WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will introduce the Protecting Jessie Grubb’s Legacy Act (Legacy Act), legislation to help bring the regulations governing substance use treatment disorder records in better alignment with the privacy rules and protections for other medical records. The goal is to ensure that healthcare providers have access to the full scope of their patient’s medical history and are able to provide appropriate care.

This bill will improve health care coordination and reduce the risk of overdose death for people with substance use disorders by allowing their treatment records to be safely and privately shared between healthcare providers.

“The Grubb family has experienced unimaginable pain from the scourge of addiction that has taken the lives of so many in West Virginia and across the country,” said Senator Capito. “Jessie’s death is heartbreaking, but her story has inspired action. With this new legislation, we are taking another important step to prevent future overdose deaths by making sure medical professionals have the information they need when treating patients who have struggled with addiction. As a mother and a grandmother, I cannot image the pain the Grubb family feels after losing their daughter, but I know this bill will make a tremendous difference as we continue fighting the drug epidemic.”

“Last month the Senate passed Jessie’s Law, the first step to making sure physicians and other medical professionals have access to information at every step of a patient’s care, enabling them to consider the patient’s substance use disease when determining appropriate medical care,” Senator Manchin said. “Jessie’s Law creates voluntary standards for hospitals to report information about a patient’s addiction history if the patient provides that information. This legislation actually changes the underlying regulations to ensure that information about substance use disorder treatment is being shared. It will save lives and help prevent tragic situations like the one that took Jessica Grubb from us by ensuring that medical professionals are able to provide quality, coordinated healthcare.”

"We miss Jessie everyday," said her mother Kate Grubb, "but this legislation will hopefully spare other families the sadness and grief we have experienced and are continuing to endure."  David Grubb, Jessica's father, added: "It is important that addiction be treated as a disease, and not as a character flaw.  We need to end the stigma and establish procedures that help, rather than hurt, individuals suffering or recovering from substance abuse disorder."

“We applaud Senators Manchin and Capito’s leadership on the introduction of the Protecting Jessie Grubb’s Legacy Act. This bill improves treatment by helping ensure that persons with opioid use and other substance use disorders receive the safe, effective, integrated health care they need. This vital piece of legislation will allow appropriate access to patient information that is essential for providing whole-person coordinated care.” Pamela Greenberg, MPP, President and CEO, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness.

After battling addiction for seven years, Jessie was sober and focusing on making a life for herself in Michigan. She was training to run in a marathon and had to undergo surgery in March for a running related injury. Her parents, David and Kate Grubb, went to Michigan for her surgery and told her doctors and hospital personnel that she was a recovering addict. However, after Jessie’s surgery, the discharging doctor, who said he didn’t know she was a recovering addict, sent her home with a prescription for 50 oxycodone pills. Before her death, David shared her story with President Obama when he came to Charleston for a town hall on the opioid epidemic. Her story had a deep impact on him and she is often credited with inspiring him to dedicate more resources to fighting this devastating epidemic.

To read the text of the bill, click here. 

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