Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1131.03. Establishment and purposes of the Department of Mental Health.

(a) There is established as a separate cabinet-level Department, subordinate to the Mayor, the Department of Mental Health.

(b) The Department shall be the successor in interest to the Commission on Mental Health Services, established by Mayor’s Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1986, effective January 3, 1987 (part B of subchapter VII of Chapter 15 of Title 1), and Mayor’s Order No. 88-168, effective July 13, 1988, and under receivership in the case of Dixon, et al. v. Williams, et al., C.A. No. 74-285 (NHJ), in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(c) The provisions of this chapter are intended to be construed in a manner consistent with all outstanding orders of the United States District Court inDixon, et al. v. Williams, et al., including the Final Plan adopted by the District Court in its April 2, 2001 order.

(d) The Department shall have as its purposes:

(1) Developing a system of care for adults that is integrated to the maximum practicable extent with other public systems in the District, including but not limited to addiction treatment and prevention, criminal justice, education, health, housing, income maintenance, and vocational rehabilitation;

(2) Developing a system of care for children, youth, and their families that is integrated to the maximum practicable extent with other public systems in the District, including but not limited to addiction treatment and prevention, child welfare, criminal justice, developmental services, education, health, housing, income maintenance, juvenile justice, and vocational rehabilitation;

(3) Ensuring that persons with mental illness and children or youth with mental health problems are treated in the most integrated setting that can be accommodated, consistent with individual needs and public safety;

(4) Fostering the development of high quality, comprehensive, cost effective, and culturally competent mental health services and mental health supports, based on recognized local needs, especially for persons with serious mental illness and children or youth with serious emotional disturbances;

(5) Promoting mental health and public awareness of mental health issues;

(6) Ensuring that services provided to mental health consumers meet standards established by the Department pursuant to § 7-1131.14(2)-(5) for the operation of mental health services and mental health supports;

(7) Developing and implementing strategies to eliminate barriers and improve access to mental health services and mental health supports for consumers of mental health services; and

(8) Ensuring the participation of consumers, families, employees, providers, and advocates of mental health services and mental health supports in the planning, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of these services and supports.

(e) In assessing or meeting the service needs of consumers of mental health services, the Department shall not discriminate against consumers based upon their eligibility or non-eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance coverage; provided, that nothing in this section shall preclude the Department from establishing by regulation a mental-health-benefit program or plan based upon eligibility or non-eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance coverage.

(f) Nothing in this chapter requires or shall be construed as requiring the Department or any provider with which the Department contracts to provide mental health services or mental health supports to persons who are not residents of the District, except where those persons are likely to injure themselves or others if services are not provided or where services are otherwise required by law.

(g) Nothing in this chapter shall limit the civil rights of consumers of mental health services who have reached the age of majority under District law.

(h) Nothing in this chapter shall affect the authority of the Medical Assistance Administration as the single state agency for the administration of the Medicaid Program under section 1902(a)(5) of the Social Security Act, approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 344; 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(5)).


(Dec. 18, 2001, D.C. Law 14-56, § 103, 48 DCR 7674; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 5033, 58 DCR 6226.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-701.01 and § 44-401.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 19-21, in subsec. (e), substituted “insurance coverage; provided, that nothing in this section shall preclude the Department from establishing by regulation a mental-health-benefit program or plan based upon eligibility or non- eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance coverage” for “insurance coverage”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 3 of Department of Mental Health Establishment Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-55, May 2, 2001, 48 DCR 4390).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 3 of Department of Mental Health Establishment Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-101, July 23, 2001, 48 DCR 7123).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 103 of Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-144, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9947).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 5002 of Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-93, June 29, 2011, 58 DCR 5599).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 5003 of Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-93, June 29, 2011, 58 DCR 5599).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) addition of section, see § 3 of Department of Mental Health Establishment Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-51, October 30, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 10807).