Will Therapeutic Cannabis Be Part of Your Practice?

The New Hampshire House and Senate have crafted and passed a therapeutic cannabis bill that Gov. Maggie Hassan is poised to sign soon, and now we, the physicians of New Hampshire, must decide how to incorporate or not incorporate this into our practices.  New Hampshire's bill is unique, and, with input from NHMS, we helped make this the tightest therapeutic cannabis bill in the country by limiting its scope, eliminating the home-grow provision, establishing that there must be at least a three-month ongoing relationship with a physician or nurse practitioner and limiting patient possession to no more than 2 ounces.  

It's Playoff Time for Hockey, Basketball & the NH Legislature

This week, legislators have been meeting in committees of conference (C of C) to resolve House and Senate differences on many bills including four bills being followed closely by NHMS.

Last week, pathologists contacted NHMS after identifying a potential problem in the genetic counseling bill, SB135. Via emails, phone calls and live testimony, NHMS was able to explain the problem to key legislators and offer amended language. At Monday’s C of C, House and Senate conferees unanimously adopted the amendment.

NHMS Physician Opinion Survey

Last week you received an email from me announcing the NHMS physician opinion survey and yesterday, we launched it.

For NHMS to better represent its members and carry-out its mission -- to bring together physicians to advocate for the well being of our patients, for our profession and for the betterment of the public health – we need your input.

Use Your Skills to Enrich the Debate

Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science. Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), French mathematician

Recently I was reminded that we often take our basic science skills for granted and how extremely valuable they truly are. Last week, on New Hampshire Public Radio's The Exchange, Tom Sherman, MD, a gastroenterologist and state representative from Rye, NH, spoke with clarity and reason to bring a scientific lens to the Medicaid expansion debate. (Listen to broadcast.)

There is a Seasonality to our Work

For me as a family physician, my seasonal work  includes, school and sports physicals in the summer, flu shots in the fall and winter and attention to problems associated with allergy in the spring. Similarly NHMS has seasonal priorities and now is our time to be active legislatively. We don't do this often but over the past few weeks we have asked you to speak out on an issue of importance to all of us. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to contact your legislators asking them to support the tobacco tax increase. Your calls will make a difference as the Senate and House negotiate the final budget.

It's Not Over Yet

A resident I taught a few years ago told me that he should only have to tell his patients once to stop smoking. He thought that his patients would quit if he simply laid out a logical argument -- and any patient would be foolish to not follow his advice. I trust that a few years in practice has helped him understand that behavior change is much harder than that.

Helping Our Patients Kick the Habit

In addition to advocating for a tobacco tax here in New Hampshire, which will help people quit and prevent many children from starting in the first place, I've been looking for ways to enhance our clinical success in helping our patients quit smoking.  NHMS member Hilary Alvarez, MD, a NH Dartmouth Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine resident in Concord, recently introduced me to a smoking cessation resource that shows promise: automated mobile phone messaging.   

Cigarette Tax - Call Your Senator Today!

As you may recall, increasing the New Hampshire tobacco tax has been a key legislative priority for NHMS this session.  Governor Hassan and the New Hampshire House included an important $0.30/pack increase in the state budget bill.  With this level of increase we can expect 4,000 adults to quit; even more children will not start smoking in the first place; $24 million in new money will support the state budget; and the state will realize $1 million in direct health care savings.

 

What Can You Buy for $40 Billion a Year

It isn't news that we are in a budget crisis or that our leaders in Washington are looking at ways to reduce spending, but how they are planning to do this is worthy of our attention.  AMNews reported last week that President Obama's 2014 budget blueprint aims to cut $400 billion from healthcare over the next 10 years.  AMNews link: Click here

N.H.'s Prescription Monitoring Program - An Update

New Hampshire became the 49th state to adopt a prescription monitoring program (PMP) when then-Gov. John Lynch signed SB 286 into law in June 2012.

The PMP law requires pharmacists to report data when dispensing class II, III or IV controlled drugs.  That data will allow prescribers to electronically query the PMP before writing a prescription for a controlled drug for a particular patient.  The new program will help all physicians, not just emergency physicians, to appropriately prescribe controlled drugs without fear of over- or under-prescribing these substances.

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