Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, released the below statement relative to the Governor signing SB 459 into law:


We applaud Governor Sununu for signing into law SB 459, legislation spearheaded by Senator Jim Gray which addresses the increasing incidents of workplace violence and supports the need to protect our health care workforce.  Violent acts against health care workers continue to increase in number and severity, and this important legislation establishes the Workplace Violence Prevention Program and the New Hampshire Health Care Workplace Safety Commission, both of which aim to enhance workplace violence prevention through data collection, risk assessments, sharing of best practices and annual reporting.


We appreciate the collaborative spirit that brought this legislation forward with stakeholders, legislators on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and House and look forward to its implementation to ensure health care facilities have the resources and support they need to protect the health and safety of New Hampshire’s health care workers.



Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, released the below statement after the Governor vetoed HB1022:


We are pleased that Governor Sununu vetoed HB1022 which would have allowed pharmacists to dispense Ivermectin pursuant to a standing order and establish a commission to study the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other federal agencies charged with protecting public safety, have all indicated that Ivermectin is not recommended to treat COVID-19, nor is it authorized or approved for use in preventing or treating COVID-19. Current available data from ongoing clinical trials do not show that ivermectin is effective against COVID-19.


There are only four medications that are currently available to patients in New Hampshire under a standing order. The process to establish a standing order has historically been, and should continue to be, rigorous and involve all affected stakeholders and appropriate regulatory bodies. That was not the case with Ivermectin and the Governor rightly vetoed HB 1022.


We appreciate the Governor’s leadership in supporting the health and safety of New Hampshire residents and ensuring the health and safety of our patients, health care workers and our communities.


COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in New Hampshire at levels we haven’t seen since earlier this year during the Omicron surge, and these levels are well below the actual rates of new cases given the abundance of at-home tests. Thankfully, we have not yet seen the kind of significant spike in hospitalizations that we saw previously, but community transmission rates are high and will no doubt lead to further hospitalizations. While we all may be growing weary of the pandemic, we can take steps to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and help us all get back to doing the things we want to do safely.


Vaccination continues to be the most effective tool we have to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce long COVID symptoms. If you haven’t received a vaccine, now is the time to do so. If you have, please get your booster when it is appropriate for you to do so for ages 5 and above. We know that immunity wanes over time, so being up to date on your vaccines is critical to preventing infection, serious illness, hospitalization, and death.


If you are not feeling well, stay home and get tested. If you test positive, talk to your doctor or health care provider about the approved therapeutics that can help you manage your case of COVID-19. And when community transmission rates are high, as they are in most of New Hampshire today, please consider wearing a mask when in indoor spaces to protect yourself and others.


All of these evidence-based measures have been shown to help reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 and will help prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed, so that they are able tocontinue providing high quality care to every patient, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 or some other urgent health care issue.


We are all in this together, and together, we can make a difference to protect our health and the health of those we love and others in our community. This is our shot to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 so that we can keep New Hampshire healthy and better enjoy the summer.


Steve Ahnen                                 Jim Potter, CAE                           Pamela DiNapoli, PhD, RN, CNL

President                                      Executive Vice President              Executive Director

NH Hospital Association                 NH Medical Society                      NH Nurses Association


One million.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one million Americans have died from the disease.


It’s nearly impossible to grasp just what that means or represents.


But too many can unfortunately explain the insurmountable loss of their loved one from COVID-19. Those who have lost grandparents, parents, children, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends live with that heartache every day.


The women and men who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic can also tell you of the incredible grief they feel over the loss of their patients. When the world was shutting down in March of 2020, these brave caregivers rushed in to do what they were trained to do…to care for others. And they did it with great courage, compassion, and bravery at a time when there was so much we didn’t know about the virus and faced limited supplies to protect themselves and their patients.


As we pause to reflect on this incredibly horrific milestone of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country, we do so by honoring the lives of those we have lost and holding up all those who have been on the front lines for more than two years caring for all in their community when they needed it most. We are forever grateful for their compassion, dedication and commitment to the patients and communities they serve.


