Press Releases

 

Entries in NH DHHS (660)

Thursday
Jan292015

NH House Majority Leader Comments on EBT Reform Bill 

CONCORD – New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline) released the following comments relative to HB 219, a bill that adds restrictions to where EBT cards can be used, including tattoo parlors and cigar shops. HB 219 had a public hearing Wednesday before the House Health & Human Services committee.

 

House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan

 

“The majority of government assistance recipients use their EBT benefits for necessary living expenses. But as with any government program, we need to ensure that taxpayer dollars are going toward their intended purpose.”

 

“We already have restrictions in place that prohibit EBT use in liquor stores, gaming facilities and adult-themes stores. Most people would agree that these are acceptable and reasonable prohibitions on where you can use your EBT card. HB 219 seeks to add some additional reasonable restrictions including tattoo parlors and cigar shops. None of the restrictions currently in law or those proposed in HB219 are necessary living expenses.”

 

“It may be impossible to track how every single dollar of assistance is spent, but it’s fair for the legislature to explore ways to ensure state funds are being used in a responsible manner.”

Tuesday
Jan272015

NH DHHS - Count of Homeless in State to Take Place on January 28th 

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, a count will be conducted to identify

homeless people in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Department of Health

and Human Services’ Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services (BBHS),

together with service providers who serve homeless individuals and

families, will identify the number of sheltered and unsheltered persons

within a 24-hour period. This is a combined effort between the three local

homeless Continuums of Care (Nashua, Manchester and the “Balance of State”)

that BHHS coordinates with the NH Coalition to End Homelessness.



This count is a snapshot of how many people are experiencing homelessness

on any given day in New Hampshire. It is based on information reported

from city/town welfare offices, homeless shelters, hospitals, hotels,

police departments, faith based organizations, outreach workers, 2-1-1 Call

Center, and other organizations serving people experiencing homelessness in

the State.



In January of 2014, New Hampshire reported 2,210 homeless individuals

across the State. Of that number, 1,241 were sheltered, 394 were

unsheltered, and 575 individuals were doubled up (temporarily residing with

family or friends). The total of 2,210 includes 358 families.



An accurate unduplicated count is required by the US Department of Housing

and Urban Development and is data essential in obtaining funds that

directly benefit individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at

risk of becoming homeless in the State.


Tuesday
Jan272015

NH DHHS - Reminder that Food Stamp Recipients May Request Replacement Benefits Due to Power Outages

Concord, NH –With the approach of a major winter storm, the New Hampshire

Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Division of Family

Assistance is reminding Food Stamp recipients that the USDA Food and

Nutrition Service will replace Food Stamp benefits to recipients affected

by any widespread power outages caused by a winter storm.



A refrigerator, if not opened, will keep food safely cold for about four

hours. After four hours without power, perishable food such as meat,

poultry, fish, soft cheese, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items should be

discarded. Federal food stamp policy also establishes four hours as the

minimum time for a power outage in order to replace food stamp benefits.



“It is important for their health and safety that individuals follow the

four hour power outage standard,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas.

“The federal food stamp replacement policy makes the decision to do so

easier because individuals know that they will remain food secure in their

ability to feed themselves and their families after such a household

misfortune.”



Food stamp benefits are 100% federally funded. Food Stamp eligibility

policy is also 100% federal, including the policy requirement to replace

benefits lost in these kinds of circumstances. To receive replacement food

stamp benefits, recipients must report the loss within 10 days of the loss

and provide a signed statement indicating the food loss was due to a power

outage related to the storm. The statement must include the total value of

the lost food. An example statement is provided at nheasy.nh.gov.

Recipients may also contact either their local district office or call

1-800-852-3345 x 9700.

Tuesday
Jan272015

NH DHHS Provides Recommendations on Food Safety After Power Outage

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

(DHHS) is releasing the following food safety recommendations for retail

establishments and residents who may lose power or be affected by flooding

as a result of the impending blizzard.



For residential homes:

DHHS recommends taking the following steps during and after a loss of

electrical power:

· Never taste food to determine its safety

· Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to

maintain the cold temperature

· The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it

is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature approximately

48 hours (24 hours if its half full and the door remains closed)

· Food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is

at 40ºF or below

· Get block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as

cold as possible if the power is going to be out for an extended

period of time

· Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish,

soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours

without power

· When in doubt, throw it out.



For retail establishments:

Retail establishments are reminded that they should cease operation and

contact the Food Protection Section when they have experienced any of the

following:

· disruption of water service or interruption of electrical service for

longer than 2 hours,

· have a contaminated water supply or failed sewer system



The Food Protection Section will approve the resumption of operations when

an imminent health hazard no longer exists or when the establishment has

offered a plan to mitigate all threats to health and safety after a power

outage.



Retail establishments with questions about safe food handling during a

power outage should visit the DHHS website at

http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/dphs/fp/documents/emergency.pdf for a copy of

the Emergency Action Plan for Retail Establishments. Consumers or

establishments can reach the DPHS Food Protection Section at 603-271-4589

or after business hours at 271-5300; or by email at

foodprotection@dhhs.state.nh.us.

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Saturday
Jan242015

NH Senate Leadership objects to Governor’s plan to cut nursing home funding  

Concord, NH – New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) and Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) issued the following statement in response to Governor Hassan’s plan to cut $7 million from New Hampshire nursing homes in order to make up for the department’s spending shortfall.

“New Hampshire nursing homes didn’t create this problem, and they shouldn’t have to pay for it,” Morse said.

“It is unacceptable that cuts are being made, particularly for services like nursing homes, where operating budgets are already very tight each year. The unexpected cuts to these organizations could have serious impact on how they are able to operate,” Morse added.

“The Legislature clearly directed these funds be spent on nursing home reimbursements. The Governor approved the raid of funds dedicated to our county and private nursing homes as part of her effort to fill the budget shortfall in DHHS. However, the budget, signed by Governor Hassan, does not allow this action per a footnote explicitly prohibiting transfers or reductions of the state’s nursing home funding,” said Forrester.

“There are four nursing homes in my district that will have to absorb around $700,000 because of the Governor’s cuts. The likely outcome will be a cost downshift to taxpayers in the three counties my district covers. This is the unfortunate result of the Governor’s inability to responsibly manage the state’s budget,” Forrester continued.

“We passed a manageable budget that the Governor signed into law and have seen revenues coming in just above our conservative estimates each month.  By all measures, the state should be able to live within its financial means,” said Morse.

The Department of Health and Human Services latest budget dashboard shows it exceeding its Fiscal Year 2015 budget by $58 million.