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May Newsletter #1: The Committee on Health's FY25 Budget Recommendations Update

May 10, 2024


The Committee on Health’s Budget Markup is officially in the rearview, and my team and I are looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day and hosting the second annual Black Mamas Wellness Day with the Arika Trim Foundation this Saturday at Sycamore and Oak from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. The event will offer tons of resources for the expecting and parenting, and gift two families with car seats. Please join us!

As always, this newsletter is packed full of information. We have a full update of what the Committee on Health approved for the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget. And updates on what I’ve been up to the last two weeks. Before we get to that, I want to share my statement on the recent protests on college campuses in the District regarding the ongoing violence in Gaza. More than any other city in the US, the District is well-versed in handling First Amendment demonstrations that respects the rights of groups to express themselves, while also maintaining public safety and order. It is unfortunate that tensions have escalated into the recent clashes between protestors, law enforcement, and university officials, and that the loss of innocent lives continues abroad. I continue to pray for a swift and peaceful resolution to this war.  

In service,

Christina Henderson

Councilmember, At-Large

Committee on Health Budget Oversight Update

Yesterday, the Committee on Health approved its recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2025 Local Budget Act and Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Support Act. I’d also like to thank every resident, advocate, community organization leader, student, and government official who testified before the Committee on Health in person, virtually, or via written testimony during budget hearings. You will see your voices reflected in the Committee’s budget report, which you can view in depth here.  

The overall theme of the Committee on Health’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget, improving health outcomes, can be separated into seven categories. Below are a few highlights from each category.

Enhance Support for Behavioral Health and Substance Use Treatment  

  • Expand the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Services Targeted Outreach Grants by providing an additional $600,000 from a transfer from the Committee on Recreation, Libraries, and Youth and from the Opioid Abatement Settlement Fund, to provide support and connections to treatment for individuals in need of substance abuse and behavioral health services at seven locations in Wards 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8 with concentrated outdoor drug use  
  • Extend the School-Based Behavioral Health Student Peer Educator Pilot for a second year by providing an additional $325,000 from the Opioid Abatement Settlement Fund for grants to train and supervise students in behavioral health support and services for their peers  
  • Restore critical funding to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Illicit Drug Surveillance program by providing $400,000 from the Opioid Abatement Settlement Fund to sustain the agency’s forensic toxicology testing and development of new forensic testing methods  
  • Increase resources and support for individuals struggling with Problem Gambling Disorder by accepting a $300,000 transfer from the Committee on Business and Economic Development  

Improve Health for Birthing Parents and Families  

  • Fully fund D.C. Law 25-49, the Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023, by providing $420,000 to defray the costs of fertility services for residents insured through DC Health Link  
  • Approve $300,000 for a new grant for Childcare for Pregnant and Birthing Parents, which will provide childcare to pregnant and birthing parents and legal guardians who need urgent medical treatment at a birthing hospital or facility in the District  
  • Provide an additional $74,600 to the Perinatal Quality Collaborative to implement the evidence-based Count the Kicks Initiative to decrease stillbirths  
  • Approve $225,000 and provide an additional $100,000 through a transfer from the Committee on Public Works and Operations for nurse-led home visiting for families  
  • Maintain distribution of diapers, formula, and other essential supplies for infants by approving $400,000 in recurring funds as a grant to the DC Diaper Bank  

Increase Healthy Food Access  

  • Provide an additional $600,000 in recurring funding for Produce Plus, which provides funding for low-income residents to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at farmers markets, to increase program participation by 2,500 for this high-demand program  
  • Fund a new Grocery Access Pilot Program at $120,000, enabling 1,000 residents who participate in educational programs under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) to purchase groceries online without delivery fees  
  • Ensure stable funding for the Healthy Food Access Grant programs, including Healthy Corners, Joyful Food Markets, Home-Delivered Meals, and Produce Plus, by moving these critical grant programs from one-time funds to recurring funds, for a total of $5,409,066 in recurring funds (plus the $600,000 increase mentioned above)  

