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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

May 26, 2023


Last Tuesday, the full Council took its first vote on the Fiscal Year 2024 Local Budget Act (LBA) and the Budget Support Act (BSA). The second reading and vote on the LBA will be on Tuesday, May 30 and the final vote on the BSA will be on Tuesday, June 6. Both sessions will be live streamed on the Council website.

I think it’s important to review this year’s budget in the context of the financial realities we are facing. Unfortunately, this year, our resources are shrinking. In February, the CFO forecast a revenue drop of more than $390 million largely due to reduction in revenues from falling commercial real estate values, the end to a huge influx of federal funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and an overall slowdown in the economy as a result of high inflation. At the same time, our expenditures are increasing due to increased costs on everything from existing capital projects to Medicaid, our need to fully fund DC government retirement accounts, and new collective bargaining agreements.

This budget season was tough. But, I’m extremely proud of the work the Health Committee has done during this budget season. All the cross-referencing, researching, tabulating, and collaborating with agencies and other Council Committees has enabled us to make meaningful investments within the healthcare landscape and in the rest of the government. For Fiscal Year 2024, the Committee recommends strategic investments focused on: improving access to critical health care services; increasing support for mental and behavioral health, including substance abuse treatment; strengthening the public health workforce; improving perinatal and children’s health; and addressing key social determinants of health.

Some of the highlights of the Health Committee budget include:

  • Fully restoring the Mayor’s $1.6M proposed cut to the Healthy Schools Fund at OSSE for healthy school meals and nutrition education programs, in collaboration with the Chairman;
  • Supporting the Mayor’s move of $10M for Cedar Hill Medical Center in Ward 8 up one year from FY 2025 to FY 2024. This move will ensure the hospital opens on time in Spring 2025;
  • $685K to restore Healthy Food Access Grants at DC Health, including Produce Plus, Healthy Corners, and Food and Friends Home Delivered Meals;
  • $400k for the diaper bank grant program to serve over 15K families with diapers, period products, baby formula, and wipes;
  • $2M to restore the Children’s School Services grant to address the high vacancy rate for school nurses;
  • Addresses the gap in access to behavioral health services by providing $325K for the School-Based Behavioral Health Student Peer Educator Pilot Amendment Act of 2023;
  • Invests $600K for the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Services Targeted Outreach Pilot Act of 2023 that pilots the effectiveness of an influx of direct support, relationship development, and resource brokering for individuals in need of substance abuse and behavioral health services at three locations in Wards 1, 5, and 7; and
  • Provides $1.69M to implement the Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023, which would expand Medicaid and Alliance coverage for the diagnosis and medication treatment of infertility and fund the study of expanding coverage to IVF and fertility preservation services.

As we head into the second vote, I’m proud to have invested in resources and supports for residents across all eight wards and I’m certain that the full Council will vote to pass a budget that benefits DC residents. Finally, as we head into Memorial Day Weekend, I’d like to honor all the US military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces and their families. These women and men paid the ultimate price for our freedom and security, and I thank them for their service.

In service,

Christina Henderson

Councilmember, At-Large

FY24 Budget Updates

While the agenda for the Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Legislative Session contained the first vote on the FY24 Budget, Councilmember Henderson also delivered remarks about DCPS procurement and the revitalization of downtown.

Legislative Updates

Last week, Councilmember Henderson introduced the Speech Language Pathologist Appreciation Day Recognition Resolution of 2023. The purpose of this bill is to recognize the need to honor dedicated speech-language pathologists, thank the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and speech therapy awareness and advocacy groups for their selfless work, and to declare May 18, 2023, as Speech Language Pathologist Appreciation Day in DC.

This week, legislation to affirm DC's commitment to improving the water quality of its rivers and creeks, honoring dedicated community leaders and environmental advocacy groups for their efforts to restore the health of District waters was introduced via the DC Clean Waters Day Recognition Resolution of 2023. It would declare June 8 as DC Clean Waters Day.

Health Committee Updates

Councilmember Henderson spoke with government and public witnesses during Wednesday's Prior Authorization Reform Amendment Act of 2023 hearing, which would set explicit timelines for insurers to respond to prior authorization requests and appeals and clarify how insurers are to make information on prior authorization determinations available to patients and providers. It would also prohibit insurers from requiring prior authorization for a treatment based solely on cost and require employers to provide timely notice to employees of medications and treatments covered under their insurer’s standard health benefit plan.

