Press Releases


Entries in NH DHHS (624)


NH DHHS - Food Safety Tips for the Summer Season

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, 128,000

hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States.

“Food is an important part of vacation and holiday gatherings but it needs

to be handled safely, especially during the warmer weather,” said Dr. José

Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The basic rule is keep hot

foods hot and cold foods cold. It may be common sense, but it should never

be overlooked. 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 There are some simple

precautions everyone should always take to reduce the possibility of

becoming sick when preparing food, which include:

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

(especially meat) and always wash them after use. Avoid cross

contamination. 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  or

, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at , the

DHHS website at , or .


NH DHHS - Mosquito Season Has Begun and New Hampshire Residents Are Encouraged to Take Precautions against Diseases 

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

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging residents

and visitors to the State to take precautions against mosquito bites this

season to prevent West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE),

and other mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes are already out and the most

likely time for them to spread disease is June through September.

During the 2013 season, 24 batches of mosquitoes tested positive for EEE

and 14 batches tested positive for WNV. Three horses tested positive for

EEE and one for WNV. There was also a human case of WNV but no EEE cases.

“Though the numbers of human infections for West Nile Virus and EEE have

been low for the past couple of years, unfortunately we can never predict

from year to year how prevalent these diseases are going to be,” said Dr.

José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The weather from year to

year plays a role, but it is important that residents take the appropriate

precautions every year, most importantly using an insect repellent, to

avoid becoming infected by one of these diseases.”

Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus are transmitted through the

bite of an infected mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an

infected bird. EEE is a serious disease that carries a high mortality rate

for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness.

Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, and a sore throat. A

stiff neck is also a symptom of the severe form of the disease, which can

lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur 4 to 10 days after

someone is bitten.

For individuals who are bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile Virus, the

risk of contracting the infection is low and, in the overwhelming majority

of cases, there are no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms. At times,

West Nile Virus can cause meningitis and can be a serious threat to

seniors, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. If

illness does occur, it typically happens within 3 to 15 days after being

bitten by an infected mosquito.

Precautionary steps everyone should take to prevent being bitten by

mosquitoes include:

· Using an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon

eucalyptus, or IR3535 against mosquitoes

· Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors when mosquitoes

are biting

· Make sure to remove standing water around your home where mosquitoes

can breed, such as in tires, flower pots, or pool covers

· Make sure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and do not have


· Monitor yourself if you are bitten by mosquitoes and tell your

healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms of WNV or EEE

For more information about WNV, EEE, or other mosquito-borne diseases,

visit the DHHS website at , the Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention website at , or call the DHHS Bureau of

Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x4496.


NH DHHS Updates Flooding Damage at Southern District Office

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

(DHHS) is announcing some operations are resuming today at its Southern

District Office. Some staff from the Division of Client Services and the

New Hampshire Employment Program will be back at the Nashua facility.

Staff will be there to receive paper applications from clients, as well as

schedule and conduct in person interviews. These are the only staff that

are returning to the building as of this time as there are still

significant repairs that must be completed in order to reopen the facility.

DHHS regrets any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciates your

understanding and cooperation.

While the rest of the office remains closed, clients can seek DHHS services

as follows:

The Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services: 603-271-7014 or 1-800-949-0470

The Division of Children, Youth and Families: 1-800-852-7493 Ext 5

The Division of Child Support Services: 603-271-4427 or 1-800-852-3345 ext


or via the web at

Clients can also apply for services online at


NH DHHS - NH Health Protection Program Meetings to be held Statewide

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

(DHHS) is announcing 12 Statewide information sessions about the

implementation of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NH HPP).

With recent changes to New Hampshire law, there are new options for health

insurance at little or no cost to those who qualify. The information

sessions will provide important information about the program, coverage,

eligibility and how to apply.

“The New Hampshire Health Protection Program will help provide access to

health care coverage to people in our State who may have never had

insurance before,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This

initiative has the potential to help improve the health of thousands of

people by ensuring they have access to care not only in times of need, but

for preventative care as well. We want people to come to these sessions so

they can learn more about the program and get their questions answered.”

The NH Health Protection Program has two coverage options. The Health

Insurance Premium Payment Program (HIPP) will help cover insurance costs

for someone if they or a member of their family have access to health

insurance through an employer. The Bridge Program is for those that don’t

have access to health insurance through an employer, or if they do not

qualify for the HIPP Program.

