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DHHS

Josh Rogers

Gov. Chris Sununu announced plans Friday afternoon to lift some restrictions on the state's hospitals and businesses meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, citing what he characterized as an improving outlook for the disease in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

An employee of the state Department of Health and Human Services, Anna Carrigan, has filed a lawsuit alleging the state is failing its legal responsibilities to protect children from abuse and neglect in New Hampshire. The lawsuit also alleges Carrigan was retaliated against by supervisors at DHHS for speaking publicly on the issue.

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  The city of Manchester is scrambling to find a stop-gap measure after learning the Doorway, the local hub for people in addiction crisis, is significantly cutting back its hours.

Daniela Allee / NHPR

The State of New Hampshire is ending its contract with the organization that ran its Doorway program in Manchester and Nashua.

Granite Pathways will no longer run the Doorway - instead, those contracts will be moved to Catholic Medical Center and Southern New Hampshire Health.

The Department of Health and Human Services found that Granite Pathways struggled to connect with other community service providers and did not follow up on client referrals, among other reporting issues.

 

The state is seeking feedback from parents and community partners on its tentative plan to open a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) for youth in a recently closed wing of the Sununu Youth Services Center. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Governor Chris Sununu established a council through executive order Thursday to coordinate improvements in early childhood care and education. 

The Council for Thriving Children will be run jointly by the New Hampshire Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. In its first three years, it will provide guidance on a nearly $30 million grant from the federal government to improve preschool and early childhood services throughout the state.

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A former state employee fired for what she alleges was hostility over a request for breastfeeding accommodation argued her case before the Supreme Court of New Hampshire on Tuesday. 

The case has been winding its way through both federal and state courts for more than six years. Kate Frederick, who now resides in Vermont, alleges she was fired from her position at the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2012.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Officials in New Hampshire are moving forward with efforts to reduce vaping and tobacco use among teens in advance of state and federal laws raising the minimum purchasing age in 2020.

On January 1, the age for purchasing tobacco and vape products in New Hampshire will increase to 19. 

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A new bill would direct the state health department take a more active role in overseeing the prescribing of psychotropic drugs to foster children in New Hampshire.

A federal Inspector General report from last year found New Hampshire had one of the highest rates of foster children receiving drugs for emotional and psychiatric issues.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has released a report into a series of non-fatal overdoses at the state's sole residential youth addiction treatment center last month.

The report says that most of the overdoses at the Granite Pathways Youth Treatment Center in Manchester were from a drug that one resident smuggled in after visiting their family over the weekend of November 23.

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Governor Chris Sununu is nominating Lori Shibinette to lead the state's Health and Human Services department.

Shibinette is well-known in state government, and, according to the governor, her operational experienced is "unmatched."

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.

Courtesy of Flickr

 

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.

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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.)

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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.

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