Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 1. Public Health.


Subchapter I. Commissioner of Public Health.

§ 7–101. Appointment; duties generally.

The Mayor of the District of Columbia shall appoint a physician as Commissioner of Public Health, whose duty it shall be, under the direction of the said Mayor, to execute and enforce all laws and regulations relating to the public health and vital statistics, and to perform all such duties as may be assigned to him by said Mayor.


(June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 8; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-101.

1973 Ed., § 6-101.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: Section 1 of the Act of August 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, provided that the Health Officer of the District of Columbia would be known as the Director of Public Health. The Health Department of the District of Columbia, including the office of the head thereof, was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 57 of the Board of Commissioners, dated June 30, 1953, and Reorganization Order No. 52, dated June 30, 1953, combined and redesignated Organization Order No. 141, dated February 11, 1964, established under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Health headed by a Director, for the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public health and hospital care programs, and for performing certain other allied medical and paramedical functions. The Anatomical Board was established under the direction and control of the Director of Public Health consisting of members as prescribed in the D.C. Code. The Order prior to redesignation abolished the previously existing Health Department, Gallinger Hospital, Glenn Dale Sanatorium, and the Anatomical Board and transferred their functions and positions to the new Department. The organization of the new Department was set out in the Order. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Functions stated in Organization Order No. 141 were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980, which Plan established the Department of Human Services.

Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979 established the Office of Public Health, headed by a Commissioner of Public Health, in the Department of Human Services.

Department of Human Services established: Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1986 re-established the Department of Human Services, headed by a Director.

Mayor's Orders

Establishment of the Mayor’s Study Commission on the Public Sector Health Care Delivery System: See Mayor’s Order 90-102, July 17, 1990.

Establishment of the Health System Reorganization Office: See Mayor’s Order 90-105, July 25, 1990.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–102. Enforcement of vital statistics regulations. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-34, § 30(a), 28 DCR 3271.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-102.


§ 7–103. Sanitary Inspectors — Appointment; qualifications; subordinates.

There may be appointed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, on the recommendation of the Director of the Department of Human Services, a reasonable number of Sanitary Inspectors for said District, to hold such appointment at any 1 time, of whom 2 may be physicians, and 1 shall be a person skilled in the matters of drainage and ventilation; and said Mayor may remove any of the subordinates, and from time to time may prescribe the duties of each.


(June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 9; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 6(a), 53 DCR 6794.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-103.

1973 Ed., § 6-104.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-191 validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–104. Sanitary Inspectors — Reports.

Said Inspectors shall be respectively required to make, at least once in 2 weeks, a report to said Director of the Department of Human Services, in writing, of their inspections, which shall be preserved on file.


(June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 9; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 6(a), 53 DCR 6794.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-104.

1973 Ed., § 6-105.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-191 validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–105. Report by Director.

Said Director of the Department of Human Services shall report in writing annually to said Mayor of the District of Columbia, and so much oftener as he shall require.


(June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 9; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 6(a), 53 DCR 6794.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-105.

1973 Ed., § 6-106.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-191 validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–106. Clerks to Director.

The Mayor of the District of Columbia may appoint, on the like recommendation of the Director of the Department of Human Services, a reasonable number of clerks, but no greater number shall be appointed, and no more persons shall be employed under said Director of the Department of Human Services, than the public interests demand and the appropriation shall justify.


(June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 10; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 6(b), 53 DCR 6794.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-106.

1973 Ed., § 6-107.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-191 validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act. 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


Subchapter I-A. Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Nutrition.

§ 7–121. Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Nutrition.

(a) There is established a Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Nutrition (“Mayor’s Council”) with the mission to improve the health and wellness of all District residents through physical activity and healthy eating.

(b)(1) The following individuals, or their designees, shall be members of the Mayor’s Council:

(A) The Mayor of the District of Columbia;

(B) The Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation;

(C) The Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools;

(D) The Chair of the Public Charter School Board;

(E) The Director of the Department of Aging; and

(F) Director of the Department of Health;

(2) The Mayor shall designate one of the members listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection to serve as the chairperson. The chairperson shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.

(3)(A) In addition to the members listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Mayor’s Council shall include:

(i) Five members appointed by the Council of the District of Columbia; and

(ii) Up to 14 members appointed by the Mayor.

(B) All members appointed pursuant to this paragraph shall:

(i) Be residents of the District of Columbia;

(ii) Have experience related to physical fitness, health, or nutrition;

(iii) Serve 3-year terms; and

(iv) Serve without compensation.

(C) Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(c) The Mayor’s Council shall meet no fewer than 2 times per year. The time and place of its meetings shall be provided by the executive committee, established by § 7-126; provided, that the Department of Health shall convene at least 2 meetings per year.


(Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-58, § 2, 58 DCR 8969.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-126.


§ 7–122. Powers and duties.

(a) The Mayor’s Council shall:

(1) Advise the Mayor on matters related to physical fitness, obesity, and nutrition;

(2) Develop objectives to raise awareness of the:

(A) Risks of obesity;

(B) Benefits of physical activity and fitness; and

(C) Benefits of healthy eating;

(3) Publish an annual report on the state of physical fitness, obesity, and nutrition, including any recommendations (“fitness report”);

(4) Publish an annual report detailing all gifts, donations, and other funds received and all expenditures; and

(5) Perform any other duties as determined by the Mayor to be necessary or appropriate.

