Needle Exchange Program Legislation

February 21, 2017Syringe

A now deceased patient of mine once worked cleaning public portable toilets. He would find used syringes and needles in the toilet and risked needle-sticks on a daily basis. 

Hospitalists and Infectious disease specialists describe the countless patients with endocarditis, newly diagnosed hepatitis C and, less frequently, HIV, due to reuse of needles and unsanitary injections. These patients have limited contact with healthcare for treatment and education.

Many states have needle exchange programs that decriminalize the possession of trace substances found in the syringe/needle. These programs help to give the person who uses substances the education and access to care for treatment. 

Women's March

January 24, 2017

The energy from the Women's March showed how well a small seed of social media can blossom into a potential movement. Although very abrasive, Michael Moore was correct in his statements regarding continued involvement in the process.

As we start the senate confirmation hearings for Tom Price, MD, for Secretary of Health and Human Services, a repeal of the ACA is anticipated and changing Medicaid to block grants is likely. The replacement plan needs to be discussed and considered. A recent study of the economic impacts of repeal without replacement show it to be disastrous for the medical community and the country.

How Does Concealed Carry Affect Healthcare Delivery?

January 10, 2017

Have you ever felt unsafe in your workplace? Have you wondered about possible violence towards you by a patient or family member who was very disappointed with a decision you made to perhaps not refill their medicine? Have you ever requested a staff member escort you to your car at the end of the day? Have you attended "Active Shooter" training at work? Why do I bring this up? Our governor has suggested that he will sign legislation that would allow for concealed carry of personal firearms without a permit. How does this impact health and healthcare delivery you may ask?

Make Your Voice Heard

January 3, 2017

Do you have strong opinions about how healthcare is provided?  Do you want to help guide the society?

Each year, as the legislature convenes we have an opportunity to review the Medical Society's positions on presented bills.  This coming session, topics such as concealed carry without a permit, marijuana decriminalization, therapeutic cannabis indications, and further opioid epidemic legislation will be reviewed. 

The legislative committee will meet on Wednesday, January 11, from 6-8pm at the NHMS office.  We provide a light dinner, and then discuss the proposed list of bills and what position we want to take on them.  We also provide a conference line for call-in members.  Please contact Jim Potter if you would like to help us out!  james.potter@nhms.org

Regards,

Deb Harrigan, MD

Single-Payer Policy for NH?

December 14, 2016

You will notice that this month’s newsletter has an insert describing a New Hampshire Medical Society Interest Group that is meeting to discuss and develop an opinion piece on a possible single-payer policy for New Hampshire. While the medical society is not taking a position on this potential health care reform, both Jim Potter and I (along with other members of the leadership council) feel that this is a very important, complex issue and that participation of individuals with all points of view, both pro and con, would be essential to the development of a well-thought-out, informed process that might lead us to a path for consideration of New Hampshire taking a national leadership role in this area of health care reform. Please do read the information provided and plan to participate if interested. I hope that you will find time to enjoy the changing scenery with our recent snowfall!

Cheers,

Deb Harrigan

Physicians During the Holidays

November 29, 2016

During the holiday season the perfectionism of physicians can become even more pronounced. We want to do it all!  As we start to get tired and burned out from all this extra activity, it becomes easy to lose our sense of compassion and patience.

I was lucky to participate in a special educational session at my hospital on stress management for physicians. One of the best quick stress relievers I have found is to take a quick quiet breath outside the exam room between patients. Another is to practice gratitude-- every day at some point, find a time to think of three things you are grateful for and what your role is in making that particular thing happen. Lastly, on your drive to or from work, take a moment to appreciate something that you notice - the beauty of the sunrise / sunset, a roadside flower etc. 

I hope the holiday season brings you joy and peace.

Regards,

Deb Harrigan, MD

Together We Will Succeed

November 14, 2016

In speaking with friends who were devastated by the election results, I was impressed at how quickly they moved through the stages of grief. My friends made several good points in conversation: we have an opportunity to evaluate our priorities, we can't have everything and we need to act. We need to have an agreed upon focus that will help set the path forward. I think about how this applies to the New Hampshire Medical Society.

The NHMS has a clearly defined mission: At the New Hampshire Medical Society we are dedicated to representing the medical profession as a whole—advocating for physicians, the medical profession, and for the betterment of public health in the state of New Hampshire. Uniting together as physicians and healthcare advocates with one voice, we play an important role in helping to shape the future of medicine.

All Opinions Welcome

September 26, 2016

We have gotten a fair amount of feedback in regards to the work the society has been doing on the opioid crisis (kudos to Seddon Savage) as well as the legislative work that Janet Monahan and Jim Potter have actively engaged in. Some people have suggested we have too much about legislative issues in our newsletter and and on our website, some think it is not enough. We very much want to hear your opinions good and bad – hopefully not indifferent. 

"We deserve better than this."

July 18, 2016

The Republican National Convention starts today, and I find myself in a difficult position. I feel compelled to make some statements about the state of our Union; at the same time appropriately constrained by a need to remain nonpartisan in the role I am honored to fill as the president of the New Hampshire Medical Society. My son tells me I am a bleeding heart liberal. I accept that categorization, as opposed as I am to name calling and labeling. I am not, however, a flaming liberal; the difference being that a flaming liberal puts a lot of provocative bumper stickers on his/her car. I mention the above only to indicate the great restraint I am now exercising. 

A Cure for Physician Burnout

July 13, 2016

I was able to get away last week to spend some time in Maine with family and friends. Beautiful weather in a beautiful state, and of course my favorite people. Now perhaps the part of the trip that stands out more prominently in my memory is the fact that the striped bass have finally arrived in our part of the Gulf of Maine (Casco Bay).

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