Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1141.06. Powers and duties of the Department.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department shall:

(1) Plan, develop, coordinate, and monitor comprehensive and integrated behavioral health systems of care for adults and for children, youth, and their families in the District, so as to maximize utilization of behavioral health services and behavioral health supports;

(2) Assure that services for priority populations identified in the Department’s annual plan are funded within the Department’s appropriations or authorizations by Congress and are available;

(3) Serve as the state mental health authority and arrange for all authorized, publicly funded behavioral health services and behavioral health supports for the residents of the District, whether operated directly by, or through contract with, the Department; provided, that the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (“DYRS”) shall be responsible for the delivery of behavioral health services to youth in custody in DYRS secure facilities;

(4) Serve as the single state agency for substance abuse services and promulgate rules, regulations, and certification standards for high-quality prevention, treatment, and recovery support services related to addictions and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in the District of Columbia;

(5) Maximize and leverage local, federal, and other available funding to support behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery support services;

(6) Directly operate a hospital to provide inpatient mental health services, and maintain the hospital’s certification by the Department of Health and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;

(7) Make grants, pay subsidies, purchase services, and provide reimbursement for behavioral health services and behavioral health supports; provided, that any grants shall be administered pursuant to part B of subchapter XII-A of Chapter 3 of Title 1 [§ 1-328.11 et seq.];

(8) Arrange for, or directly provide, a Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program for all persons identified to the Department who meet criteria for admission for such services;

(9) Arrange for a 24-hour, District-wide telephone communication service to provide intervention services for adults, children, and youth in need of behavioral health services and behavioral health supports, including observation, evaluation, emergency treatment, and, when necessary, referral for behavioral health services and behavioral health supports;

(10) Be the exclusive agency to regulate all behavioral health services and behavioral health supports, including outpatient behavioral health services and all substance abuse and detoxification services;

(11) Facilitate the delivery of acute inpatient behavioral health services and behavioral health supports through community or public hospitals in the District, including coordinating comprehensive behavioral health services and behavioral health supports for children, youth, and their families;

(12) Upon request or on its own initiative, investigate, or ask another agency to investigate, any complaint alleging abuse or neglect of any consumer of behavioral health services, and, if the investigation by the Department or an investigation by any other agency or entity substantiates the charge of abuse or neglect, take appropriate action to correct the situation, including notification of other appropriate authorities; and

(13) Exercise all other powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities previously assigned to the Department of Mental Health pursuant to Chapter 11A of this title [§ 7-1131.01 et seq.], and to the Department of Health Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1996, effective July 17, 1996 (D.C. Official Code, Vol. 3) [Part A of subchapter XIV of Chapter 15 of Title 1].


(Dec. 24, 2013, D.C. Law 20-61, § 5117, 60 DCR 12472.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1141.07.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) addition of this section, see § 5117 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) addition of this section, see § 5117 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

Short Title

Section 5111 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle J of Title V of the act may be cited as the “Department of Behavioral Health Establishment Act of 2013”.

Editor's Notes

For the requirement of a study of mental health and substance abuse in immigrant communities to be conducted by the Department of Behavioral Health, see § 2 of the Study of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Immigrant Communities Act of 2018, July 17, 2018, 65 DCR 5973. Section 3 of D.C. Law 22-141 provided that the law shall apply upon the date of inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-61: Section 11001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that, except as otherwise provided, the act shall apply as of October 1, 2013.