(b) The Mayor’s Council may solicit and receive contributions to support the purposes of this subchapter.


(Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-58, § 3, 58 DCR 8969.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-124.


§ 7–123. Administrative support.

The Department of Health shall assist with the administrative functions of the Mayor’s Council as feasible and as not otherwise provided.


(Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-58, § 4, 58 DCR 8969.)


§ 7–124. Fitness report.

The Department of Health shall provide data relating to physical activity, nutrition, and obesity and technical assistance to the Mayor’s Council to assist it in publishing the annual fitness report required by § 7-122(a)(3).


(Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-58, § 5, 58 DCR 8969.)


§ 7–125. Fitness Fund.

(a) There is established as a nonlapsing fund the Fitness Fund, which shall be separate from the General Fund of the District of Columbia and shall be used solely for the purposes of this subchapter; provided, that not more than 5% of the total funds in the Fitness Fund in any given fiscal year shall be used to pay administrative costs.

(b) The Mayor shall deposit into the Fitness Fund:

(1) All general revenue funds appropriated for the Mayor’s Council;

(2) Any contributions received:

(A) Through solicitation;

(B) As gifts, by devise or bequest;

(C) As donations or grants; and

(D) Through any other revenue source.

(c) All funds deposited into the Fitness Fund, and any interest earned on those funds, shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time, but shall be continually available for the uses and purposes set forth in this subchapter without regard to fiscal year limitation, subject to authorization by Congress.


(Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-58, § 6, 58 DCR 8969.)


§ 7–126. Executive committee.

There is established an executive committee, which shall:

(1) Be part of the Mayor’s Council;

(2) Advise the Mayor’s Council;

(3) Be led by the chairperson designated pursuant to § 7-121(b)(2);

(4) Be comprised of not more than 10 members of the Mayor’s Council; provided, that at least 3 members are members appointed by the Council, pursuant to § 7-121(b)(3)(A)(i), and 3 members are members appointed by the Mayor, pursuant to § 7-121(b)(3)(A)(ii); and

(5) Meet no fewer than 4 times per year, and at least one time each quarter of the year.


(Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-58, § 7, 58 DCR 8969.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-121.


Subchapter II. Prevention of Spread of Communicable Diseases.

§ 7–131. Regulations to prevent spread of communicable diseases.

(a) The Mayor may, upon the advice of the Director of the Department of Health and pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases, environmentally or occupationally related diseases, and other diseases or medical conditions that the Director of the Department of Health has advised should be monitored for epidemiological or other public health reasons. These rules may include, but shall not necessarily be limited to:

(1) A list of reportable diseases and conditions;

(2) Reporting procedures; and

(3) Requirements and procedures for restriction of movement, isolation, and quarantine not inconsistent with this subchapter.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Director of the Department of Health shall use the records incident to the case of a disease or medical condition reported under this subchapter for statistical and public health purposes only, and identifying information contained in these records shall be disclosed only when essential to safeguard the physical health of others. No person shall otherwise disclose or redisclose identifying information derived from these records unless:

(A) The person reported gives his or her prior written permission; or

(B) A court finds, upon clear and convincing evidence and after granting the person reported an opportunity to contest the disclosure, that disclosure:

(i) Is essential to safeguard the physical health of others; or

(ii) Would afford evidence probative of guilt or innocence in a criminal prosecution.

(2) The constraints on disclosure and redisclosure of identifying information set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to the disclosure and use of information disclosed and used pursuant to:

(A) Subchapter I of Chapter 13 of Title 4 [§ 4-1301.01 et seq.]; or

(B) Chapter 23 of Title 16.


(Aug. 11, 1939, 53 Stat. 1408, ch. 601, § 1; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 919, ch. 871, § 1; Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(a), 32 DCR 7276; Dec. 4, 2010, D.C. Law 18-273, § 203, 57 DCR 7171.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-117.

1973 Ed., § 6-118.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-132 and § 7-140.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-273, in subsec. (a), substituted “Director of the Department of Health” for “Commissioner of Public Health” in two places; in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “Director of the Department of Health” for “Commissioner of Public Health”; and rewrote subsec. (b)(2), which had read as follows: “(2) The prohibitions set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to the exchange and use of information effected under Chapter 29 of Title 3, subchapter I of Chapter 13 of Title 4, and Chapter 23 of Title 16.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203 of Data-Sharing and Information Coordination Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-530, August 6, 2010, 57 DCR 8099).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203 of Data-Sharing and Information Coordination Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-582, October 20, 2010, 57 DCR 10118).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority pursuant to the “Preventive Health Services Amendment Act of 1985”, see Mayor’s Order 98-141, August 20,

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(134) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–132. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Affected with a communicable disease” means a person infected with a communicable disease or exposed to a chemical or radiological agent who is capable of infecting others with the same disease or chemical or radiological agent if permitted to move freely in the general public, or a person who, while not infected with a communicable disease or exposed to a chemical or radiological agent, is a carrier of, or contaminated with, an infectious disease or chemical or radiological agent and capable of infecting others with the disease or chemical or radiological agent.

(2) “Communicable disease” means any disease:

(A) Denominated a reportable disease pursuant to § 7-131, including any illness due to an infectious agent or its toxic product that is transmitted:

(i) Directly or indirectly to a well person from an infected person, animal, or ectoparasite; or

(ii) Through the agency of an intermediate host or vector, or by exposure to chemical or radiological agents within the immediate environment; or

(B) Occurring as an outbreak of illness or toxic conditions, regardless of etiology, in an institution or other identifiable group of people.


