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May 9, 2024

Committee on Health, FY 2025 Budget Recommendations and Priorities

Today, the Committee on Health approved its recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2025 Local Budget Act and Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Support Act. The Committee held five public hearings for the agencies under its purview in April to inform their work. The Committee’s budget recommendations focused on protecting and improving the health and well being of our District residents through funding essential services.

For Immediate Release
May 9, 2024
Sierra Wallace, Communications Director
(202) 355-8431
swallace@dccouncil.gov

Committee on Health, FY 2025 Budget Recommendations and Priorities

Washington, DC – Today, the Committee on Health approved its recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2025 Local Budget Act and Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Support Act. The Committee held five public hearings for the agencies under its purview in April to inform their work. The Committee’s budget recommendations focused on protecting and improving the health and well being of our District residents through funding essential services.

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