Dave Holden introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians, but began by introducing himself as: "I am Dave Holden, Secretary of Defense". This prompted a remark from one of my table members: "then we're in trouble."

The two-minute tid-bit: which Rotary club in our district is the largest? Justin Finn got it right: us! We were then informed that there are two simple steps to proposing a new member to our club: 1. Look in your community for someone of suitable leadership and giving qualities and, 2. Go to the web, look at the club documents, print off the application, fill it out with the applicant, then turn it into the Board (which seemed to your Editor like more than two steps, but who's counting?).

Speaking of new members, Bill Mortimer re-introduced long time Portsmouth Rotary Club member Jack Kelly, who happens also to be a Paul Harris Fellow. Jack remarked that he was very happy to be back and thanked the club for all of the good wishes while he was in the hospital. Welcome back Jack!


Dave Underhill thanked Marie Brownell for getting the tree sales off the ground with 64 already signed up and, although required to only serve three shifts, six Rotarians have signed up for 4 shifts! E-mail Marie Brownell to sign up or if you have any questions. Sign-ups are also at each meeting. Day captains are needed!..See Priscilla if you would like to help out with the Thanksgiving dinner. They need cooks, delivery people, servers, and a variety of other helpers... The Food Drive is coming up at Philbricks Fresh Market on October 26, so bring your food and volunteer.

Wildcat tickets were generously donated by a Stella Scamman and and Gene Dougherty and were auctioned off by Walter Liff. Thank you Gene and Stella!

The Program

Former president Neil introduced our guest speaker,

Nick Toumpas, who received his appointment as the Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services on January 16, 2008 and was sworn in as Commissioner by Governor and Council on January 22, 2008. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the largest agency in New Hampshire state government, responsible for the health, safety and well being of the citizens of New Hampshire. DHHS provides services for individuals, children, families and seniors and administers programs and services such as mental health, developmental disability, substance abuse and public health. This is accomplished through partnerships with families, community groups, private providers, other state and local government entities, and many citizens throughout the State who help make New Hampshire a special place in which to live.

The Commissioner's message was about Medicaid in New Hampshire: what is it and why we should care.

Medicaid is public insurance for low income people. 55 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid. It is their safety net. The Medicaid program is the largest provider of long-term services in the country. 170,000 New Hampshire citizens participate in Medicaid, 14% of our population. 7% of the Portsmouth population participates in Medicaid and in Coos County, 20% of the population participates. 11% of our state budget is dedicated to Medicaid.

The problem is that the 14,000 medical providers in the state are paid on a transactional basis and this encourages volume, not quality. There is no requirement for a primary doctor and therefore patients go to the emergency room (partly because doctors don't want Medicaid rates) and emergency room rates therefore skyrocket. The Commissioner wants to move to a managed care model because, he believes, the current model is not sustainable. The objective is to have better control over the provision of healthcare services in the state. 7% of the Medicaid population is the elderly, but they drive 25% of the cost. Mental illness patients comprise 8% of the Medicaid population, but drive 23% of the cost. States across the country are looking at how to cut their budgets and this is one of the areas where reform of the model will help to save money for the overall state budget.

Speaking of budgets, the 50/50 raffle had no match… Again! The bonus next week is $1525!

Mistletoe Missive

Portsmouth Rotary, Volume 1 Number 6

Impressive Showing!   

It’s only October 16th and nearly 100 Rotarians have signed up for at least one of the three required tree selling shifts!  This has got to be a record for our club and we are well on our way to completing our schedule and getting on to the matter at hand – selling Christmas Trees and raising money for our charitable budget!  Thank you all and especially to Marie Brownell for making this happen!

The sign-up sheets will be available at the meeting this Thursday.  Day Captains are needed!  Remember that Rotarians have until the end of October to voluntarily sign up for shifts – after which, shifts will be assigned based upon need.

Commercial Wreath Sale:

This new venture is well underway with loads of publicity and direct sales efforts by our wreath committee.  If you are interested in purchasing wreaths for your home, office or as a gift, and have not yet placed your order, please see Mark Sullivan.  Sales will take place during the month of October.

Cashier Training:

Don’t forget to attend one of the many cashier training sessions offered by our very own Shannon Aldrich.  All Rotarians signed on for a cashier shift must have attended one of the following sessions:  November 1st, 8th and 15th just before Rotary at the PCC (11:15-11:45) and Wednesday, November 14th at 5:30 pm and  Saturday, November 17th at 10:00 am both at the Keller Williams training facility, second floor, 501 Islington Street (next to Dunkin Donuts).

New Look/New Signage:

It’s about time Portsmouth Rotary stepped into the 21st century!  Not only will our trailer have a new look and design (thanks to Butch Ricci, Ben Wheeler and a few other hard working Rotarians), but we will have more updated signage thanks to Bill Hurley and Infinite Imaging!  Keep on the look-out for our new and improved image!


Yours in Rotary,

Patricia Cummings, vice-president and tree committee chair understudy