(Aug. 11, 1939, 53 Stat. 1408, ch. 601, § 2; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 919, ch. 871, § 2; Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(b), 32 DCR 7276; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(a), 49 DCR 5306.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-118.

1973 Ed., § 6-119.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2301.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “§ 7-132. ‘Communicable disease’ defined. For the purposes of this subchapter, the term ‘communicable disease’ means that term as it is defined in § 8-5:103 of the District of Columbia Health Regulations ( 22 DCMR 299) or by the Mayor pursuant to § 7-131.”

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(135) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–133. Persons believed to be carriers of communicable diseases — Order for removal.

(a) Whenever the Mayor, after consultation with the Director of the Department of Health, has probable cause to believe that a person is affected with a communicable disease or is a carrier of a communicable disease and that the person’s presence in the general population is likely to cause death or seriously impair the health of others, the Mayor may, by written order, direct the removal of that person for the purpose of isolation, quarantine, or treatment. The order shall state a place of detention within the District of Columbia or outside of the District of Columbia; provided, that any place of detention outside the District of Columbia is under the supervision of the District of Columbia government.

(b) The order shall be executed by a member of the Metropolitan Police Department or any designated employee of the District of Columbia. The person executing the order shall inform the person subject to the order of its contents and provide the person with a copy of the order.

(c) Whenever the Mayor, after consultation with the Director of the Department of Health, has probable cause to believe that one or more groups of people at one or more locations are affected with a communicable disease and that the group’s ability to move freely in the general population is likely to cause death or seriously impair the health of others, the Mayor may, by written order, direct the removal or detention of any such group for the purpose of isolation, quarantine, or treatment. The order shall state the bounds of the area subject to the order, and the person or persons executing the order shall inform, by reasonable means, all persons within the bounds of the detention area of the contents of the order and post a copy of the order in a conspicuous place in the bounds of the detention area.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 3; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 919, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(b), 49 DCR 5306.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-119.

1973 Ed., § 6-119a.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-134 and § 7-137.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “§ 7-133. Persons believed to be carriers of communicable diseases—Order for removal. ”Whenever the Director of the Department of Human Services has probable cause to believe that any person is affected with any communicable disease or is a carrier of communicable disease and that the continuance of such person in the place where he may be is likely to be dangerous to the lives or health of other persons, or that by reason of the noncooperation or carelessness of such person the public health is likely to be endangered, the Director of the Department of Human Services may by written order direct the removal by any designated officer or employee of the Department of Human Services or by any member of the Metropolitan Police force of such person to and the detention of such person in any place or institution in the District of Columbia designated by the Director of the Department of Human Services, or any institution located without the District of Columbia which may be designated by the Director of the Department of Human Services, and which is under the supervision of the government of the District of Columbia or any agency thereof. Such officer, employee, or member so designated in such order shall take such person into his custody and shall remove such person to such place or institution as may be designated in such order. Such officer, employee, or member shall immediately make known to such person the contents of such order, and also shall deliver to such person a true copy of such order.”

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.

Health Department abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-180.


§ 7–134. Persons believed to be carriers of communicable diseases — Detention; expiration of order; continuation; hearing on detention; minors.

(a) A copy of the order provided for in § 7-133 shall be delivered to the person in charge of any place or institution where a person or group of persons has been taken or detained, or, if the place of detention is a residence, to any person of suitable age and discretion then present in the residence. The order shall constitute the authority for detention until the order expires. The order shall expire within 24 hours of its issuance unless a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia continues its force and effect for a longer period. The judge shall continue the force and effect of an order if the judge finds that probable cause exists to believe that the detained person’s presence in the general population is likely to cause death or seriously impair the health of others.

(b) If a judge continues an order, any person or group of persons detained pursuant to the order may petition for a hearing to determine whether the person or group of persons is affected with a communicable disease, and, if the person or group of persons is affected with a communicable disease, whether release of the person or group of persons into the general population is likely to cause death or seriously impair the health of others. The hearing shall take place as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 days after the court receives the petition.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 4; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 919, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(c), 49 DCR 5306.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-120.

1973 Ed., § 6-119b.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-136.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 rewrote the section.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–135. Persons believed to be carriers of communicable diseases — Examination; diagnosis; detention for quarantine; discharge; public hearing.

(a) The Mayor shall cause to be conducted, by medical personnel designated by the Mayor, medical examinations of all detained persons to determine whether any detained person is affected with a communicable disease and immediately discharge any person who is not affected with a communicable disease. The diagnosis resulting from the examination shall be in writing and signed by the examining physician. A copy of the signed diagnosis shall be retained by any person in charge of the place or institution of detention, or, if the place of detention is a residence, by any person of suitable age and discretion who resides there. A copy of the signed diagnosis also shall be given to the detained person for whom the diagnosis was made. Another copy of the signed diagnosis shall be transmitted to the appropriate health official as designated by the Mayor.

(b) A person who has been diagnosed as being affected with a communicable disease may be detained for as long as necessary to protect the public health. A person detained pursuant to this subsection may at any time petition the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for a discharge hearing. A person detained pursuant to this subsection who chooses to petition the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for a discharge hearing shall be provided with counsel if the person detained cannot afford counsel.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 5; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 920, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(c), 32 DCR 7276; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(d), 49 DCR 5306.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-121.

