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.

When Traumatic Events Unfold...

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Fred Rogers  Since the tragic events of Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon there has been a tremendous outpouring of emotions and I was particularly moved by the above quote that is making the rounds on Facebook and twitter.  Perhaps this resonated with me because I grew up watching Mr.

The Importance of Fellowship...

In 1791, Josiah Bartlett and 23 others doctors came together to enjoy each other’s company and to be the vanguard for our sacred profession... and the NHMS was born!   They spent much of the first century of our existence setting standards for professional conduct, emphasizing scientific rigor, and building membership.  Perhaps most important to them was fellowship with other doctors – as evidenced by always meeting in taverns.

Transparency Revisited - A Follow-up to My March 13th Note

Following my March 13th piece about Our Role in Price Transparency, I received a number of responses from our members that warrant sharing with you:

  

Disability & Medical Care

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. 

-World Health Organization 1948

 

The JUA Journey

I am not a NH JUA policy holder but I believe it is important for all NHMS members to understand that lead plaintiffs in the NH Supreme Court case, Dr. Georgia Tuttle, Lakes Region General Hospital and Derry Medical Center, with support of NHMS, successfully sued the state and JUA to stop the state from taking $110 million excess surplus belonging to policyholders.   

Our Role in Price Transparency

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” Dalai Lama   Last week Time magazine dedicated it's entire feature to the high cost of medical care, the causes, and what can be done about it.  The journalist, Steve Brill, picked apart bills to better understand why health care costs so much.  It really is an interesting and thought provoking piece and I recommend it to you all.

Where there's smoke...

Smoking is on the minds of our legislators. Both tobacco and marijuana have been the subjects of spirited discussion and hearings the past few weeks and NHMS has been present bringing the voice of science, reason, and our patients. In regards to tobacco, NHMS has prepared a policy analysis (see report) that looks at the impact of a tobacco tax increase, taking into consideration the following:

• Smoking costs an average of $2,784 in direct medical expenses per smoker per year;
• Tobacco price increases of 10% consistently yield a 4% decrease in adult smoking and a 7% decrease in youth smoking;
• People of low socio-economic status have much higher smoking rates and poorer health outcomes; and
• The smoking rate among Medicaid beneficiaries is 57% compared to the overall NH of 19%.

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