Press Releases


Entries in NH DHHS (714)


NH DHHS - Holiday Food Safety 

Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Concord, NH – As we enter the busy holiday season, the Department of Health

and Human Services’ (DHHS) Food Protection Section is promoting important

food safety practices by encouraging residents to follow some simple tips

to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and


“Don’t let germs ruin your holiday activities by not taking proper

precautions against foodborne disease,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting

Director of the Division of Public Health Services at DHHS. “There are

simple tips for safe food preparation that we should all be following every

day, not just at holidays. Sometimes at large family gatherings our

attention may not be focused as closely on safe food handling and this can

present an opportunity for bacteria to be introduced.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there

are 31 pathogens known to cause foodborne illness. Every year there are an

estimated 48 million cases of illness, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000

deaths in the United States due to foodborne diseases. Symptoms can vary

depending on the illness, but some common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal

cramps, and nausea. It is difficult to say with certainty which microbe is

causing a given illness without laboratory testing.

The following simple precautions should always be followed by cooks and

food service workers to reduce the possibility of anyone becoming sick:

Separate: Use a separate cutting board for cooked foods and raw foods

and always wash them after use. Do not cut raw vegetables on the same

cutting board as raw meat. Avoid cross contamination. Wash any

utensil after preparing one food item before going on to the next


Clean: Always wash hands before touching any food. Wash hands and

surfaces often during food preparation and afterward.

Cook: Make sure all meats are thoroughly cooked by using a meat

thermometer: turkey, stuffing, and casseroles to 165ºF; veal, beef,

and lamb roasts to 145ºF; and ham, pork, ground beef, and egg dishes

to 160ºF. When reheating, leftovers should be thoroughly heated to


Chill: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours. The

refrigerator should be maintained at 40ºF or lower and the freezer

should be at 0ºF or lower. Keep hot foods hot, 140ºF or hotter, and

cold foods cold, 40ºF or below. Never defrost food at room

temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, in a cold-water bath, or

in the microwave. When using a microwave, meat must be cooked

immediately after. Marinate foods in the refrigerator.

Report: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to the NH Department of

Health and Human Services by calling 603-271-4496. Often calls from

concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public

health official calls you to talk about an outbreak your cooperation

is important, even if you are not ill.

For more information, visit ,, , or To report a foodborne outbreak, call the DHHS

Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496.


NH DHHS - Great American Smoke Out Campaign 

NH DHHS Launches Tips from Former SmokersMedia Campaign

in Support of the Great American Smoke Out on November 19th

Concord, NH – In celebration of the 38th Great American Smoke Out (GASO),

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is

launching Tips From Former Smokers, a national education campaign created

by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage

smokers to quit. DHHS is launching the ads in November to recognize the

importance of GASO. This event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society,

encourages tobacco users to quit for at least one day in the hope that this

might challenge them to stop permanently. The multi-media Tips campaign

will run statewide through March of 2016.

“This is a very powerful campaign; the people in the ads are real and they

have suffered from using tobacco,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director

of the Division of Public Health Services. “Quitting is very difficult and

the individuals in the Tipsads know that firsthand, but they were able to

quit and they want to help others quit too. The Great American Smoke Out is

an opportunity to begin a journey towards a healthier, tobacco-free life.”

New Hampshire will be featuring Tips participants Amanda, who’s baby was

born 2 months early and weighed only 3 pounds; Jessica, a mother with a

young son who suffers from asthma attacks due to secondhand smoke exposure;

and Bill, who had diabetes at 15 and started smoking cigarettes at 39 but

quit after his leg was amputated due to poor circulation. Their stories,

the stories of other former smoker, and tips for quitting can be found at:

Currently, 17.5% of New Hampshire adults report smoking but almost 65%

report wanting to quit. DHHS helps residents quit tobacco and provides them

with cessation resources, including free counseling to all residents who

call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or self-refer via the web ( ). The

Helpline provides no-cost counseling and encouragement for quitting tobacco

use to all New Hampshire residents. Nicotine patches are available for

those who qualify, while supplies last.

For more information about the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human

Services visit . For information about the Great American

Smoke Out visit .

# #


NH DHHS - Community Mental Health Centers Step Up for Veterans

Concord, NH - In honor of Veterans Day, as New Hampshire celebrates the men

and women who have served our country, the State’s Community Mental Health

Centers (CMHCs), in partnership with the NH Department of Health and Human

Services (DHHS), are sharing their commitment to New Hampshire’s veterans,

service members and their families with new initiatives and partnerships to

better serve this population.