1973 Ed., § 6-119c.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-136 and § 7-137.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 rewrote the section.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–136. Persons believed to be carriers of communicable diseases — Leaving detention without discharge.

It shall be unlawful for a person detained in a place or institution pursuant to an order of the Mayor to leave said place or institution unless discharged in the manner provided in § 7-134 or 7-135.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 6; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 921, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(e), 49 DCR 5306; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 44(a), 51 DCR 881.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-122.

1973 Ed., § 6-119d.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-140.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 substituted “Mayor” for “Director of the Department of Human Services”.

D.C. Law 15-105 validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–137. Persons believed to be carriers of communicable diseases — Arrest.

(a) In aid of the powers vested in the Mayor to cause the removal to and detention in a place or institution of a person who is affected or is believed, upon probable cause, to be affected with any communicable disease or is or is believed, upon probable cause, to be a carrier of communicable disease as provided in this subchapter, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, or any judge thereof, is authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of such person and his removal to a place or institution as defined in § 7-133, which warrant shall be directed to the Chief of Police. When such person has been removed to such place or institution under authority of a warrant issued pursuant to this section, such person shall not be discharged from such place or institution except in the manner provided in § 7-135.

(b) No such warrant of arrest and removal shall be issued except upon probable cause supported by affidavit or affidavits particularly describing the person to be taken, which said affidavit or affidavits shall set forth the facts tending to establish the grounds of the application or probable cause for believing that they exist.

(c) A warrant may in all cases be served by the Chief of Police or by any officer or member of the Metropolitan Police, but by no other person, except in aid of the officer on his requiring it, he being present and acting in its execution.

(d) The officer may break open any outer or inner door or window of a house, or any part of a house, or anything therein, to execute the warrant, if, after notice of his authority and purpose, he is refused admittance.

(e) A warrant must be returned to the Court within 10 days after its date; after the expiration of this time the warrant, unless executed, is void.

(f) It shall be the duty of the said Court to maintain and keep records of all warrants issued and the returns thereon.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 7; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 921, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(f), 49 DCR 5306; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 44(b), 51 DCR 881.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-123.

1973 Ed., § 6-119e.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194, in subsec. (a), substituted “Mayor” for “Director of the Department of Human Services”.

D.C. Law 15-105, in subsec. (a), validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Major and Superintendent of Metropolitan Police abolished: The Office of the Major and Superintendent of Metropolitan Police was abolished and all functions of that office transferred to and vested in the Chief of Police. The Assistant Superintendent, Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Police Department was designated “Deputy Chief of Police, Executive Officer”; the Assistant Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police in command of the Detective Bureau was designated “Deputy Chief of Police, Chief of Detectives”; and each other Assistant Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police was designated “Deputy Chief of Police” by Reorganization Order No. 7, dated September 16, 1952. Reorganization Order No. 7 was replaced by Organization Order No. 153, dated November 10, 1966.

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–138. Access to building for inspection.

The Mayor may, without fee or hindrance, enter, examine, and inspect all vessels, premises, grounds, structures, buildings, and every part thereof in the District of Columbia for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this subchapter and the rules and regulations issued hereunder. The owner or his agent or representative and the lessee or occupant of any such vessel, premises, grounds, structure, or building, or part thereof, and every person having the care and management thereof shall at all times when required by any such officer or employee give them free access thereto and refusal so to do shall be punishable as a violation of this subchapter.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 8; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 921, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(d), 32 DCR 7276; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(g), 49 DCR 5306; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 44(c), 51 DCR 881.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-124.

1973 Ed., § 6-119f.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-140.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 substituted “Mayor” for “Director of the Department of Human Services”.

D.C. Law 15-105 validated a previously made technical correction.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–139. Interference unlawful.

It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to obstruct, resist, oppose, or interfere with any person performing any duty or function under the authority of this subchapter or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 9; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 922, ch. 871, § 2; Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(e), 32 DCR 7276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-125.

1973 Ed., § 6-119g.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-140.


§ 7–139.01. Contact tracing hiring requirements.

*NOTE: This section was created by emergency legislation that will expire on June 10, 2021.*

Of the number of persons hired by the Department of Health for positions, whether they be temporary or permanent, under the Contact Trace Force initiative to contain the spread of the novel 2019 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the District, the Director of the Department of Health shall establish a goal and make the best effort to hire at least 50% District residents, and for the position of investigator, whether it be a temporary or permanent position, also establish a goal and make the best effort to hire at least 25% graduates from a workforce development or adult education program funded or administered by the District of Columbia.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 9a; as added Mar. 17, 2021, D.C. Act 24-30, § 506, 68 DCR 003101.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 506 of Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-30, Mar. 17, 2021, 68 DCR 003101).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) creation of this section, see § 506 of Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130, Oct. 9, 2020, 67 DCR 8622).


§ 7–140. Violation of § 7-136, § 7-138, or § 7-139, or rules or regulations promulgated thereunder.

