DHHS

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

After at least two overdoses by teenagers in their care, the state health department canceled its contract with the organization Granite Pathways, which was running a drug treatment facility at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.  

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Governor Sununu signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at streamlining the process for schools to recoup costs of providing Medicaid-eligible services.

The order will expedite the licensing and credentialing process for providers who work in schools but lack a license as a Medicaid participating provider, thus making their services ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

New Hampshire is terminating its contract with the state's sole addiction treatment facility for youth and temporarily suspending all admissions after teenagers staying there overdosed and were rushed to the hospital earlier this week.

On Wednesday, DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers told reporters that swift action was neccessary against Granite Pathways, the organization running the center.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The head of the largest agency in New Hampshire's state government is heading to the private sector.

Jeff Meyers has been commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services since early 2016 when he was appointed by former Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. In a letter to employees made public Monday, Meyers says he will not seek reappointment when his term ends in January and instead will pursue private sector opportunities.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services are scrambling to help schools comply with Medicaid reimbursement rules to avoid massive fines from the federal government.

Schools can apply for partial reimbursement for health, substance abuse, and special education services provided to students eligible for Medicaid. About 90,000 youth under 18 are enrolled in Medicaid and would be eligible for services in schools.

Imagine you are forced to go to a hospital to receive psychiatric treatment that you don’t think you need. What rights would you have?

That’s the question at the heart of a court battle between the state of New Hampshire, the ACLU, and nearly two-dozen hospitals. A ruling in the case could have profound impacts on how New Hampshire treats people who are in a mental health crisis.

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New Hampshire is getting federal money to study the health effects of toxins near a Superfund site in Berlin and in homes and private wells statewide.

The state Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health Laboratory announced Monday it will use over $5 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor residents’ blood and urine samples after potential exposure to chemicals.

Its goal: Increase the state’s understanding of toxin exposure and effective interventions.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

As a new work requirement for beneficiaries of New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid program takes effect this month, some in the healthcare industry say early signs are pointing to a bumpy road ahead.

It's budget season in the legislature -- and the construction of a secure psychiatric unit, a major part of the state’s new ten-year mental health plan, is at the center of a partisan tussle. Also, the state fined real estate developer Brady Sullivan half a million dollars for breaking environmental regulations. And presidential candidates: who’s here this weekend and who’s emerging from the crowded field.

Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers On Top D.H.H.S. Issues

Mar 26, 2019
Dan Tuohy for NHPR

We sit down with Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers. The Department of Health and Human Services is the largest state agency and accounts for approximately forty percent of the state budget. We discuss the state's ten-year mental health plan, as well as recent challenges to medicaid work requirements.  And we get an update on the state's hub and spoke system for addiction treatment, and concerns about the Division of Children, Youth and Families. 

GUEST:

Jeffrey Meyers - Appointed in 2016, Meyers is Commissioner of the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

When Gov. Chris Sununu outlined his budget proposal to lawmakers at the State House on Thursday, much of the speech centered on health care, including some proposed fixes to issues that have simmered for years.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Executive Council has approved a $4.4 million contract to fund a new behavioral health crisis treatment center.

The contract, awarded to Riverbend Community Health, will fund a 24/7 crisis center in Concord. It will provide short-term treatment to stabilize patients before connecting them with community mental health resources.

Riverbend CEO Peter Evers says the center will be an alternative to emergency rooms for first responders dropping off someone in a mental health crisis.

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The New Hampshire Hospital Association has moved to intervene in a lawsuit against the state brought by the ACLU-NH.

The lawsuit addresses the current practice of emergency room boarding, where patients who are involuntarily committed for acute psychiatric treatment are sometimes held for weeks in emergency rooms without a probable cause hearing.

NHPR Photo

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a draft version of a new 10-year plan for improving mental health services.

The 10-year plan is a roadmap for the reforms needed to strengthen the state’s mental health infrastructure.

In recent years, one of the most pressing issues has been a shortage of beds at in-patient mental health facilities.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A former state employee who claims she was wrongfully fired after requesting accommodations to breastfeed appeared in Superior Court on Tuesday, more than six years after her termination.

