off to start the sign-up process is March 31st, and unlike previous deadlines, it looks like this one may actually hold.

That’s got John Carland taking the process more seriously.

“I put things off,” says Carland. “I’m a procrastinator. So, I just put it off until I had to do it, I guess.”

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NH News
1:28 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

N.H. House Votes To Expand Medicaid

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire House has voted 202-132 to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 50,000 low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.  

The move comes after more than a year of debate, and while the vote in the Democratically-controlled chamber wasn’t a surprise, Republicans weren’t exactly ready to concede the point.

They put forward nine amendments on issues ranging from delaying the start date to capping enrollees, all of which failed.

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Health
4:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Transition To Managed Medicaid Hits Some Bumps

It’s been a little more than 100 days since the state of New Hampshire dramatically re-shaped its biggest program. On December 1st, traditional Medicaid became Medicaid Managed Care, shifting administration of the health program into the hands of private companies in the hopes of saving $15 million a year.

Perhaps the biggest change to the program for recipients revolves around something called prior authorizations.

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Health
5:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

New Insurance Company Plans To Offer Full Network Of Hospitals

Massachusetts-based Minuteman Health says New Hampshire’s insurance marketplace is "ripe for disruption."

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Health
4:48 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

House Committee Backs Medicaid Expansion

The plan to expand Medicaid endorsed by the state Senate has cleared its first hurdle in the New Hampshire House, gaining the approval of the Finance Committee on a 15-10 vote.

The Democratically-controlled House has already voted to expand Medicaid three times, and leaders there want to pass this version as soon as they can.

House Republicans, though, continue to put up a fight.

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Health
12:07 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Senate Approves Bill To Hold Public Hearings On ACA Insurance Plans

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

Health insurance products sold in New Hampshire’s exchange would face public hearings under a bill passed by the Senate.

Supporters say the hearings will provide transparency about what exactly the plans cover, and which doctors and hospitals are participating. The move comes in direct response to Anthem’s so-called narrow network exchange plans that leave out 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals.

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Newscast
10:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Dublin Voters Say No To Drive-Thru

Hungry motorists in the Town of Dublin will need to get out of their vehicles for provisions. Residents rejected a proposed ballot measure on Tuesday that would have permitted commercial drive-thrus in certain zoned districts, on a vote of 339-222.

The town’s lone gas station at the intersection of Routes 101 and 137 is seeking to renovate its convenience store, and add a drive-thru window.

Opponents of the plan argued drive-thrus would change the character of the small town, and open the door to more commercial development.

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Health
5:04 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

New Hampshire Surpasses ACA Sign-Up Target

Credit Data: U.S. Health and Human Services

More than 21,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released by the federal government.

In February, 4,715 enrolled in coverage, bringing the total since October above the federal government’s estimate of 19,000 total sign-ups for the state.

Women account for 55% of enrollees, and nearly 3-in-4 residents qualified for some level of financial assistance.

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NH News
5:15 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Does A Drive-Thru Change A Town? Dublin Must Decide

Freeman's hand-painted sign along Rt. 101 has sparked conversation about the future of Dublin.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Nestled at the base of Mount Monadnock, the town of Dublin remains a portrait of New England life. There’s no neon, no chains stores, not even a bank.

So, it was a bit curious when a sign popped up last month proclaiming the arrival of a Taco Bell. Hand-painted on plywood, it stands along Route 101 on the edge of property owned by Andy Freeman. He says it isn’t personal.

“Do I have a problem with Taco Bell? No, I don’t have any problem with Taco Bell at all,” says Freeman.

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