Any person who willfully violates § 7-136, 7-138, or 7-139 or who willfully discloses, receives, uses, or permits the use of information in violation of § 7-131(b) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both. Any person who willfully violates any rule or regulation issued pursuant to this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or both. All prosecutions for violations of § 7-136, 7-138 or 7-139 or the rules and regulations issued pursuant to this subchapter shall be in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, in the name of the District of Columbia upon information filed by the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia or any of his assistants. The Court may impose conditions upon any person found guilty under the aforesaid provisions and so long as such person shall comply therewith to the satisfaction of the Court the imposition or execution of sentence may be suspended for such period as the Court may direct; and the Court may at or before the expiration of such period vacate such sentence or cause it to be executed. Conditions thus imposed by the Court may include submission to medical and mental examination, diagnosis, and treatment by proper public health and welfare authorities or by any licensed physician approved by the Court, and such other terms and conditions as the Court may deem best for the protection of the community and the punishment, control, and rehabilitation of the defendant.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 10; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 922, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(f), 32 DCR 7276; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 902(h), 49 DCR 5306.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-126.

1973 Ed., § 6-119h.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-194 deleted the last sentence in the section which had read as follows: “The Director of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia, the Metropolitan Police force, and employees of the Department of Human Services are authorized and directed to perform such duties as may be directed by the Court in effectuating compliance with the conditions so imposed upon any defendant.”

Editor's Notes

Board of Public Welfare abolished: The Board of Public Welfare was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Reorganization Order No. 58 as amended, redesignated as Organization Order No. 140 and amended, established under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Welfare, headed by a Director with the purpose of planning, implementing and directing public welfare programs. Reorganization Order No. 58 provided that the previously existing Board of Public Welfare would be abolished. That Order also transferred specified functions of the former board to the Department of Public Health and the Department of Public Welfare. Functions of the Department of Public Welfare and of the Department of Public Health as set forth in Organization Order Nos. 140 and 141, respectively, were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by the Department of Human Services by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980.

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(136) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–141. Exemption for persons relying on spiritual means to cure disease.

With respect to all persons who, either on behalf of themselves or their minor children or wards, rely in good faith upon spiritual means or prayer in the free exercise of religion to prevent or cure disease, nothing in this subchapter or any rule or regulation issued pursuant to this subchapter shall have the effect of requiring or giving any health officer or other person the right to compel any such person, minor child or ward, to go to or be confined in a hospital or other medical institution unless no other place for quarantine of such person, minor child or ward can be secured, nor to compel any such person, child or ward to submit to any medical treatment.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 11; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 922, ch. 871, § 2; Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 3(g), 32 DCR 7276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-127.

1973 Ed., § 6-119i.


§ 7–142. “Director of the Department of Human Services” defined. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 12; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 922, ch. 871, § 2; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 904, 49 DCR 5306.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-128.

1973 Ed., § 6-119j.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–143. Immediate treatment of minor with venereal disease. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(Feb. 21, 1986, D.C. Law 6-83, § 7(a), 32 DCR 7276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-129.


§ 7–144. Construction.

Each and every provision of this subchapter shall be constructed liberally in aid of the powers vested in the public authorities looking to the protection of the public health, comfort, and welfare and not by way of limitation.


(Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 601, § 14; Aug. 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 922, ch. 871, § 2; Oct. 11, 1963, 77 Stat. 246, Pub. L. 88-137, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-130.

1973 Ed., § 6-119k.

Cross References

Medical care and treatment, requirement to obtain, see § 38-606.


Subchapter III. Department of Public Health.

§ 7–151. Establishment of the Department of Public Health.

There is established in the Executive Branch of the Government of the District of Columbia a Department of Public Health, which shall have as its responsibility the planning, development and implementation of the delivery of health care services to all District of Columbia residents.


(Mar. 13, 1992, D.C. Law 9-182, § 2, 39 DCR 8203.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-131.

Transfer of Functions

Pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1996 each of the functions assigned, and authorities delegated to the Director of the Department of Human Services as set forth in Sections III. (K), (L), and (P), of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1986, dated January 3, 1987.

The administrative and management support functions in the Department of Human Services as set forth in Sections III. (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), and (F), of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1986, dated January 3, 1987, that relate to the functions set forth in section V. (A)(1) above were transferred to the Department of Health.

Mayor's Orders

Establishment and Appointments — Mayor’s Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program Advisory Committee, see Mayor’s Order 2002-77, May 3, 2002 ( 49 DCR 4137).

Establishment and Appointments — Mayor’s Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness Planning Advisory Committee, see Mayor’s Order 2002-78, May 3, 2002 ( 49 DCR 4143).

Amendment of Mayor’s Order 2002-77, dated 4-5-02, Establishment and Appointments — Mayor’s Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program Advisory Committee, see Mayor’s Order 2002-145, August 30, 2002 ( 49 DCR 8411).

Amendment of Mayor’s Order 2002-78, dated 4-15-02, Establishment and Appointments — Mayor’s Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness, see Mayor’s Order 2002-147, August 30, 2002 ( 49 DCR 8415).


§ 7–152. Organization of the Department of Public Health.

(a) Pursuant to subchapter VI of Chapter 3 of Title 1, the Mayor shall prepare and transmit to the Council a reorganization plan establishing a Department of Public Health no later than October 1, 1993.

(b) The reorganization plan establishing the Department of Public Health shall have, at a minimum, all functions, powers and duties of the Commission on Public Health, including supportive services provided to the Commission on Public Health by the Department of Human Services’ Management and Support Services Division.

(c) The Mayor may prepare and transmit to the Council a reorganization plan for the remaining functions of the Department of Human Services at the same time as the reorganization plan establishing the Department of Public Health is transmitted to the Council.