Steve Ahnen, President, New Hampshire Hospital Association


Every year during National Nurses Week, May 6th – May 12th, and National Hospital Week, May 8th – 14th, we couldn’t be prouder to recognize our nurses, hospitals, health systems and health care workers for their commitment and compassion they demonstrate in serving their patients and communities. 


As frontline heroes, our health care workers demonstrate their unwavering dedication to protecting and improving the health and wellness of their patients and communities.  Their dedication, sacrifice and compassion to excellence are a direct testament of their commitment to the health and well-being of their communities, and we are grateful for the vital role they play in keeping New Hampshire healthy.


However, we’re reminded that they have been supporting New Hampshire residents through the COVID-19 pandemic for more than two years with strength and resilience against one of the most significant adversaries we’ve ever seen.  New Hampshire’s health care workers continue to battle COVID-19 on the front lines while providing the compassionate care that every patient needs.  They continue to demonstrate their steadfast courage and sacrifice that their communities deserve. And they continue to courageously exemplify the Blue and White H of health, healing and hope, and the promise it makes to its community every day, but especially during these unprecedented times.


This week and every week, we remain inspired by the bravery and perseverance that our healthcare heroes demonstrate every day and forever grateful for the compassion and dedication with which they serve their patients and communities. Together, they are healthcare.  Together, they are Granite Strong.

Steve Ahnen

President, New Hampshire Hospital Association

Hospitals & Health Systems Express Opposition to HB 1210


Concord, NH - Hospital leaders urged the members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today to reject HB 1210, calling it a dangerous piece of legislation that would put billions of dollars in federal Medicare and Medicaid funding at risk and prevent hospitals, businesses, colleges, universities and more from making decisions about the most appropriate health and safety protocols for their patients, customers, students, caregivers and employees.


“HB 1210 would upend the ability of hospitals from implementing evidence-based health and safety protocols, such as vaccine requirements, for their staff and put patients and caregivers at risk of infection not only from COVID-19, but other conditions for which vaccines are currently required,” noted Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA). “Hospitals already grant reasonable exemptions for legitimate medical and religious concerns. But requiring employers, including hospitals, to grant any exemption request for medical, religious or conscientious objection would effectively render any vaccine requirement moot and put patients at greater risk of infection, serious illness and death.”


Kevin Donovan, NHHA Board Chair, highlighted the significant financial risk HB 1210 poses for New Hampshire’s hospitals and the entire health care system. “Passage of this bill would put New Hampshire on a collision course with the federal vaccine requirements promulgated and supported by recent Supreme Court rulings, that do not allow for exemptions based on rights of conscience or the automatic granting of medical or religious exemptions. This would put in jeopardy the Medicare and Medicaid funding New Hampshire’s hospitals receive annually.” In 2020, the last full year of available date, that amounted to $2.3 billion for hospitals alone.


In recent guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency has made it very clear: The sole enforcement remedy for non-compliance for hospitals and certain other acute and continuing care providers is termination.


Hospitals in New Hampshire must comply with the CMS vaccine requirements to ensure that their participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs is not terminated and put in jeopardy, placing the health care of all Granite Staters at risk.

Hospital leaders urged the Committee to reject HB 1210 by finding it inexpedient to legislate.


Two years.  The most challenging twenty-four months any of us could have ever imagined.


It was two years ago today that New Hampshire announced it’s first case of confirmed COVID-19.  Since then, our state has seen almost 300,000 people infected, thousands of hospitalizations and close to 2,400 deaths due to COVID-19.


Through it all, our healthcare workers have remained on the frontlines of caring and healing.  It’s been tough, it’s been exhausting, and it’s been inspiring.  Hospitals have stepped up in many ways in support of their patients and their communities.  They’ve run vaccination clinics, they’ve stood up testing sites, they’ve altered their patient case loads to make sure that COVID-19 patients could get the care they needed, when and where they needed it.  And, most importantly, they have worked together, every day, to make sure that each and every one of them could manage the surge in patient care needs. That camaraderie is a shining example of why hospitals, represented by the blue & white H, are so very special and important to the health of their communities and our state. 


