Last year, supporters of marijuana use for health purposes cheered when a bill became law. They’ve since been frustrated, however, over the timeframe of dispensaries and patient cards, also the lack of a “grow your own” option. But others say patience is needed, that implementation should be done carefully to avoid dangerous mistakes.
You would think that the commissioner of the state’s largest agency has one of the biggest to-do lists of the year, and for Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas, you’re probably right. A new year brings new challenges for Toumpas: with Medicaid, there’s the implementation of its managed care program, as well as the continuing debate over its expansion.
About 100 people between Friday and Saturday turned up at Bow High School for Hepatitis-A vaccines. They were offered by the state after a second employee at the Covered Bridge Restaurant in Contoocook tested positive for the disease. Rick Cricenti directs Emergency Services for the Department of Health and Human Services He says the agency reached out to more people than those who were at the restaurant when the first infected employee was working.
While work on the state’s next two year budget continues in the Senate, the Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET), a levy on hospital revenue, still sits in the spotlight.
MET collection is $34 million short of estimates for this fiscal year. In Monday's Senate Finance Committee meeting, lawmakers expressed concern about overly optimistic forecasts for the next two year cycle.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas testified before the committee. He says that while his agency oversees Medicaid, it doesn’t handle taxes.
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.
Nick Toumpas - Commissioner for the NH Department of Health and Human Services
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday the confirmation of another patient infected with Hepatitis C while receiving treatment at Exeter Hospital.
This new case, confirmed by the Department of Public Health Services, brings the total number of infected up to 33. That includes David Kwiatkowski, the former hospital employee charged with stealing drugs and refilling the used syringes with saline solution. They were later reused on patients.
Eighteen new batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the greater Manchester, Nashua and Salem areas.
The state epidemiologist says this is the first announcement of West Nile Virus from the state this year. The city of Manchester has already reported 8 mosquito batches that tested positive. That brings the state total so far to 26, 23 in Manchester alone. 2 batches tested positive in Nashua and 1 in Salem.
Last year New Hampshire only found a total of 9 positive batches.
The Department of Health and Human Services has revised its plan for testing patients who were exposed to the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital.
DHHS says that during the past week the estimated number of patients who might have been exposed to Hepatitis C has been reduced to around 3,300, because many of the names on the list were repeats. They say in the new plan to test those patients there are 4 locations: in Stratham, Plaistown, Manchester and Rochester starting August 10th.