(d) The reorganization plan establishing the Department of Public Health shall become effective no later than October 1, 1994.


(Mar. 13, 1992, D.C. Law 9-182, § 3, 39 DCR 8203.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-132.

Transfer of Functions

Pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1996 each of the functions assigned, and authorities delegated to the Director of the Department of Human Services as set forth in Sections III. (K), (L), and (P), of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1986, dated January 3, 1987.

The administrative and management support functions in the Department of Human Services as set forth in Sections III. (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), and (F), of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1986, dated January 3, 1987, that relate to the functions set forth in section V. (A)(I) above were transferred to the Department of Health.


§ 7–153. Appointment of Director.

The Department of Public Health shall be under the supervision and direction of a Director who shall be appointed by the Mayor in accordance with subchapter X of Chapter 6 of Title 1, and subject to the advice and consent of the Council, as provided in § 1-523.01.


(Mar. 13, 1992, D.C. Law 9-182, § 4, 39 DCR 8203.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-133.


§ 7–154. Establishment of Public Health Coordination Advisory Committee.

(a) There is established a Public Health Coordination Advisory Committee (“Committee”) which shall be responsible for advising the Director of the Department of Public Health, the Mayor and the Council on policy matters related to the effective and efficient coordination of the delivery of public health care services in the District of Columbia.

(b) The Committee shall include:

(1) The Director of the Department of Public Health who shall serve as the chairperson;

(2) The Director of the Department of Mental Health or a designee;

(3) The Commissioner of Social Services or a designee;

(4) The Executive Director of the District of Columbia General Hospital or a designee;

(5) The Executive Director of the Department of Aging and Community Living or a designee;

(6) The Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs or a designee;

(7) The President of the Doctors Council of the District of Columbia, representing employees in Compensation Unit 19, or a designee; and

(8) The following persons who shall be appointed by the Mayor:

(A) 1 licensed physician and 1 licensed dentist employed by a District health care facility;

(B) 2 licensed nurses employed by a District health care facility; and

(C) 2 consumers of health care services in the District.

(c) The duties of the Committee shall include advising the Director of the Department of Public Health on the development, implementation and monitoring of a comprehensive plan to coordinate the delivery of District health care services provided by the public health clinics of the Department of Public Health and the District of Columbia General Hospital to provide a comprehensive continuum of efficient and quality health care services to District residents.


(Mar. 13, 1992, D.C. Law 9-182, § 5, 39 DCR 8203; Dec. 18, 2001, D.C. Law 14-56, § 116(d), 48 DCR 7674; Mar. 29, 2019, D.C. Law 22-276, § 3(d), 66 DCR 1721.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-134.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-56, in subsec. (b)(2), substituted “Director of the Department of Mental Health” for “Commissioner of Mental Health Services”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 16(d) 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) amendment of section, see § 16(d) 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) amendment of section, see § 116(d) of Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-144, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9947).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 16(d) of Department of Mental Health Establishment Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-51, October 30, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 10807).


Subchapter III-A. Adverse Event Reporting.

§ 7–161. Mandatory adverse event reporting.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Adverse event” means an event, occurrence, or situation involving the medical care of a patient by a health care provider that results in death or an unanticipated injury to the patient.

(2) “Healthcare provider” means an individual or entity licensed or otherwise authorized under District law to provide healthcare service, including a hospital, nursing facility, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility, home health agency, hospice program, renal dialysis facility, ambulatory surgical center, pharmacy, physician or health care practitioner’s office, long-term care facility, behavior health residential treatment facility, health clinic, clinical laboratory, health center, physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse midwife, psychologist, certified social worker, registered dietitian or nutrition professional, physical or occupational therapist, pharmacist, or other individual health care practitioner.

(3) “Medical facility” means a hospital, nursing facility, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility, home health agency, hospice program, renal dialysis facility, ambulatory surgical center, pharmacy, physician or health care practitioner’s office, long-term care facility, behavior health residential treatment facility, health clinic, clinical laboratory, or health center.

(4) “Primary health record” means the record of continuing care maintained by a health professional, group practice, or health care facility or agency containing all diagnostic and therapeutic services rendered to an individual patient by the health professional, group practice, or health care facility, or agency.

(b) On or before July 1, 2007, the Mayor shall establish, within the Department of Health, a centralized system for the collection and analysis of adverse events in the District of Columbia.

(c) The Mayor shall appoint an employee of the Department of Health to administer the system, whose responsibilities shall include:

(1) Collecting, organizing, and storing data on adverse events occurring at medical facilities in the District of Columbia;

(2) Tracking, assessing, and analyzing the incoming reports, findings, and corrective action plans;

(3) Identifying common adverse event patterns or trends;

(4) Recommending methods to reduce systematic adverse events;

(5) Providing technical assistance to healthcare providers and medical facilities on the development and implementation of patient safety plans to prevent adverse events;

(6) Disseminating information and advising healthcare providers and medical facilities in the District of Columbia on medical best practices;

(7) Monitoring national trends in best practices and disseminating relevant information and advice to healthcare providers and medical facilities in the District of Columbia; and

(8) Publishing an annual report that includes summary data of the number and types of adverse events of the prior calender year by type of healthcare providers and medical facility, rates of change, and other analyses and communicating recommendations to improve health care delivery in the District of Columbia.