Upcoming Health Hearings

Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 1:00pm,  a markup on the Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023 will be held. As introduced, this legislation would expand coverage provided through private insurers, Medicaid and the DC Healthcare Alliance to include diagnosis and treatment for infertility. Although private insurers would absorb the cost of the majority of the bill, we would need local funding to cover the expanded coverage for members of Medicaid and the DC Healthcare Alliance program.Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 1:15, Confirmation Hearings for The Board of Massage Therapy, The following legislation will be addressed:

  • PR25-228 – “Board of Massage Therapy Johanna Brooks Confirmation Resolution of 2023”
  • PR25-229 – “Board of Massage Therapy Maisha Goss-Johns Confirmation Resolution of 2023”.

Thursday, June 8, 2023, at 10:00am, Public Oversight Hearing on the following Boards:

  • Board of Dentistry
  • Board of Optometry
  • Board of Respiratory Care
  • Board of Professional Counseling
  • Board of Marriage and Family Therapy

Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 10:00am, Joint with Committee On the Whole regarding:

  • B25-0278 - School Student Vaccination Amendment Act of 2023
  • School Nurses Roundtable

Wednesday, June 28, 2023, at 9:30am:

  • Opioids/Fentanyl Roundtable

Thursday, July 6, 2023, at 9:30am

  • B25-0244- Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Amendment Act of 2023
  • B25-0125- Uniform Telehealth Act of 2023

Thursday, July 13, 2023 at 10:00am

  • B25-0073 - Ambulatory Surgical Facility Amendment Act of 2023
  • B25-226 - Access to Emergency Albuterol & Glucagon Amendment Act of 2023

To testify at Health hearings, sign up here.

You can stream all hearings live at or on the Councilmember's YouTube page

Christina Around the Wilson Building

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated’s 2nd Annual Walter E. Fauntroy Legislative Day

Councilmember Henderson met and spoke with members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. as well as members of their youth program, Kappa League. The group was also excited to learn that a bill they have been advocating for, The Maternal Health Resources and Access Act of 2021, was passed and funded.

Christina in the Community

DC Department of Forensic Sciences Laboratory

This week Councilmember Henderson visited the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) to tour the Public Health Laboratory, the Forensic Sciences Lab, and the Crime Scene Sciences Division. These DFS employees not only work very closely with law enforcement, but also our hospitals and health centers.
The state-of-the art, 351,000-sq. ft, six-story facility opened in 2012. Dr. Franciso Diaz, the Director of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and Interim Director of the Department of Forensic Sciences, and his team explained the Laboratory’s staffing model, scope of work, and their efforts to regain national accreditation.

Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School

This week, Councilmember Henderson visited The Academy of Hope School and spoke to instructors and students in the Certified Nursing Assistant Program and Phlebotomy Program. Academy of Hope is an adult public charter school that offers GED, CNA, Phlebotomy, and CompTIA/TIA+ certifications. As the Phlebotomy students prepare for final examinations, they needed more practice on blood draws. CM Henderson bravely stepped up to the plate!

Ward 8 Health Council’s May Meeting

Councilmember Henderson spoke at the Ward 8 Health Council’s monthly meeting last week. She discussed upcoming hearings, such as the May 31 markup of her Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023. Additionally, the Council was happy to learn about the Access to Emergency Albuterol and Glucagon Amendment Act of 2023.