Enhance Patient Care and Outcomes  

  • Approve two new Directed Payments on qualifying hospitals, which will generate $127,561,036 in additional revenue for District hospitals to spend on improving maternal and child health outcomes, discharge and transitions of care, substance use treatment, and workforce pipelines  
  • Ensure patients can access the medications and procedures they need by allocating $1,280,612 to fund key provisions of D.C. Law 25-124, the Prior Authorization Reform Amendment Act of 2023  
  • Approve an increase of $17,697,000 in Medicaid payments to nursing facilities that will support the higher cost of care and address workforce shortages  

Promote Student Health and Achievement  

  • Provide an additional $1,411,000 to enhance the School Health Services Program, including enhanced training for school nurses, health technicians, and staff and increased access to telehealth services in school health suites  
  • Allocate $757,386 to fully fund D.C. Law 25-0124, the Access to Emergency Medications Amendment Act of 2023, which ensures that when a student is having a medical emergency, schools are prepared with emergency medication and staff trained to provide immediate medical care  
  • Fund a Sexual Health Peer Educators Grant at $150,000, which will provide training and stipends to high school students to serve as student health educators, teaching their fellow students about pregnancy prevention, consent, STIs, and other related topics  
  • Expand opportunities for middle schoolers to participate in summer programming focused on career exploration by transferring $137,500 to the Committee on Executive Administration and Labor to add 50 participants to the Department of Employment Services’ Middle School Career Ready Early Scholars Program  

Improve Access to Critical Health Care Infrastructure  

  • Ensure increased patient services at the District’s publicly owned psychiatric hospital by approving the proposed increases of $9,372,000 in operating funds and $7,280,000 in capital improvements for Saint Elizabeths Hospital  
  • Restore $907,000 for the Court Urgent Care Clinic located within the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Moultrie Courthouse  
  • Ensure the financial stability of United Medical Center as it prepares for closure in 2025 by approving an additional $10,200,000 investment to cover severance and related employee benefits, as well as document destruction after the hospital closes  
  • Enhance critical animal rescue and animal control services by approving $22,600,000 in capital funds to construct a new animal shelter to replace the current District-owned shelter at 1201 New York Avenue NE  

Tackle Pressing Public Health Challenges  

  • Restore $350,000 for at-home HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection testing, a critical service that is used by 6,000 District residents each year and that lost federal funding  
  • Create a new Tobacco Use Cessation Fund dedicated to tobacco use prevention and cessation, specifically focused on youth vaping use, and allocate $3,415,140 over the financial plan to the new fund from the JUUL Settlement Funds collected by the Office of the Attorney General  
  • Support more accurate, comprehensive data collection on traffic-related injuries to improve Vision Zero by accepting a transfer of one FTE from the Committee of Transportation and the Environment for DC Health’s Roadway Injury Surveillance Data Project  
  • Support the training of pediatric primary care providers on domestic violence, cultural humility, trauma informed care, and safety planning and crisis intervention by providing $25,000 for this purpose  
  • Assist low-income tenants with remaining in their homes by transferring $200,000 to the Committee on Housing to restore cuts to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program  
  • Enhance Access to Justice Initiatives at Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants by transferring $100,000 to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety for that purpose

Christina in the Community

Petworth Porchfest

On Saturday, April 27, Councilmember Henderson participated in Petworth’s Porchfest and hosted a band. Councilmember Brooke Pinto (pictured) also attended the event.  

National Teacher Appreciation Week

Monday, May 6, marked the beginning of National Teacher Appreciation Week, and to show her appreciation for local and national educators, Councilmember Henderson dedicated a video to those educators who have inspired her. She also encouraged others to thank the educators in their lives.

DC Veg Week

On Monday, May 6, in celebration of DC Veg Restuarant Week (May 6 – 12), Councilmember Henderson tried out an alternative meat burger from Bubbies Plant Burgers.  

Texas Avenue Dog Park Ribbon Cutting  

Later this week on Friday, May 10, Councilmember Henderson joined Mayor Bowser and DPR staff to celebrate the grand opening of the Texas Avenue Dog Park in Ward 7. During her first year on the Council, Councilmember Henderson moved a budget amendment to enhance the project that would preserve a dog park project that would eventually become the Texas Avenue Dog Park.  