(d)(1) Pursuant to this section, healthcare providers and medical facilities providing services in the District of Columbia shall submit a report of an adverse event to the system administrator no later than 60 days after its occurrence, or within an earlier time frame if so promulgated by the Board of Medicine. Each report shall contain, for each adverse event, the patient’s full primary health record; provided, that medical information with respect to the patient’s identity shall be de-identified and anonymous.

(2) Failure to submit a report as required by this section shall be punishable by a penalty of not less than $500 or more than $2,500.

(e)(1) Except as otherwise provided by this section, the files, records, findings, opinions, recommendations, evaluations, and reports of the system administrator, information provided to or obtained by the system administrator, the identity of persons providing information to the system administrator, and reports or information provided pursuant to this section shall be confidential, shall not be subject to disclosure pursuant to any other provision of law, and shall not be discoverable or admissible into evidence in any civil, criminal, or legislative proceeding. The information shall not be disclosed by any person under any circumstances. This subsection shall not preclude use of reports or information provided under this section by a board regulating a health profession or the Mayor in proceedings by the board or the Mayor.

(2) No person who provided information to the system administrator shall be compelled to testify in any civil, criminal, or legislative proceeding with respect to any confidential matter contained in the information provided to the system administrator.

(3) Notwithstanding subsections (a) or (b) of this section, a court may order a system administrator to provide information in a criminal proceeding in which an individual is accused of a felony if the court determines that disclosure is essential to protect the public interest and that the information being sought can be obtained from no other source. In determining whether disclosure is essential to protect the public interest, the court shall consider the seriousness of the offense with which the individual is charged, the need for disclosure of the party seeking it, and the probative value of the information. If the court orders disclosure, the identity of any patient shall not be disclosed without the consent of the patient or his or her legal representative.

(f) Implementation of this section shall be funded through the licensure fees collected by the Board of Medicine.


(Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-263, § 202, 54 DCR 807; Mar. 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-308, § 2, 56 DCR 27; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 158(a), 56 DCR 1117.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-308, in subsec. (d)(1), substituted “a report of an adverse event to the system administrator no later than 60 days after its occurrence, or within an earlier time frame if so promulgated by the Board of Medicine.” for “biannual reports on January and July 1 of each calendar year, on adverse events to the system administrator.”

D.C. Law 17-353 validated previously made technical corrections in subsecs. (e)(1) and (f).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority Pursuant to D.C. Law 16-263, the Medical Malpractice Amendment Act of 2006, see Mayor’s Order 2008-25, February 8, 2008 ( 55 DCR 2371).


Subchapter IV. General Provisions.

§ 7–171. Chief Clerk and Chief Inspector not to act as deputy.

After April 2, 1938, neither the Chief Clerk nor the Chief Inspector of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia shall act as a deputy to the Director of the Department of Human Services of said District.


(July 14, 1892, 27 Stat. 162, ch. 171, § 1; April 2, 1938, 52 Stat. 153, ch. 60; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-107.

1973 Ed., § 6-108.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–172. Assistant Director of Public Health to be physician and discharge duties of health officer during his absence or disability.

The Assistant Director of Public Health shall be a physician, and during the absence of or disability of the Director of Public Health shall act as Director of Public Health and discharge the duties incident to that position.


(Mar. 4, 1913, 37 Stat. 961, ch. 150; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-108.

1973 Ed., § 6-109.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–173. Inspector of Fish and Other Marine Products.

The duties and the authority conferred by law upon the Inspector of Fish and Other Marine Products on May 26, 1908, are hereby vested in each of the Sanitary and Food Inspectors.


(May 26, 1908, 35 Stat. 299, ch. 198.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-109.

1973 Ed., § 6-110.


§ 7–174. Certain ordinances of Board of Health legalized — Generally; exceptions.

The ordinances of the late Board of Health of the District of Columbia, as revised, amended, and adopted, November 19, 1875, entitled “An ordinance to revise, consolidate, and amend the ordinances of the Board of Health, to declare what shall be deemed nuisances injurious to health, and to provide for the removal thereof,” as printed in the report of said late Board of Health made to the 1st session of the 44th Congress, being Executive Document No. 1, part 8, are hereby legalized; and the respective penalties therein prescribed for violations thereof may be imposed and enforced for the respective offenses therein described, excepting the sections of said ordinance following, namely: Sections 7, 9, and 14, which said sections are not hereby legalized.


(Apr. 24, 1880, 21 Stat. 304, Res. No. 25, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-110.

1973 Ed., § 6-111.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-175, § 7-176, and § 7-177.


§ 7–175. Certain ordinances of Board of Health legalized — Titles.

The ordinances, rules, and regulations of said late Board of Health contained in the report mentioned in § 7-174 and printed in the said Executive Document therein mentioned, namely:

(1) “An ordinance to amend an ordinance to prevent domestic animals from running at large within the Cities of Washington and Georgetown, passed by the Board of Health May 19, 1871”;

(2) “An ordinance to prevent the sale of unwholesome food, in the Cities of Washington and Georgetown”;

(3) “An ordinance to provide for the inspection of streets, food, livestock, fish and other marine products, in the Cities of Washington and Georgetown, and to define the duties of Inspectors and other officers of the Board of Health”;

(4) “An ordinance to amend § 10 of the Code so as to read”;

(5) “An ordinance to amend an ordinance passed May 13, 1873, to read as follows”;

(6) “An ordinance to prevent committing or creating nuisances in or about public urinal or urinals located within the Cities of Washington and Georgetown”;

(7) “Rules and regulations in regard to smallpox”;

(8) Regulations and ordinances cited in paragraphs (1) through (7) of this section are legalized and made valid; and the penalties therein provided respectively for violations thereof, may be imposed and enforced for the violations of the same respectively as provided by § 27 of the ordinances passed November 19, 1875.


