State HHS reorganization aims to address addiction crisis

By GARRY RAYNO, State House Bureau

Published Union Leader 3/17/2016

CONCORD — Attempting a more unified approach to addressing some of the state’s most pressing issues, the Department of Health and Human Services will consolidate mental health and substance abuse services into one division. The Division of Behavioral Health will administer the agency’s programs for substance use and mental health services for adults and children, and the New Hampshire Hospital and Glencliff Home.

“The new Division of Behavioral Health will help ensure a unified response to substance misuse and mental health as we continue our efforts to implement the landmark mental health settlement and the federal transformation waiver for New Hampshire’s behavioral health delivery system,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan, “as well as our ongoing efforts to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic and save lives.”

A new coordinated response is needed to strengthen and integrate the state’s behavioral health system statewide, said Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers.

Director of Strategic Integration for Behavioral Health and Substance Use Services Katja Fox will be the new division’s director.