Concord, NH – During this busy summer season of trips to the beach,
vacations, and cookouts, the Department of Health and Human
Services’ (DHHS) Food Protection Section wants to remind everyone to follow
some important food safety practices to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as
Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and Campylobacter.
There are an estimated 48 million cases of foodborne disease each year, but
there is no way to know for sure since many foodborne illnesses are never
reported and not everyone even goes to see their healthcare provider.
However, in 2013, there were 19,056 confirmed cases of foodborne illness
resulting in 4,200 hospitalizations and 80 deaths according to U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention data.
“Food is an important part of vacation and holiday gatherings but it needs
to be handled safely, especially during the warmer weather,” said Marcella
Bobinsky, Acting Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The basic rule is to
keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Just like hand washing, the more we
practice it the more routine it becomes and the safer we all will be.”
A DHHS video on summer grilling food safety is available on YouTube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWDyMOUTrfM. There are some simple
precautions everyone should always take to reduce the possibility of
becoming sick when preparing food, which include:
· Separate: Avoid cross contamination. Use a separate cutting board for
cooked foods and raw foods (especially meat) and always wash them
after use. Wash any utensil after preparing one food item before
going on to the next item.
· Clean: Always wash hands before touching any food. Wash hands and
surfaces often during food preparation and afterward.
· Cook: Pork, lamb, veal, and whole cuts of beef should be cooked to
145 °F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part
of the meat, followed by a three-minute rest time before carving or
consuming. Hamburgers and other ground beef should reach 160 °F. All
poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165 °F. Fish should be
cooked to 145 °F. Fully cooked meats like hot dogs should be grilled
to 165 °F or until steaming hot.
· Chill: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours. One hour if
it is a hot day over
90ºF. 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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture at
, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov , the
DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov , or www.befoodsafe.org .
Entries in NH DHHS (690)
Concord, NH – During this busy summer season of trips to the beach,
NH DHHS - Programs Address Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate for National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month
Concord, NH – July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and
Prevention Month and a number of NH Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS) programs are helping to prevent cleft lip and cleft palate in New
Hampshire babies. Among the services these programs provide are:
customized, free help quitting tobacco (1-800-QUIT-NOW); free texts on how
to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby through Text4Baby; prenatal
services through NH Medicaid ( NHEasy.NH.gov ); and nutrition education and
nutritious foods to help keep pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and
preschool children healthy and strong through NH WIC services.
On average, there are 12,000 babies born in New Hampshire each year, 8.34%
of whom are born with a cleft lip and 7.82% with a cleft palate. Orofacial
clefts happen early during pregnancy. A baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft
palate, or both. Babies born with these birth defects have problems with
feeding, hearing, and speech development; dental problems, including
missing teeth; and frequent middle ear infections. Correction of cleft
defects requires surgery. Some factors that increase the chance of having a
baby with an orofacial cleft are maternal smoking, having diabetes, and use
of certain medications to treat epilepsy, such as topirimate and valproic
“DHHS has a number of programs working toward reducing these birth defects
by addressing these risk factors,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director
of Public Health at DHHS. “Because birth defects can develop before a woman
even knows she is pregnant, it is important that she takes care of her
health from the start. Addressing health risk behaviors even before
pregnancy is important, such as taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every
day and quitting smoking to reduce the risk of poor birth outcomes.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that:
· Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with
an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke,
· Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk
of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate,
compared with women who did not have diabetes, and
· Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy, during the first
trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy have an increased risk of
having a baby with cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared
with women who didn’t take these medicines.
For information on the NH Birth Conditions Program visit www.nhbcp.org.
Resources for women, infants, and children and the many programs of DHHS,
such as the Diabetes Education Program, the Maternal and Child Health
Program, NH WIC, Text4Baby, and the Oral Health Program, can be found at
www.dhhs.nh.gov . DHHS currently offers free help quitting tobacco use
through 1-800-QUIT-NOW (www.TryToStopNH.org ).
Concord, NH – On July 1, 2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and
Human Services, Division of Public Health Services, Newborn Screening
Program will begin screening newborns for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
Disorder (SCID), a group of genetic disorders that are some of the most
critical immune system problems and occur in an estimated 1 in 40,000
newborns. If SCID is not detected and treated early, most affected infants
will die within the first year of life.
SCID will be added to the panel of disorders that all newborns in the State
are screened for at birth. Screening for SCID will use the same newborn
screening specimens already collected to test for 33 other rare disorders.
The addition of SCID to the New Hampshire Screening Panel was recommended
by the New Hampshire Newborn Screening Advisory Board with representatives
from families, the medical community, and public health. This change is
consistent with national guidelines for newborn screening.
“Screening all babies for SCID is an important milestone in the State’s
efforts to help protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens,” said
Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of the Division of Public Health
Services. “When detected soon after birth, this extremely serious condition
can be successfully treated. Adding this screening will help give New
Hampshire babies with SCID the opportunity to live a normal, healthy life.”
About 12,300 babies are screened each year in New Hampshire. Blood is drawn
by a simple heel stick between 24 and 48 hours after birth. The screening
provides an opportunity to detect medical conditions that if not addressed
early in life would cause serious problems like developmental delays, major
illness, or death.
For more information on the Newborn Screening Program, please visit
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NH DHHS - CMS Certification of MMIS Recognizes DHHS Innovations to Improve Administration of Medicaid Program
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS) announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
has fully certified its Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS). MMIS
is the Department's primary system for administering and managing costs for
the New Hampshire Medicaid program.
“CMS certification is a welcome recognition of the Department’s efforts to
implement the state of the art system that is a critical component in
enabling New Hampshire to improve the quality of health and healthcare in
our State,” said DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas. “Federal certification of
our MMIS is the result of dedication, perseverance, hard work and strong
collaboration by a core group of staff from the Department, the New
Hampshire Department of Information Technology, and our MMIS vendor, Xerox
Health Solutions. The new system provides new capabilities enabling more
rapid responses to changes in the Medicaid program. The system brings
greater efficiency and cost effectiveness that benefits Medicaid
recipients, providers and citizens across New Hampshire.”
CMS accreditation ensures that New Hampshire will receive the maximum 75%
federal funding for ongoing operation, retroactive to March 31, 2013, the
system’s first day of operation. Prior to certification, the federal
government has paid 50% of MMIS’ operational costs and the State paid the
DHHS’ MMIS is expected to process billions of dollars in payments annually
to more than 10,000 enrolled Medicaid providers and hospitals on behalf of
New Hampshire Medicaid beneficiaries. “MMIS has been one of the most
extensive and complex information technology projects that the State has
undertaken and CMS certification validates our efforts on behalf of our
Medicaid clients,” said Toumpas.