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

While Congress and the new Administration have worked toward a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the most recent amended version continues to put health coverage in jeopardy for millions of Americans, especially for those patients who are older and sicker than most, with pre-existing and chronic conditions.

The changes proposed in the amended bill put consumer protections at greater risk by allowing states to waive the essential health benefits standards, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase out-of-pocket spending. This could allow plans to set premium prices based on individual risk for some consumers, which could significantly raise costs for those with pre-existing conditions. 

Our priorities remain unwavering:  advancing the transformation of health care, preserving adequate resources for health care, protecting patient access to care, enhancing the quality of care and patient safety, making health care more affordable and ensuring access to coverage, especially for those who were previously uninsured. 

Based on upholding these priorities for our patients and our communities, the NHHA couldn’t support the AHCA bill previously, and we remain opposed to the AHCA in its amended state.  We will continue to work with Congress, the Administration and others on legislation that improves our health care system in a thoughtful and responsible way, rather than dismantling coverage for our most vulnerable residents.

Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

 

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 24 – 28), we’d like to take the opportunity to recognize the integral role our volunteers play in advancing patient engagement and quality care for our communities. Throughout New Hampshire hospitals, our volunteers lend their time, hands and hearts to patients and their families, enhancing the patient experience in more ways than they’ll ever know. 

Whether it’s a warm welcome as families enter the hospital lobby, a comforting hand helping a patient down the hall, or a friendly visitor keeping patients company during their stay, volunteers nationwide provide invaluable support to our patients in need when they need it most. 

This week we celebrate all of our volunteers throughout New Hampshire for their care, commitment and compassion to those around them, tirelessly serving for the greater good and making a difference every day.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

Today we learned of the sad passing of Senator Scott McGilvray, a man known for his compassion, dedication and commitment to children and serving his community.  We join his colleagues in the Legislature in expressing our deepest condolences to Scott’s family and friends, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of his loved ones during this very difficult time.

 

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

Over the past several months as Congress and the new Administration have worked toward a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been clear that while changes are needed, we must maintain coverage for the millions of Americans, including the tens of thousands of residents here in New Hampshire, who were finally able to obtain the health insurance coverage they needed.

Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act appears to go backwards on that commitment to coverage, leaving more people without health insurance.  Further, while it repeals or eliminates many of the taxes that helped to fund the coverage gains that were part of the ACA, the American Health Care Act does not eliminate the significant Medicare spending reductions for hospital services that were also part of the ACA’s funding equation. Hospitals in New Hampshire are estimated to receive approximately $1.5 billion less in Medicare reimbursements between 2018 and 2026 from these Medicare changes, reductions that would be devastating to their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them if people lose their coverage.  Further, the American Health Care Act would replace the Medicaid program with per capita block grants that underfunds the actual cost of providing care to Medicaid patients, would down-shift costs to the state and undermine New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program.

Our priorities remain unwavering:  advancing the transformation of health care, preserving adequate resources for health care, protecting patient access to care, enhancing the quality of care and patient safety, making health care more affordable and ensuring access to coverage, especially for those who were previously uninsured. 

This is the first step in what will undoubtedly be a longer and more extensive debate over the future of the ACA and health care policy. We are committed to working with Congress, the Administration and others on legislation that improves our health care system through patient-centered care, but given the troubling impact this bill would have on our patients, our hospitals and our state, we cannot support the American Health Care Act in its current form.

 

Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

A Salute to New Hampshire’s Veterans!

As we celebrate this Veteran’s Day, the women and men who provide care and service in New Hampshire’s hospitals wish to salute all those who have served our state and our nation.  Your dedication and commitment for this nation are an inspiration to all and an important reminder of the sacrifices that have been made to secure and strengthen our freedoms as Americans.  We are grateful for and indebted to you for your service.

This past year, the New Hampshire Hospital Association’s (NHHA) Board of Trustees endorsed two very important initiatives that are important to highlight as we honor our Veterans.  The first, Hospitals for Heroes, was designed to signal to all that hospitals in New Hampshire are here to care for those who served and sacrificed so much for us.  The challenges facing Veterans in New Hampshire of being able to access local, timely care has been an ongoing challenge, and the rollout of the VA Choice program has presented significant road blocks for our Veterans and providers alike.  Hospitals are committed to serving these brave men and women by providing them with high quality care close to him, when they need it most. 

And secondly, the NHHA Board of Trustees endorsed the Campaign to Change Direction, a statewide initiative focused on changing the culture of mental health in New Hampshire.  By removing the stigma associated with this disease, we can betterhelp those suffering with mental illness get the care and support they need.  This couldn’t be a more pressing need for our Veterans, given the stunning number of those who are taking their own lives as a result of the trauma that is associated with the wars and violence they’ve endured.  By bringing mental health care out of the shadows and into the mainstream, we can raise awareness about these issues and change the culture around mental health. 

God bless the brave men and women who have served our country on this Veterans Day and every day.

 

Steve Ahnen

President