In Case You Missed It: Councilmember Henderson in the News

The Collins Council Report: Key Developments During the May 7, 2024 Legislative Meeting, Sam P.K. Collins for the Washington Informer, 5/7/2024

 Constituent Service Corner

2nd Annual Black Maternal Health Community Day

SAVE THE DATE: Join Councilmember Christina Henderson and the Akira Trim Foundation to raise awareness about Black maternal health and connect with families in the community and provide them with information about family health resources this Saturday, May 11 from 11:00am to 2:00pm at Sycamore and Oak, 1110 Oak Drive SE.  

DPR Summer Program Registration  

Summer Registration for DPR programs will begin next week! Parents can register their children in Summer Aquatics Programs starting on Tuesday, May 14, at 12:00pm and Non-Aquatic Programs starting on Wednesday, May 15, at 12:00pm. You can browse the list of summer programs and learn about reduced rates here.

Community Engagement Vocation Education Meeting

The Fannie Lou Hamer/Black Women For Justice cordially invite you to join them at our Community Engagement Vocation Education Meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 6:30pm. at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church located at 3000 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. For more information please contact,  

Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day was started by The League of American Bicyclists as part of Bike Month in 1956. The event aims to get commuters to try bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving alone. You can join Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17, 2024. Register for the event here.  

Boost Camp: Enrichment Summer Camp

Launched in the summer of 2021, Boost Camps offer a combination of high-quality enrichment and recreation in addition to an academic component to accelerate learning. Camp experiences are for ages 11-13 and provide intensive exposure and time to acquire an understanding of a specialty area. Specialty camps include Rocket Camp, Robotics Camp, Esports Camp, Journalism Camp, and Drone Camp. You can register for Boost Camps here.

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 our Constituent Services Director Ana Berrios-Vazquez during regular business hours (9:00am - 5:30pm) at 202-724-8105, or  

Information on Services

  • DPW Helping Hand Neighborhood Cleanup: Residents can apply to coordinate a Helping Hand Neighborhood Clean Up. The program supplies toolkits and trash bags to those who apply. Applications open in March and can be viewed, here.  
  • Know Your Rights When Making Purchases Through SNAP:  
    • SNAP Retailers Cannot:  
      • Charge a transaction fee to consumers paying with a SNAP card;
      • Set a minimum transaction amount for qualified SNAP purchases;
      • Require a minimum SNAP card balance in order to make a qualified purchase;
      • Require SNAP users to make a SNAP card balance inquiry before making a purchase.
  • If you know of SNAP retailers in the District that are not following the law, please report it to the DC Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Mediation Program by:
    • Calling OAG’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828;
    • Emailing; or
    • Submitting a consumer complaint online here.
    • Medicaid Renewal, Don’t Wait to Update: 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.
  • Medicaid Renewal, Don’t Wait to Update: 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.

Covid Tests

  • Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests: DC Public Libraries have at-home tests available for pickup! For a full list of library locations with test kits available, click here.

Prevention Services  

  • DC Prevention Centers provide education on drugs and substance abuse, prevention strategy training for youth, families, schools and communities, prevention material distribution, and tobacco use prevention programs. For a map of prevention centers in each ward, click here.
  • Hillcrest Children and Family Center (915 Rhode Island Avenue NW) is a participant in the DC Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Expansion Program (ASTEP). For neighbors in need of intensive out-patient group, individual and family services, assessments, and basic education activities to delay the onset of experimentation with drugs and alcohol, you can click here to make an appointment or call at 202-232-2300.


  • 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 our 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

Sierra Wallace
Communications Director

Nicholas Pcholkin
Senior Legislative Assistant

Taylor Coleman
Legislative Aide

Health Committee

Ona Balkus
Committee Director

Marcia Huff
Senior Policy Advisor
Rebecca Cooper
Health Policy Advisor
Ashley Strange
Legislative Assistant