(Apr. 24, 1880, 21 Stat. 305, Res. No. 25, § 2; Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-34, § 29(b), 28 DCR 3271.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-111.

1973 Ed., § 6-112.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-176 and § 7-177.


§ 7–176. Certain ordinances of Board of Health legalized — Force and effect; exemptions from enforcement; alternative sanctions; adjudication of infractions.

Except as provided in § 7-175, the ordinances of the late Board of Health of the District of Columbia, as legalized by §§ 7-174 and 7-175, are hereby declared to have the same force and effect within the District of Columbia as if enacted by Congress in the 1st instance, and the powers and duties imposed upon the late Board of Health, in and by the said ordinances, are hereby conferred upon the Director of the Department of Human Services of said District, and all prosecutions for violations of said ordinances and regulations shall be in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in the name of the said District; provided, that said regulations shall not be enforced against industries established on Aug. 7, 1894, which are not a nuisance in fact. Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as alternative sanctions for any infractions of the late Board of Health of the District of Columbia, as legalized by §§ 7-174 and 7-175, or any rules or regulations issued under the authority of those sections, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2. Adjudication of any infraction shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2.


(Aug. 7, 1894, 28 Stat. 257, ch. 232; Apr. 1, 1942, 56 Stat. 190, ch. 207, § 1; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Oct. 5, 1985, D.C. Law 6-42, § 478, 32 DCR 4450.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-112.

1973 Ed., § 6-113.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–177. Certain ordinances of Board of Health legalized — Alteration, amendment, or repeal.

The Council of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered, in making regulations under the authority conferred by Congress, to alter, amend, or repeal any of the ordinances of the late Board of Health of said District which were legalized by §§ 7-174 and 7-175, whenever in its judgment the public interest requires it.


(Feb. 28, 1889, 30 Stat. 1390, Joint Res. No. 21.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-113.

1973 Ed., § 6-114.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(133) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 7–178. Reception, burial, and identification of ashes of certain cremated indigent persons.

The Director of the Department of Human Services is authorized to provide and furnish proper containers for the reception, burial, and identification of the ashes of all human bodies of indigent persons that are cremated at the public crematorium, which ashes remain unclaimed after 12 months from date of such cremation.


(May 21, 1928, 45 Stat. 669, ch. 659; July 3, 1930, 46 Stat. 975, ch. 848; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-114.

1973 Ed., § 6-115.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–179. Dairy Inspector may act as Inspector of Livestock.

Any Inspector of Dairies and Dairy Farms may act as Inspector of Livestock when directed by the Director of the Department of Human Services.


(Mar. 2, 1911, 36 Stat. 993, ch. 192; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-115.

1973 Ed., § 6-116.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-101.


§ 7–180. Tuberculosis Sanatoria and District of Columbia General Hospital.

The following hospital and sanatoria, on and after July 1, 1937, shall be under the direction and control of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia and subject to the supervision of the Mayor of the District of Columbia: Tuberculosis Sanatoria and District of Columbia General Hospital.


(June 29, 1937, 50 Stat. 376, ch. 403, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-116.

1973 Ed., § 6-117.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of the District of Columbia Health and Hospitals Public Benefit Corporation Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-454, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9413).

Editor's Notes

Health Department abolished: The Health Department of the District of Columbia, including the office of the head thereof, was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 57 of the Board of Commissioners, dated June 30, 1953, and Reorganization Order No. 52, dated June 30, 1953, combined and redesignated Organization Order No. 141, dated February 11, 1964, established under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Health headed by a Director, for the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public health and hospital care programs, and for performing certain other allied medical and paramedical functions. The Anatomical Board was established under the direction and control of the Director of Public Health consisting of members as prescribed in the D.C. Code. Prior to redesignation, the Order abolished the previously existing Health Department, Gallinger Hospital, Glenn Dale Sanatorium, and the Anatomical Board, and transferred their functions and positions to the new Department. The organization of the new Department was set out in the Order. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Functions stated in Organization Order No. 141 were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980, which Plan established the Department of Human Services.

Tuberculosis Hospital and Gallinger Municipal Hospital abolished: The Tuberculosis Hospital and Gallinger Municipal Hospital were abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 57 as amended, redesignated as Organization Order No. 141 and amended, established under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Health headed by a Director, for the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public health and hospital care programs, and for performing certain other allied medical functions. Prior to its redesignation, the Order abolished the previously existing Gallinger Municipal Hospital and transferred all of its positions and functions to the new Department. It further provided that within the Department, the District of Columbia General Hospital would perform all functions previously performed by Gallinger Municipal Hospital. Functions of the Department of Public Health as set forth in Organization Order No. 141 were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980, which Plan established the Department of Human Services.

Revision of chapter: D.C. Law 4-34 repealed former Chapter 2, containing §§ 6-201 to 6-204 [1981 Ed.], and enacted present Chapter 2 of former Title 6, containing §§ 7-201 to 7-228 [2001 Edition], in lieu thereof.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.