The latest fall/winter COVID-19 surge is starting to subside. But we must remain vigilant. Hospitals are going to be very busy for quite some time as they care for all of their patients, especially those that have waited for care. And the challenges that they confronted before and during the pandemic, from staffing shortages to the inability to discharge patients to post-acute care settings, behavioral health, blood shortages and more, have not gone away. 


On behalf of your advocates and partners at the New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Foundation for Healthy Communities, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to serve your patients, your communities and each other.  Your tireless commitment and dedication are an inspiration to many and we are forever grateful for all that you do.


Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.


COVID hospitalizations in NH are trending in the right direction. We haven’t seen numbers like this since last October when the Delta variant was surging in NH.


COVID Data 02172022


That’s great news. But we should not get complacent. There are still a significant number of patients hospitalized as they recover from their COVID-19 infection; new daily infections remain high and test positivity is well above levels considered optimal for pandemic control.


As the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations goes down, it will allow hospitals to start doing more of what had to be put off during the Delta/Omicron surges. That means hospitals are going to be very busy for quite some time as they care for all of their patients. And the challenges that they confronted during the pandemic, from staffing shortages to the inability to discharge patients to post-acute care settings, behavioral health, blood shortages and more, have not gone away.


To be able to get back to doing all of those things, each one of us needs to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 so that we don’t see an increase in severe illness, hospitalizations and death caused by the virus.


And that means: getting vaccinated/boosted; wearing masks in crowded, indoor places; washing your hands often; staying home if you’re not feeling well; and getting a test if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.


When the level of community transmission decreases, we can revisit things like when and for whom masking is appropriate, but until then, it’s still a good idea to #MaskUpNH.


Vaccines continue to be the most effective means of preventing transmission, serious illness, hospitalization and death, so please #SleeveUpNH.


If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that it will evolve, and we must be prepared to adjust our approach in order to keep our communities safe. But if we continue to follow the evidence-based public health mitigation measures health care leaders have been asking us to do for the past two years, we can get back to something that looks and feels much more normal.


That’s something we all want, but no more so than the #GraniteStrong health care heroes here in NH and across the country.


Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.





New Hampshire Hospital Association President Steve Ahnen on the Provider Relief Fund Improvement Act introduced by Senators Shaheen and Collins:


We’re grateful for the efforts of Senators Shaheen and Collins for putting this bill forward on behalf of hospitals and health systems who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years.  The pandemic continues to create significant challenges for New Hampshire’s overwhelmed health care system, and the Provider Relief Fund has served as a lifeline for providers as they battled the surges brought on by COVID-19.  By extending the reporting requirements until the public health emergency ends ensures the Provider Relief Fund does exactly what it was intended to do – support our health care heroes who remain on the frontlines of the pandemic, so they have the resources necessary to continue to serve their patients and communities.


Shaheen, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ease Provider Relief Fund Requirements Facing Overwhelmed Health Care Providers


FEBRUARY 09, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced legislation that builds on their bipartisan work to bolster the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), which has served as a lifeline to frontline health care providers who’ve experienced revenue losses and increased demand for their services during the pandemic. Their new bill, the Provider Relief Fund Improvement Act, strengthens support for overwhelmed providers by delaying complex PRF reporting requirements until after the end of the public health emergency, and extending the use of PRF dollars to enhance workplace safety.


To date, the PRF has allocated more than $178 billion in payments to over 410,000 providers across the country. New Hampshire has received more than $360 million to 1,822 providers.