Earlier this fall, each of the 10 CMHCs embedded at least one military

liaison within their agency under a first-of-its-kind initiative launched

by DHHS and in partnership with NHCarePath. The goal of the CMHC Military

Liaison Initiative (MLI) is to improve access to and quality of care for

veterans, service members, and their families by identifying military

members being served, promoting military culture and competence, and

partnering with civilian-military providers.

“The leadership and spirit of collaboration from Community Mental Health

Centers has been incredible,” said Jo Moncher, Bureau Chief of Military

Programs for DHHS. “They are developing partnerships with the Veterans

Administration, building military culture competence within their agencies,

and coming to this initiative with a sincere interest and passion for

serving this population.”

Only 28,000 New Hampshire veterans, out of 115,000 across the State,

receive care at VA Medical Centers, for many different reasons. The CMHC

MLI is one of several new DHHS initiatives in place to help improve access

to care for New Hampshire’s military by opening up more access points –

while coordinating services and client referrals with the VA and other

military-civilian provider agencies.

Each CMHC has at least one military liaison working 10 hours per month. A

statewide liaison, working out of the Riverbend Community Mental Health

Center in Concord, provides coordination to the effort and support to all

liaisons. Each CMHC is participating in military culture training in

recognition of the need to increase military culture awareness and

competence throughout the organization.

CMHCs are also developing their own programs to strengthen this effort. The

Center for Life Management in Derry secured funds for a flag and flagpole

and will be hosting a dedication ceremony on Monday, November 23rd.

Riverbend has developed a newsletter, Riverbend Reveille, using the theme

of waking up military at sunrise and inviting agency staff to “rise to the

cause.” Monadnock Family Services in Keene is coordinating a staff and

community event to bring community partners together.

Northern Human Services covers 40% of New Hampshire and is working with

DHHS to develop ideas and funding sources to strengthen outreach efforts to

better reach rural veterans, service members and their families. The Mental

Health Center of Greater Manchester is the first CMHC in the State that

will be accepting both Tricare and the Veterans Choice Card, which will

improve access to care for veterans, service members and their families.

The Greater Nashua Mental Health Center and Genesis Behavioral Health in

Laconia provide leadership and coordination to serve justice involved

veterans through Veterans Tracks and Veteran Dockets across the State.

The Seacoast Mental Health Center has already sent 28 of their staff to

participate in military culture training in Portsmouth. Community Partners

in Dover has scheduled military culture training at Frisbie Memorial

Hospital on Friday, November 13. Military Culture Training is provided

through a DHHS contract with Dare Mighty Things, a Portsmouth-based

organization with a strong background in providing military culture

trainings to veterans, service members and their families across the

Country. The majority of agencies have already attended or scheduled

military culture trainings in their area.

“This initiative is a significant step forward to improving access to and

quality of care for our military,” said Suellen Griffin, President and CEO

of West Central Behavioral Health and Chair of the NH Community Behavioral

Health Association. “There are many things that civilian agencies can do to

serve our military, and our association is honored and pleased to be a part

of this campaign.”

For more information on the military culture trainings schedule, visit


MPP - Dying N.H. Woman Files Med. Marijuana Lawsuit Against DHHS

Terminal Cancer Patient Seeking Expedited Access to Medical Marijuana Files Lawsuit Against New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services


Suit filed Thursday by Linda Horan of Alstead asks DHHS to take swift action so that she can immediately begin accessing medical marijuana to mitigate ‘intolerably painful side effects’ of stage IV lung cancer — ‘She does not wish to spend her last months in a narcotic haze from prescribed opiates’


* Statements below from Horan and State Rep. Renny Cushing *


CONCORD — A terminal cancer patient seeking expedited access to medical marijuana filed a lawsuit Thursday in Merrimack County Superior Court against New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services Nicholas Toumpas. The lawsuit is available at

The hearing for an “expedited temporary order” will take place on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Merrimack County Courthouse.

The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for administrating the state’s medical marijuana program, which has experienced several delays since Gov. Maggie Hassan signed it into law in July 2013. On Monday, DHHS began accepting applications from patients interested in participating in the program, but they remain at risk of arrest and prosecution until they receive program ID cards. DHHS is refusing to issue ID cards until dispensaries open, which is not expected until 2016.