Constituent Services Corner

  • 5th Annual Apple Swift Coding & Robotics Camp for rising 6th-12th graders: UDC in collaboration with the Apple Corporation and OSSE will be hosting the free camp from Monday, June 26th through Friday, August 4th, daily from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The Coding Camp will feature rigorous individual and group project work. Interested families should apply here.
  • EletrifyDC info session at Martha’s Table! Learn how to take advantage of new heat pump, water heater, electric stove, and HVAC discounts you may be eligible for. No registration is required, and food will be provided. The event takes place Wednesday, May 31, 2023, from 6:30pm-8:00pm at 2375 Elvans Rd SE.
  • DPR Senior Fest: On Wednesday, May 31, 2023, from 10:00am-3:00pm, DPR will host Senior Fest at the Gateway DC Pavilion 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE. Activities include line dancing, fitness demonstrations, food, music, and health resources. To register, click here.
  • Truck Touch 2023: The DC “Truck Touch” will be held Saturday, June 3, 2023, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM at RFK Festival Grounds, Lot 8. The event will feature a variety of free activities for kids and adults. A host of DC government agencies will present and demonstrate nearly 30 vehicles used to clean and repair streets, change traffic lights, collect refuse, clear snow, provide emergency services, administer mobile health care, and more. To learn more and register, visit Truck Touch Eventbrite.  
  • DC Open Streets-12th Street, NE: SUNDAY, June 4, 2023, from 9:00am-3:00pm, Open Streets is coming for the second time to 12th Street NE in the spring of 2023! The route was expanded from the 2022 event to allow for ONE mile of 12th Street NE to be closed to vehicles and allow people to safely walk, run, bike, and play. The route will feature hourly programmed classes and demonstrations, including yoga, dancing, and more! The event is free and suitable for all ages and abilities. No cars, just people. For more information and logistics, visit the Open Streets website.
  • Register for DC Public Schools Afterschool Programs: Registration for afterschool programming for the 2023-2024 School Year opens Tuesday, June 6. 55 schools will provide free afterschool programming for students in grades Pre-K-8. See if your school is served by DCPS Out of School Time Programs here. Please note, you must have enrolled in a DC Public School to register for an afterschool program. For more information, visit DCPS’ website.
  • DC Black Business Expo: On Friday, June 9, 2023, at noon, the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs is hosting a Black Business Expo in partnership with DMV Black Restaurant Week. The event will take place at the Sandlot Anacostia 633 Howard Rd. SE, and will feature seminars on food entrepreneurship, marketing and branding, business planning and strategy, food safety and regulations, and more. To learn more information and to register, click here.
  • Martha’s Table 5th Annual Father’s Day Celebration: On Saturday, June 10, 2023, Martha’s Table celebrates all fathers and male caregivers at the 5th Annual Father's Day Celebration at 2375 Elvans Rd. SE from 12:00pm – 4:00pm. Guests will enjoy free food, games, entertainment, music, and giveaways. Activities include family art therapy, free onsite haircuts, photo booth, face painting, free prostate screenings, and resource tables. For more information, visit the Anacostia Business Improvement District’s website.
  • Medicaid Renewal, Don’t Wait to Update: On April 1, 2023, all DC residents with health coverage through Medicaid, Alliance, or the Immigrant Children’s Program must renew their coverage. Please visit the District Direct website to update your address, phone number, and/or email so that the Department of Healthcare Finance (DHCF) knows where to send your Medicaid renewal letter. If you require assistance, please call the Public Benefits Center at 202-727-5355.
  • Office of Unified Communication (OUC) Junior Academy Fall Cohort application: The next cohort for the Junior Academy will begin on September 21, 2023! The program will consist of 5 once a week sessions aiming to familiarize youth with OUC career opportunities. They are accepting interested forms on a rolling basis. To learn more information, visit their website to complete the form.
  • Spring Services at Department of Public Works (DPW): DPW began posting residential street sweeping on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. The program will run through October 30, 2023, and motorists are asked to obey posted signs indicating the schedule of parking restrictions to ensure streets are swept thoroughly. DPW will begin cleaning residential alleys from April to October by Ward. For a full list of spring services performed by DPW, visit their website.
  • Have a constituent service need related to the Health Committee or any of the other agencies in DC Government? Want Councilmember Henderson to come to your community event or meeting? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Constituent Services Director Ana Berrios-Vazquez during regular business hours (9:00am - 5:30pm) at 202-724-8105, or

Stay Connected

Thank you for reading! Please stay in touch.

Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember

Mike Shaffer
Chief of Staff

Heather Edelman
Deputy Chief of Staff

Gabrielle Rogoff
Legislative Director

Ana Berríos-Vázquez
Constituent Services Director

Nicholas Pcholkin
Legislative Assistant

Chantal Fuller
Communications Director

Taylor Coleman
Staff Assistant

Health Committee

Ona Balkus
Committee Director

Marcia Huff
Senior Policy Advisor

Ashley Strange
Legislative Assistant

Boyd Jackson
Policy Counsel

Councilmember At-Large Christina Henderson

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 402
Washington, D.C. 20004