“The Provider Relief Fund has helped health care providers across the nation stay afloat amid unprecedented stress and demand for their services during COVID. We are still in the midst of this pandemic, and now is not the time to divert providers’ focus from their lifesaving work to navigate a maze of complex reporting rules,” said Senator Shaheen. “That’s why I’m partnering with Senator Collins to provide essential relief to health care providers by easing the timeline on cumbersome auditing procedures, as well as enhancing workplace safety through PRF dollars. Ensuring our hospitals, doctors and professionals have the resources they need to respond to the scope of this public health crisis and save lives must be our priority.”


“Over the course of the pandemic, the Provider Relief Fund has been a lifeline to hundreds of Maine hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and physician practices—particularly in rural areas—that have been on the verge of closing their doors permanently.  As health care providers continue to struggle with staffing shortages, financial difficulties, and other challenges, the last thing we should be doing is adding to their burden by imposing onerous paperwork requirements,” said Senator Collins.  “I am pleased to once again partner with Senator Shaheen to strengthen the Provider Relief Fund so that medical professionals have the resources they need to focus on delivering quality care to their patients.”


Specifically, the Provider Relief Fund Improvement Act helps health care providers by:

  • Extending current reporting and use-of-funds deadlines to the end of the pandemic;
  • Ensuring workplace safety improvements, such as security personnel, risk assessments and physical improvements, such as panic buttons and security cameras, are an allowable use of PRF dollars;
  • Directing HRSA to distribute any funds remaining in the PRF by either the end public health emergency or March 31, 2022, and;
  • Creating an application process for certain providers to receive funds returned in compliance with previous deadlines.


The Provider Relief Fund Improvement Act is endorsed by the American Hospital Association, the New Hampshire Hospital Association and America’s Essential Hospitals. Full text of the bill is available here.


Shaheen and Collins have led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to shore up the PRF to support providers on the frontlines of the pandemic. In September, they welcomed news that $25.5 billion through the PRF and American Rescue Plan (ARP) rural distribution would open after they discovered 25% of allocated PRF funding was unspent and led the push to quickly rectify it. Shaheen also fought to secure a set-aside for rural providers during ARP negotiations, and applauded HHS’ release of $7.5 billion in PRF funding for rural communities last month. During negotiations with the Senate and White House on the American Rescue Plan, Shaheen helped steer efforts to increase funding for the Provider Relief Fund to ensure hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers on the frontlines have the support they need to keep their doors open and continue to care for Granite Staters and Americans across the country. Shaheen also defended the Provider Relief Fund from being considered as a pay-for amid negotiations on the historic bipartisan infrastructure legislation that cleared the Senate earlier this month.




For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on our families, our communities, and our healthcare system.  Already facing complete exhaustion due to the first two surges, hospitals and health systems across the state have been fighting a third surge which has created renewed strain on our healthcare providers.


In response, New Hampshire mobilized the National Guard through Operation Winter Surge to strengthen the efforts of hospitals and healthcare providers by ensuring that adequate clinical and administrative resources are available. National Guard members have been helping in non-clinical areas, like clerical, food services and others, which positively impacts the entire hospital by creating additional resources. By replacing the clinical providers who are filling administrative and non-clinical roles, National Guard members are helping hospitals to meet the needs of their patients during this unprecedented surge.


“When New Hampshire hospitals began receiving reinforcements from the National Guard to help address staff shortages, it has been a lifeline for them during the COVID-19 Omicron surge,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. “Their efforts have been vital in assisting hospitals as staffing challenges impact their operations at every level, from facilities staff to testing and vaccinations to food services, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support at this most critical time.”


Since the beginning of the pandemic, the National Guard has provided important support to state and public health officials across the country to assist them in their response to COVID-19 by increasing testing and vaccination capacity, reducing staffing constraints and ensuring that hospitals and healthcare systems are able to meet the needs of their communities.


On behalf of New Hampshire’s hospitals, we want to thank the men and women of the NH National Guard who are serving so ably alongside our hospitals.  We greatly appreciate their service and commitment to New Hampshire residents, as together we remain Granite Strong.


Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

Steve Ahnen, President, New Hampshire Hospital Association, released the following statement relative to today’s Executive Council vote on contracts that will support our state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts and will support hospitals that are facing a current significant surge in hospitalizations. 


We were pleased to see the contracts approved by the Executive Council earlier today that support our state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, especially those designed to support hospitals that are facing the most significant surge of hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic. These contracts will help increase access to care for patients needing hospitalization by opening up capacity in long-term care and other post-acute care settings. As new COVID-19 cases and all types of hospitalizations continue their exponential rise, these contracts will help support our hospitals as they strive to care for their patients and communities. All of our healthcare workers deserve our gratitude and support and these additional resources will go a long way to making important resources available to them.

But it is also important that each one of us continues to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by doing all of the things we know can make a difference: get a vaccine to protect yourself, your family and your community; wear a mask when in public places, especially when indoors; wash your hands frequently; stay home if you’re not feeling well; and get a test if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Following these proven, evidence-based prevention strategies can make a difference.


New Hampshire Hospital Association Steve Ahnen released the below statement in response to the approval of accepting federal vaccine funds:


The New Hampshire Hospital Association is pleased that the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted to accept the federal vaccine funding that is critical to helping our state and public health partners, as well as everyone on the front lines, respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  As we continue to see a significant surge in new cases and more than 330 Granite State residents currently hospitalized with COVID-19, these resources are essential to our collective response efforts.


Today, November 18th, the New Hampshire Hospital Association and Foundation for Healthy Communities are proud to join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), as well as other state and national rural stakeholders, in celebrating the #PowerOfRural on National Rural Health Day.


National Rural Health Day was created to recognize those who serve the vital health needs of nearly 60 million people residing in America’s rural communities, and the importance of rural healthcare providers who tirelessly work to address the barriers patients face in accessing healthcare when they need it. And since the first COVID-19 case arrived in New Hampshire on March 2, 2020, our rural hospitals and frontline workers have responded with strength and resilience to the COVID-19 crisis on behalf of their patients and communities and do so today as the pandemic continues.


New Hampshire’s rural hospitals support their communities by delivering high quality healthcare in very rural, underserved areas of the state, but beyond the issue of care, rural hospitals also serve as economic engines for the communities they serve, often existing as the largest employers in their communities for generations of families.


Today and every day, they exemplify the Blue and White H of health, healing and hope, and the promise it makes to its community during these challenging times. We extend our deepest appreciation to our rural health providers for their dedication and commitment to ensuring their communities have access to healthcare, and the compassion with which they deliver excellence in rural health settings to every patient, every day.








For most Americans, September 11 is a moment in history when the world as we knew it changed forever. It is fitting that every year on September 11, Americans join together to honor the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died that day. Although 20 years have passed, most of us can remember the exact moment when we heard the tragic news.  More importantly, we remember how we responded.


On September 11, 2001, we were united as one and remember how ordinary people reacted with extraordinary heroism, when without notice, they were put up against a common threat to our country.  Ordinary Americans chose duty in the face of death and continued to help even as the buildings were collapsing around them.  Friends and colleagues overcame the sense of danger as the New York City firefighters and NYPD searched tirelessly for their own.  People sacrificed their lives for the good of strangers, as the passengers on Flight 93 refused to allow the hijackers to succeed.


Today is a continuation of that healing process that began for all of us on September 12th.  Our continued work in healthcare helps honor those who were injured and remember those who lost their lives.  We cannot bring back the lives lost that day or undo the detrimental impacts still felt by many, but we can honor them by remembering that even on our darkest day we are always stronger together.


As healthcare workers, we understand the consequences of traumatic life events and know that healing takes longer as a result of events that are beyond our control.  Now, 20 years after the devastating September 11th attacks, we continue to honor those lost and celebrate our colleagues who are first responders and served in the military.  Because of their selfless sacrifice, we will forever remain inspired by their courage, strength, and commitment to service.