The NH HPP is being offered to people between 19 and 65 years old. To be

eligible, a household of one would have a monthly income limit of $1,294; a

household of two, $1,744 or less per month; a household of three monthly

income limit of $2,194; or a household of four with a monthly imcome limit

of $2,644 or less.

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible (or their family members or care

givers) and human service agency coordinators who work with those who may

be eligible are encouraged to attend. Others who are interested in hearing

more about the NH HPP are also welcome to attend.

These are informational sessions only, it is not for people to apply. All

12 sessions will cover the same information, so people need to attend only


Registration is not required, but is appreciated. To register go to

Anyone in need of accommodations for communication access such as

interpreters, CART, assistive listening devices, or other auxiliary aids

and/or services should make that request at least 3 business days (72

hours) prior to the meeting you wish to attend to ensure availability. To

request this call Alex McIntire at 603-224-5566 or

Meeting Schedule

Concord, Monday, June 9, Brown Building Auditorium, 129 Pleasant St.,

5:30-7 pm

Manchester, Tuesday, June 10, Health Department,1528 Elm St., 5:30-7 pm

Conway, Wednesday, June 11, Kennett Middle School, 176 Main St., 5:30-7 pm

Keene, Thursday, June 12, Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., 5:30-7 pm

Laconia, Monday, June 16, Laconia Middle School, 150 McGrath St., 5:30-7 pm

Berlin, Tuesday, June 17, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, 59 Page Hill Rd.,

5:30-7 pm

Claremont, Wednesday, June 18, River Valley Community College, 1 College

Dr., 5:30-7 pm

Nashua, Thursday, June 19, Nashua High South, 36 Riverside Dr., 5:30-7 pm

Derry, Tuesday, June 24, Municipal Center, 14 Manning St., 5:30-7 pm

Littleton, Wednesday, June 25, Littleton High School, 159, Oak Hill Ave,

5:30-7 pm

Dover, Thursday, June 26, Dover Middle School, 16 Daley Dr., 5:30-7 pm

Portsmouth, Tuesday, July 1, Portsmouth Public Library, 175 Parrott Ave.,

5:30-7 pm


NH DHHS - Changes Coming to MCM Program

Meridian Health Plan Announces Departure

Concord, NH –Meridian Health Plan, one of three Managed Care Organizations

(MCOs) providing benefits under the Medicaid Care Management (MCM) Program,

has chosen to withdraw from the State of New Hampshire effective June 30,

2014. Meridian, based in Detroit, Michigan, requested withdrawal from the

program in order to focus on the growth of its core businesses in the

Midwest. With the addition of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program

coming later this year, Meridian and DHHS agreed that a summer withdrawal

would provide the best opportunity to minimize any disruption to the

Program and its members.

“We will work quickly with the company to develop a transition plan that

protects Meridian members,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner

Nicholas Toumpas. “Meridian’s members and providers can be assured that we

will work very closely with Meridian on how best to transition their

members to our other two MCOs. I want to acknowledge the professionalism

Meridian has shown in all its efforts assisting the Department implement

the first phase of MCM, and in building positive relationships with the

State’s providers.”

Both organizations have affirmed that the top priority in the transition is

the protection of Meridian’s members and the providers who serve them.

Meridian and DHHS are currently collaborating on the details of a

transition plan. Meridian will continue to provide services until July 31,

2014. During the transition period, Meridian members will continue to

receive the same benefits, and Meridian will reimburse its providers for

all services provided to its members through July 31. Further details will

be communicated to all members and providers as they become available.

Meridian was one of New Hampshire’s three MCOs involved in the successful

launch of New Hampshire’s Medicaid Care Management Program back on December

1, 2013. Meridian’s members will be transitioned to one of the remaining

MCOs, New Hampshire Healthy Families or Well Sense Health Plan.

“This has not been an easy decision,” said Dr. David Cotton, Meridian’s

CEO, “but our recent growth in the Midwest demands that we refocus our

resources to continue to provide top-quality managed care products in our

core markets.” Meridian additionally operates Medicaid managed care plans

in Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa. “It has been a privilege to be a part of

the MCM program’s development and to serve the people of New Hampshire.”

New Hampshire Medicaid Care Management members with questions can call the

Department at 603-271-9461. Meridian members may also contact Meridian’s

own Member Services at 855-291-5221, while providers should call Meridian’s

Provider Services at 877-480-8250. Providers may also contact their Network

Development Representative.