“The state simply needs to issue me an ID card so that I can access the medicine that I need,” said the plaintiff, Linda Horan of Alstead. “It’s hard to imagine why it would take more than two years for that. There are seriously ill people throughout New Hampshire who are suffering every day they go without it.”


Horan suffers from stage IV lung cancer and filed an application with DHHS after receiving approval from all five of her physicians. Her lawsuit asks that DHHS expedite the process of issuing her an ID card so that she can immediately begin obtaining medical marijuana legally in Maine and using it without fear of arrest and prosecution in New Hampshire.


“Her prognosis is death within months, accompanied by intolerably painful side effects,” according to the lawsuit. “She does not wish to spend her last months in a narcotic haze from prescribed opiates, but rather wishes to mitigate her debilitating symptoms to the extent possible through use of therapeutic cannabis for as long as possible.”


“Our hope in filing this lawsuit is that it will cause the state to do what is morally, ethically, medically, and legally proper,” said Paul Twomey, attorney for Ms. Horan. “We hope that the state will do what the law passed by the legislature mandates, and stop denying critically ill and dying people medicine that has been deemed appropriate by their treating physicians.”


Horan pled her case directly to Gov. Hassan on September 7 after receiving a lifetime achievement award during the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast. A video of her statement is available at


“As a lawmaker who voted to treat patients with dignity and respect and allow therapeutic cannabis use, I am dismayed and outraged by the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to withhold the issuance of patient registry cards that allow qualified New Hampshire patients to obtain and use medical marijuana,” said Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton).


“I hope the Superior Court will end what I see as cruel treatment of suffering people, uphold the law passed by the legislature 28 months ago and issue an order to the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to issue cards to Linda Horan and every other qualifying patient. 


 “The legislature does not want Linda Horan or any other patient to die without access to medicinal marijuana."



# # #


The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization. For more information, visit


NH DHHS - NH Health Protection Program Open Enrollment 

NHHPP Transition to Private Insurance Marketplace Gives New Hampshire

Residents More Health Care Choices

Open Enrollment in Premium Assistance Program Is Now Open

Concord, NH – Most participants in the NH Health Protection Program (NHHPP)

are now able to begin enrolling in the Premium Assistance Program (PAP),

which will transition health insurance to the private NH Marketplace. The

PAP expands coverage options available to participants, who will see

greater choice and flexibility in finding a health plan that works best for

themselves and their families. Coverage through the PAP will begin on

January 1, 2016.

“The PAP is the next phase of the State’s health care program that has

expanded insurance coverage to tens of thousands of New Hampshire

residents,” said NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Commissioner Nick Toumpas. “The private marketplace will increase

competition among health plans, which will lead to more affordable choices

for participants and lower costs to the State. PAP enrollees will be able

to choose a health plan that works with the medical professionals they

currently see and offer the medications they currently use.”

The PAP provides insurance coverage through commercial health plans, known

as Qualified Health Plans (QHP). Five insurance carriers are offering QHPs

to PAP participants: Ambetter from New Hampshire Healthy Families, Anthem,

Community Health Options, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Minuteman

Health. Individuals currently enrolled with New Hampshire Healthy Families

will be automatically enrolled in their commercial health plan AMBETTER,

but will have the option to choose another plan. Individuals enrolled with

Well Sense Health Plan will be asked to pick a QHP.

New Hampshire residents between the ages of 19 and 65 who meet certain

household income levels are eligible. Eligible residents have received

letters from DHHS that describe the program and the process for selecting a

QHP. Enrollees may shop for qualified health plans on or by

setting an appointment at a local ServiceLink. Enrollees can also call the

DHHS Medicaid Service Center at 1-888-901-4999 for more information about

choosing a plan.

NHHPP participants who require Medicaid services not covered by the PAP or

those who receive health insurance through their employer and are enrolled

in the Health Insurance Premium Program will not participate in the PAP.

Medicaid members who are not part of the New Hampshire Health Protection

Program will not be affected by the transition to the PAP and will continue

to receive medical care through Medicaid Care Management. Well Sense and

New Hampshire Healthy Families, the two Medicaid Managed Care Organization

(MCO) health plans for New Hampshire, will continue to offer insurance

coverage to the non-NHHPP Medicaid participants.

For more information, visit the Premium Assistance Program webpage at

# #