Kate Frederick was fired from her position with N.H. Department of Health and Human Services in 2012 after she alleges supervisors denied her the ability to leave state offices during her break to breastfeed her then newborn son, who was in daycare less than a mile away.

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The New Hampshire ACLU has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state of New Hampshire over a practice called emergency room boarding.

The anonymous 26 year-old plaintiff in the ACLU’s suit was admitted to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua last week following an attempted suicide. (Update: Jeffrey Meyers, commissioner of Health and Human Services, responds to the complaint's allegations.)

NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services is preparing its next four-year State Plan on Aging and wants to hear from older residents.

 

The Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services will hold 13 listening sessions across the state. It's also asking seniors to complete an online survey.

 

Bureau Chief Wendi Aultman says, while she's seeing an increase in family members needing support to care for the state's aging population, there's also a reversed demand.

 

The Sununu Youth Services Center, a Manchester-based juvenile detention facility, will now provide services to teens struggling with substance use disorder. 

The Department of Health and Human Services says it will be a residential facility with 36 beds that will be run by a non-governmental organization. The center has undergone several changes within the past year after lawmakers passed legislation related to juvenile justice reform, and it's population has declined.

Construction is wrapping up on a new drug treatment facility at the John H. Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The 36-bed facility at the detention center will provide services to people ages 12 to 18 with substance use disorder.

NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday it will hold six public input and information sessions across New Hampshire on the subject of mental health.

 

The state wants to hear concerns of residents as it continues to work on its 10-year mental health plan.

 

Julianne Carbin, director of the DHHS Bureau of Mental Health Services, says development of the 10-year plan has been underway since early 2018.

 

New Hampshire has one of the country’s highest rates of foster care kids receiving drugs for emotional and psychiatric issues, and many of them don’t have a treatment plan.

That’s according to a report released this week from the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ten community health centers in New Hampshire are splitting over $835,000 in federal grants to improve health care delivery. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the money last week after reviewing the performance of all 1,400 federally qualified health centers in the United States. Eight of the ten centers in New Hampshire receiving awards were also named “Health Center Quality Leaders” for ranking in the top 30th percent of centers nationwide. 

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The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday that temporary rules are in place to expand the state’s Medicaid to Schools Program. 

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services wants to improve its child welfare system by integrating mental health, substance abuse, and preventive services to better support youth and families.

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The juvenile justice system in New Hampshire is built around the idea of rehabilitation. Instead of going to jail, young people who commit crimes gain access to services like counseling and substance abuse treatment to address the underlying causes of their behavior.

But a blind spot in the state’s juvenile justice system can keep some kids from getting the help they need.

Eric Molina via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4wWBoY

The Department of Health and Human Services is cancelling a funding opportunity for needle exchange programs because the grants would appear to violate state law.

Needle exchanges were legalized in the state last summer, but the new statute said groups that provide clean syringes to injection drug users must be “self-funded” to operate in New Hampshire.

NHPR

Our series on mental health in New Hampshire concludes with a look at the role of the state psychiatric hospital in responding to crises, and at what happens once a patient leaves, including what's available in terms of treatment, jobs, housing, and community support. 

Department of Human Health and Services

The state Division of Children, Youth, and Families, or DCYF, has been criticized for its handling of child abuse cases.

The division came under scrutiny following the deaths of two young girls whose cases were under review.

Now, legislative action is being taken to try and resolve those issues.

Christine Tappan was confirmed as the associate commissioner of Health and Human Services last week. Her hire is part of a reorganization of DCYF. She’ll oversee the agency where she actually worked before, from 2008 to 2012.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers said he made multiple attempts throughout 2016 to clarify whether the federal government approved of New Hampshire’s use of provider donations to fund its current Medicaid expansion plan — but the agency never gave him a definitive "yes" or "no" answer last year.

Hong Seung Hui via Flickr CC

Operators of child care centers are expressing concern over proposed rule changes in how they are licensed by the state.

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to tighten some regulations for childcare workers, including requiring additional professional development and a $50 dollar card that would verify a worker has passed a background check.

Johanna Booth-Miner runs the Live and Learn Early Learning Center in Lee. She says she wants high standards for childcare workers, but she says these regulations will add costs to an already expensive business.

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