Health Equity

Being a physician in the District in the 21st century means being on the front line of the most pressing public health issues in the world. In our small geographic boundaries, physicians help address issue found in every state all in one area. The issues are too lengthy to list on one webpage but physicians are on the front lines of addressing health issues for all District residents.

News, Statements, and Testimony on Health Equity Issues

25th Council session information coming soon.


DHCF Ends X-Waiver Requirement to Prescribe SUD Medications

Jul 5, 2023, 08:14 AM by Department of Health Care Finance
The emergency regs aligns DC policy with federal policy to make it easier to prescribe SUD treatment like buprenorphine and naloxone.

The Director of the Department of Health Care Finance (“DHCF”), pursuant to the authority set forth in Section 6(6) of the Department of Health Care Finance Establishment Act of 2007, effective February 27, 2008 (D.C. Law 17-109; D.C. Official Code § 7-771.05(6)) and An Act To enable the District of Columbia to receive Federal financial assistance under Title XIX of the Social Security Act for a medical assistance program, and for other purposes, approved December 27, 1967 (D.C. Law 25-1; D.C. Official Code § 1-307.06), hereby gives notice of the adoption, on an emergency basis, of an amendment to Chapter 27 (Medicaid Reimbursement for Fee For Service Pharmacy Services) of Title 29 (Public Welfare) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (“DCMR”) and the intent to adopt the these rules as a final rulemaking not less than thirty (30) days after the date of publication of this notice in the District of Columbia Register.

The emergency and proposed rulemaking makes changes to Section 2710 (Claims Reimbursement Requirements for Pharmacies) and Section 2799 (Definitions) to align District policy with recent federal policy changes regarding controlled substances. In section 1262 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, enacted December 29, 2022 (P.L. No 117-328; 136 Stat. 4459), Congress eliminated the “DATA-Waiver Program.” This program required providers to have a waiver (called DATA-waivers or X-waivers) to prescribe medications, such as buprenorphine, to treat substance use disorder. As such, the District has required licensed prescribers to include their X-DEA identification number from their waiver on prescriptions for certain controlled substances. Because no X-DEA numbers will be issued or required under the new federal policy, the Department of Health Care Finance has decided to repeal the current requirement that a prescriber provide their X-DEA number in order for a prescription for a covered controlled substance to be reimbursable under the District’s Medicaid fee-for-service program.  

Subsection 2710.4 has been updated to remove the requirement that a prescription must include the X-DEA number of the licensed prescriber for buprenorphine and naloxone drug preparations. Subsection 2799.1 is also amended to remove the definition of “X-DEA number” as it is no longer referenced in Chapter 27.

Emergency action is necessary for the immediate preservation of the health, safety, and welfare of District Medicaid beneficiaries. This rule is being enacted on an emergency basis to expand the number of providers eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement for prescribed drugs such as buprenorphine that treat substance use disorder in order to mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic.

The emergency rulemaking was adopted by the DHCF Director on June 21, 2023 and became effective on that date. The emergency rules will remain in effect for one hundred and twenty (120) days or until October 19, 2023, pursuant to Section 6 of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1206; D.C. Official Code § 2-505(c) (2016 Repl.)), unless superseded by further emergency or final rulemaking.

Load more comments
New code

Sample of Health Equity Legislation MSDC Tracked 


Student Access to Treatment Amendment Act (B23-467)

What does it say? The bill allows for the administration of medicinal marijuana in schools as well as allows students to bring sunscreen to schools and apply it without a prescription.

MSDC position: MSDC supports the language permitting sunscreen application in schools

Current status: A win for DC physicians and public health! The legislation passed the Council in February and was signed by the Mayor. Previous temporary and emergency legislation permitted students to use sunscreen at schools this school year already.

Electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment Registry Amendment Act (B23-261)

What does it say? The bill requires DC Health to establish an electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment registry (eMOST).

MSDC position: MSDC supports this legislation to more easily allow patients to make their treatment orders known.

Current status: A win for the physician community and our patients! The Council passed the bill in December and the Mayor signed it into law on January 16, 2020.

Healthy Beverage Choices Amendment Act (B23-495)

What does it say? The bill would implement a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of "sugary" beverages. The money collected from the tax would establish a Healthy People, Healthy Places Open Spaces Grant Program.

MSDC position: MSDC sent a letter to Council Chair Mendelson asking for a hearing to discuss all of the issues around a beverage tax.

Current status: The bill was introduced October 8, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development and the Committee of the Whole.