DC Action Commends Passage of the Home Visiting Services Reimbursement Amendment Act

Press Release
For Immediate Release: January 9th, 2024

Contact Info

Mary Katherine West
Home Visiting Program Coordinator
DC Action
mkwest@dckids.org

Washington, DC (January 9, 2024) — Today the District took a vital step toward securing increased federal and local investments for the District’s home visiting services through Medicaid reimbursement. By passing B25-0321 with unanimous consent, The Home Visiting Services Reimbursement Amendment Act, DC is on its way to join the 28 states that have active Medicaid reimbursement programs for home visiting.

“Councilmember Brianne Nadaeu has been a champion for families in the District through her consistent support of home visiting, and we commend her work to introduce and support the Home Visiting Services Reimbursement Act with her colleagues and co-sponsors Councilmembers Janeese Lewis-George, Charles Allen, Zachary Parker and Robert White,” said  Program Coordinator for the DC Home Visiting Council, Mary Katherine West. “We also appreciate Councilmember Christina Henderson for her leadership and support for this bill through the Committee on Health.”

Home visiting is a family support service that connects expecting families and families with children five and under with a highly trained support worker who can assess their strengths and needs, educate and support them through the child’s development, and connect them to resources. Thirteen organizations operate 17 home visiting programs in the District. Many home home visiting programs are supported by yearly grants which fluctuate often, causing instability in funding.

The Home Visiting Services Reimbursement Amendment will provide programs the opportunity to have their service costs reimbursed through Medicaid. Sustainable funding will help programs provide more seamless services to the District’s families. In October, the Committee of Health held a hearing on the bill where 35 public witnesses, including home visiting program directors and managers, home visitors, home visiting participants, and advocates, voiced their support for the bill. Tiffany Williams, President and CEO of Martha’s Table, a home visiting provider in the District, testified, saying: “Leveraging Medicaid to fund evidence-based home visiting is cost effective and ensures needed, increased investments in preventative services that support and strengthen our families and help them thrive.”

Home visitors make an incredible difference in the lives of District families. Rakeeta Steele, a participant of home visiting at the Family Place testified, “When I need someone to talk to, need help with food, clothes and items for the boys, someone to process through things I am struggling with in life as a mother or an individual, [my home visitor] is there to listen to me, help me along the way and push me to do more, [my home visitor] Cybele is there. Now I am training to become a Family Support Coach so I can offer the same support I was given to other young mothers who need it. Please support home visiting, as I am proof that this support is worth every dollar for families in the District.”

DC Action commends the DC Council for passing this bill and encourages Mayor Bowser to sign it as soon as it reaches her desk. We look forward to collaborating with the DC Council, the DC Department of Health Care Finance, and the home visiting community to fund and implement this bill so that home visiting services can continue to support District families.

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About DC Action

DC Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization making the District of Columbia a place where all kids grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change.