Department of Health and Human Services

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

On Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee restored millions of dollars for elderly services, the developmentally disabled and substance abuse treatment that was cut by the House.

This includes $23 million for developmental services, $2.9 million for substance abuse treatment and $4 million for emergency shelters. However, these numbers are less than what the Governor proposed in her version. 

DavidWilson1949 via Flickr Creative Commons

The Senate Finance Committee will consider funding for the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday.

The Senate will take up the House budget, which ends funding for the state’s expanded Medicaid program, suspends ServiceLink - which connects elderly and disabled residents with funding and services - and delays a 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital by one year.

While the House budget increased the Health and Human Services budget $110 million over the previous year, it fell $200 million short of Governor Hassan’s proposed budget.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill that would cut more than $88 million from the Governor Maggie Hassan’s proposed transportation funding will move to the House floor.

The House Finance Committee voted 15 -11 along party lines Thursday in favor of a measure, critics say would send a blow to New Hampshire’s infrastructure.

Deputy Commissioner of the DOT Patrick McKenna said these cuts would lead to more than 600 layoffs, the closure of nearly 200 bridges and devastate the state’s maintenance and plowing operations.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services is warning House budget writers against cutting $160 million from the Governor’s proposed budget.

So far the House Finance Committee is proposing roughly $117 million less from the H.H.S budget. Meanwhile a proposal to cut more than $28 million from the state’s mental health services remains on the table.

Deputy Commissioner of the department Marilee Nihan tells the committee these cuts are “aggressive.”

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas told lawmakers he will make up most of the $58 million hole in his budget through $45 million in cuts and savings, including trims for community health centers and family planning programs.

But the issue rankling lawmakers the most is $7 million of payment cuts to nursing homes.

Toumpas told the legislature’s fiscal committee those cuts were a tough call.

“I just had not a whole lot of options, in terms of what we needed to do.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's top health official warned lawmakers his department’s current budget has what amounts to an $82 million shortfall. The legislature’s fiscal committee meets Friday to consider a proposal by the Governor to balance the state budget by July.

As he briefed the house finance committee, Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas stressed what many lawmakers already know – that his department faces a tough balance sheet.

DHHS Offers Free Lead Testing Today

Oct 21, 2013

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services is kicking off a series of events this week targeted at preventing childhood lead poisoning.  

Senate Takes A Look At $2 Billion Budget For DHHS

Apr 29, 2013

Senate budget writers turned their attention Monday to the state’s biggest agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.

The proposed budget for DHHS comes in at just more than $2 billion. It seeks to restore the CHINS program and increase payments to hospitals for uncompensated care.

The budget also lays out $24.5 million over the next two years to shore up the state’s troubled mental health system.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro questioned if the state can wait that long for a fix.

Commissioner Nick Toumpas replied there really is no choice.

Today we sit down with New Hampshire's Health and Human Services Commissioner, Nick Toumpas.  After many years of budget cutting, Toumpas may see some funds restored to his budget... from mental health to children in need of services.  Also, he's working on figuring put what the Affordable Care Act could mean for his department, with the 2014 deadline of full-implementation looming.  We'll talk to him about that and take your calls and emails as well.

Guest:

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services has faced huge challenges in recent years – deep budget cuts, lawsuits, and, most recently, a crisis involving Exeter Hospital and patients infected with Hepatitis C. Now, its Commissioner NickToumpas must take the scalpel again to his budget, even as need for his agency’s services remains strong. We'll talk to him about that and other challenges in his department.

Guest

Nick Toumpas - Commissioner for the NH Department of Health and Human Services

State health officials say they’ve confirmed another case of hepatitis C related to the outbreak at Exeter Hospital, bringing the total number of infected patients to 32.

In a statement today, the Department of Health and Human Services says the patient in question was admitted to Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab before suspect David Kwiatkowski began working there. But they say the patient was released after Kwiatkowski started his job as a technician.