NH DHHS - “Ask the Question” Program Launched To Better Serve NH Veterans, Service Members and Their Families

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Community Based Care Services, Bureau of Community

Based Military Programs has awarded the Ask the Question Outreach and

Education contract to Easter Seals NH. This $1.3 million contract, approved

by Governor Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council on March 25th, will

include a statewide campaign that will encourage healthcare agencies,

social service organizations, and other groups, organizations, and agencies

to ask the question, “Have you ever served in the military?” The funding is

provided by the Department’s Balancing Incentive Program.

Of the 115,000 veterans residing in New Hampshire, only 30,000 receive

their healthcare at the VA Medical Center. Not all veterans are eligible

for care through the Veterans Administration and some veterans choose not

to seek care there. The Ask the Question campaign provides an opportunity

to educate and engage the civilian sector in understanding our military and

better serving this population. Today, this question is not included on the

vast majority of health history forms in our State, nor is it routinely

included when people access other community programs and services.

This campaign will not only Ask the Question, but it will also educate

providers about referral pathways and identify resources when a veteran

answers “yes” to the question. The initiative can help lead to more

accurate diagnoses and also identify whether a veteran is eligible for VA

healthcare services and benefits.

The catalyst behind this initiative came through the efforts of the NH

Legislative Commission on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). “We need to improve access to care and

quality of care for our veterans,” said Jo Moncher, Chair of the Commission

on the PTSD and TBI and Bureau Chief of Community Based Military Programs

for DHHS. “We cannot improve access to care unless we know where our

veterans are receiving care. Asking the question, ‘Have you served?’ is a

simple step that can open the door to greater care, treatment, and


“Our Department is pleased to award this contract to Easter Seals NH,” said

DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “Easter Seals has been providing care

coordination to our veterans, service members, and their families for

nearly a decade, and concurrently building a strong philanthropic movement

through Veterans Count to meet veterans’ emergency financial needs.”

Easter Seals has engaged Catchfire Creative, LLC to design the media and

messaging for the Ask the Question campaign, and will carry out “boots on

the ground” outreach and education to a wide range of providers statewide

through an inter-agency partnership that includes the Family Resource

Center at Gorham and the statewide network of ServiceLink Resource Centers.

“Easter Seals and our partners are honored to collaborate with the NH

Department of Health and Human Services on this initiative that will engage

and educate service providers throughout the State about the importance of

connecting in significant ways with those who have served our country,”

said Easter Seals NH President and CEO Larry Gammon. “We have a strong

history of serving veterans and are eager to continue this important and

life-changing work.”

”New Hampshire has the fifth largest concentration of military veterans in

the nation,” said Major General Bill Reddel, the Adjutant General of the

New Hampshire National Guard. ”Many of them do not use the resources

available to them such as medical, behavior and educational benefits. By

asking the question, ‘Have you ever served or has someone in your family

served?’ you will help point our veterans and their families in the right

direction, to the help they need and deserve.”

“I encourage healthcare and social service professionals as well as law

enforcement, institutions of higher learning and other civilian agencies to

Ask the Question,” Reddel said. ”Help give our veterans the care they have


The Ask the Question Campaign is dedicated to Lt. Col. Stephanie Riley, a

former nurse with the NH Air National Guard and a strong advocate and

leader for Ask the Question. Lt. Col. Riley died of lung cancer in December

of last year, but her message and spirit continue to create positive change

within our State.