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Health Regulation and Licensing Administration

Rikin S. Mehta, PharmD, JD, LLM 
Senior Deputy Director


Hours of Operation: 8:15 am - 4:45 pm
899 North Capitol Street, NE – Second Floor
Washington, DC 20002                                           
Telephone: (202) 724-4900
Fax: (202) 724-5145


On January 17, 2007, the director of the Department of Health (DOH) announced the realignment of DOH.  The reorganization consolidated 11 administrations into seven. Under the new structure, the Health Care Regulation and Licensing Administration (HCRLA) and Bureau of Community Hygiene, as well the Health Professional Licensing Administration (HPLA), were combined into one entity, the “Health Regulation and Licensing Administration” (HRLA).  HRLA provides services, administration and regulatory oversight through the following programs:

  • Health Professional Licensing Administration
  • Pharmaceutical Control Division
  • Health Regulation Administration
  • Animal Disease Prevention Division
  • Food Protection Division
  • Rodent Control Division

Health Professional Licensing Administration
The Health Professional Licensing Administration (HPLA) serves as the agency that administers the licensure of almost 50,000 health professionals in the District of Columbia. HPLA staff support 18 health occupation boards and 4 registration programs that regulate the practice of their respective health profession. HPLA also responds to consumer and incidents and/or complaints against health professionals, and conducts investigations if indicated. If necessary, HPLA can take enforcement actions to compel health professionals to come into compliance with District and Federal law. HPLA advises the health occupation boards and Department of Health in matters pertaining to the development of rules and regulations for health professionals. HPLA also provides additional services including licensure verification services, and licensure examinations. Health professionals include: Acupuncturists, Addiction Counselors, Chiropractors, Dance Therapists, Dental Assistants, Dentists, Dieticians, Massage Therapists, Naturopaths, Nurses, Nursing Home Administrators, Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Pharmacists, Physician Assistants, Physicians, Podiatrists, Psychologists, and Social Workers.

Pharmaceutical Control Division
The Pharmaceutical Control Division (PCD) licenses and regulates pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmaceutical distributors and suppliers. PCD also administers the District’s controlled substances registration program, which registers health professionals, pharmacies, and health facilities that receive, dispense and prescribe controlled substances in the District of Columbia. Facilities regulated include institutional and retail pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and suppliers. Registrations provided: Control substances registrations.

Health Regulation Administration
The Health Regulation Administration (HRA) serves as the agency administering all District and Federal laws and regulations governing the licensure, certification and regulation of all health care and social service facilities in the District of Columbia. In this role, HRA inspects health care facilities and providers who participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, ensuring that participating providers and suppliers continue to maintain compliance with the Federal Conditions of Participation. HRA also responds to consumer and self-reported facility incidents and/or complaints, and conducts investigations if indicated. If necessary, HRA can take enforcement actions to compel facilities, providers and suppliers to come into compliance with District and Federal law. HRA also advises the Department of Health in matters pertaining to the development of rules and regulations for new health care services. HRA assists health care facilities to meet regulatory requirements by providing educational programs and technical consultation services. HRA administers its programs through the following divisions:

Health Care Facilities Division

The Health Care Facilities Division (HCFD) licenses and certifies health care facilities for compliance with state and federal health and safety standards. HCFD ensures that these facilities comply with federal standards for participation in Medicare and Medicaid under Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act. Facilities regulated include: Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Correctional Facilities, End Stage Renal Disease Centers, Home Health Agencies, Hospices, Hospitals, Maternity Centers, Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Programs, Nursing Homes, Laboratories, and Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities.

Intermediate Care Facilities Division

The Intermediate Care Facilities Division (ICFD) licenses and inspects group homes for persons with mental retardation and certifies intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation that participate in the Medicaid program.  ICFD conducts annual on-site and monitoring surveys to ensure the facilities maintain compliance with the health, safety, sanitation, life safety code and habilitative components of District and federal requirements.  Facilities regulated include: Certified (Federal) Intermediate Care Facilities and Group Homes for the Mentally Retarded.

Bureau of Community Hygiene

In October 2000, emergency re-organization and code enforcement legislation created the Bureau of Community Hygiene in DOH and established initial civil penalties for conditions conducive to the proliferation of the rodent population. Permanent legislation passed October 19, 2000. The new model includes a centralized program core in the Department of Health and defines enforcement services for the Rodent Control and Food Protection Programs. This program includes inter-agency communication to assure a citywide enforcement structure where each agency participates in achieving neighborhood goals for cleanliness, safety and healthy environments. An Animal Disease Prevention Unit is now a part of the Bureau of Community Hygiene to prevent animal diseases respond to dog bites, licensing of pets and related issues. The Department of Health conducts city-wide outreach/education efforts through printed materials, TV, radio and print media using schools and public and private partners for distribution.

Animal Disease Prevention Division
Department of Health staff at the Animal Control Facility conducts animal control and animal disease prevention services and assists the public with animal-related problems. The services are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and include, but are not limited to, animal disease control, rabies suspect control, stray animal control, dangerous dog control, licensing, enforcement, sterilization, and adoption.

Food Protection Division
The Food Protection Program inspects the city's 4,700 food establishments. Those food establishments include boarding homes, commission merchants, dairies, delicatessens, bakeries, candy manufacturers, grocery stores, retail markets, ice cream manufacturers, restaurants, wholesale markets, and hotels. The staff for the food protection program includes 17 sanitarians, two supervisors, a program manager, and a food technologist.

Rodent Control Division
The Rodent and Vector Control Division uses an integrated approach that includes public outreach and education, surveys and inspections, abatement, enforcement and cooperation with private organizations, such as WASA, other District agencies, such as, Neighborhood Service Coordinators (NSC), Area Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC), Department of Public Works (DPW), District of Columbia Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), federal agencies and community organizations to protect human health and the environment.  The District protects human health and the environment by reducing the rodent population and minimizing the risk of rodent-borne diseases, stress and fear. Rodents may serve as vectors that can transmit diseases from animals to humans. Rodents may cause significant damage to structures and may consume, destroy and contaminate food products, such as in restaurants and other commercial businesses that store food. Rodent control is essential to protect public health.  Decreased rodent activity and decreased presence of nuisance activity also encourages economic growth throughout the District. Rodents can never be totally eradicated, but rodent activity and numbers can be reduced.