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Lipman urges Medicaid expansion; speaks at hearing on behalf of N.H. Hospital Association

CONCORD — Speaking on behalf of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, Henry Lipman, senior vice-president of financial strategy and external affairs at LRGHealthcare, last week told the commission studying the expansion of the Medicaid program that extending enrollment "is the right thing to do for our patients and our state."

Lipman, who chairs the Advocacy Task Force of the association, said that as he was speaking someone without insurance who would be covered if the program is expanded is being treated for a chronic condition in an emergency room because they have no where else to turn. Taking the opportunity to extend Medicaid offered by the Affordable Care Act, he said would ensure that people "get the right care, at the right time and in the right place."

Between 2008 and 2011, Lipman said, that cost to hospitals of providing uncompensated care to uninsured patients climbed 40-percent, totaling $550-million, adding that a share of that cost is reflected in higher insurance premiums individuals and employers. "That is simply not sustainable," he said.

Insurance, Lipman stressed, provides regular access to primary and preventative care, without which medical services cannot be delivered appropriately or efficiently. Without the access that an expansion of Medicaid would provide the care of those patients will remain "unmanaged, uncoordinated and consuming far more resources than necessary.

The association, Lipman told the commission, surveyed approximately 100 physician practices owned by hospitals that serve more than 500,000 patients. Almost all are open to new Medicaid patients and plan to accept more if the program is expanded.

Lipman discounted the projection of the Lewin Group that net revenues to hospitals would rise by $113 million if Medicaid is expanded, but by $158 million if it is not, a difference of $45 million. He cited several factors that suggest that while net revenues will increase under both scenarios the difference will not be nearly as great as the Lewin Group estimates.

Finally Lipman said that despite the expansion of Medicaid, an uninsured population will remain and hospitals will continue to provide uncompensated care. Consequently, the so-called disproportionate share (DSH) program, which distributes funds to those hospitals serving relatively greater numbers of indigent patients, will continue.

The Hospital Association was echoed by a number of other organizations representing health care providers in supporting the expansion of the Medicaid program, among them the New Hampshire Community Behavioral Health Association, which includes Genesis Behavioral Health.

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 August 2013 03:12

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Plane flips over on Rumney Lake

RUMNEY — Neither pilot nor passenger were injured Friday when a sea plane crashed on Stinson Lake in this Grafton County township.

According to the N.H. Marine Patrol, a plane piloted by Donald H. Stoppe of Ashland took off from Plymouth Airport about 5:20 p.m. and was attempting to execute a "touch and go" maneuver on Stinson Lake some 10 minutes later when it flipped over immediately after making contact with the water. Stoppe and passenger Nicholas A. Kontrovitz of West Swanzy were able to make it safely out of the craft. There was also a dog in the plane.

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 August 2013 02:48

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Condo association worried lot merger will give future Kimball Castle development access to Winni beach

GILFORD — The president of a local condominium complex near Kimball Castle raised yet another concern this week regarding the razing of the stone structure built around the turn of the last century.

Reynold Ilg of Broadview Condominiums told selectmen on Wednesday that he fears that Kimball Castle, LLC will merge its portion of the castle property with a 3.3-acre abutting lot owned by David Jodoin.

Jodoin is the principal owner of Kimball Castle, LLC and the castle acre lot that has a 15-foot easement and rights to the private beach on Lake Winnipesaukee owned by Broadview.

Ilg said Jodoin's separate 3.3-acre parcel only gives single-family access to the Broadview Beach.

He told selectmen he wouldn't want to see the big lot merged with the smaller lot because combining the two could give the 25-acres owned by Kimball Castle LLC the same easement rights as the smaller lot, meaning that if the property were to be developed in the future that Broadview Beach could be overrun with additional people.

"We are very concerned," Ilg said, noting that former advertisements for Kimball Castle's sale as an inn listed "beach rights" and, to the best of his knowledge, the actual 25-acres owned by Kimball Castle LLC has no easements to the beach.

Selectmen, in their capacity as trustees of the Kimball Castle properties, must approve any contract before it is submitted to the Belknap County Superior Court for possible approval. Jodoin has given them a draft of what he wants and selectmen held a public hearing earlier this month. The board is now working with their attorneys to evaluate Jodoin's proposal and incorporate the concerns expressed by people who spoke at the hearing into it.

The town holds $90,000 of the $116,000 mortgage on the 25-acre piece of property that was sold with the approval of annual town meeting in 2009. The money from mortgage payments goes into the Kimball Wildlife Trust that manages the rest of the estate for hiking and wildlife preservation.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said yesterday that he has spoken to other people who live in Broadview. He said, in his opinion, it wouldn't make any sense for Jodoin to merge the castle lot with his 3.3-acre separate parcel because that would make the smaller parcel subject to the same restrictions as the larger one.

"He (Jodoin) would lose control over the 3.3-acre lot he owns outright," Dunn said.

Dunn also noted it wasn't in the town of Gilford's purview to determine what Jodoin can or can't do with the small parcel as it relates to the Kimball Castle property.

He said a voluntary lot merger is administrative not legislative and is not a matter for the Board of Selectmen.

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 August 2013 02:46

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Mystery urn containing ashes left at Alton cemetery

ALTON — Police are reaching out to the general public for help in identifying a urn holding what appears to be human ashes that was left in one of the local cemeteries.

Chief Ryan Heath said workers in a small, town-owned cemetery just off Route 11 near the Gilford line found the square copper urn on August 16. He said a bag in the urn looks like one that would be used by a crematory but police don't want to disturb the contents and area funeral home owners are equally stumped.

"We've been trying to identify who it belongs to but we've go no idea," Heath said yesterday afternoon.

He said it's rare to find discarded ashes but said it usually happens after a house is burglarized and the thieves discover what they've stolen and feel bad about it.

"They'll abandon the urn somewhere and we'll quietly return it to the victims," he said.

Heath said this summer Alton has had relatively few burglaries and none of those victims reported the loss of an urn.

He said he has spoken to other police chiefs in the Alton area and none of them have this listed on their records of items reported stolen. Police have also reach out to local funeral homes, again with no results.

He also said police almost never release this kind of information to the media because it is so sensitive, but it this case it may be their only hope of discovering who owns the remains.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Alton Police at 875-0575.

CUTLINE (photo in news email) Alton Police are looking for the owner of this 5" by 6" by 7" cemetery urn found abandoned in a small public cemetery on Route 11 near the Gilford line.

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 August 2013 02:40

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