June 12, 2019

Manchin Applauds American Medical Association For Supporting Patient Care Coordination In Legacy Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the American Medical Association (AMA) for supporting aligning 42 CFR Part 2 and HIPAA privacy standards, which is accomplished through Senator Manchin’s Protecting Jessica Grubbs’s Legacy Act. Today the AMA House of Delegates voted to bring privacy standards surrounding substance use disorder treatment closer in line to HIPAA Privacy Rules. This will help ensure medical professionals have full knowledge of their patient’s substance use disorder history, if the patient provides that information. Currently, no other disease class, such as HIV/AIDS, are subject to different privacy standards except substance use disorder. By voting to align these standards, medical professionals are acknowledging the need to have access to vital health information to properly coordinate care, while still protecting patient privacy. This change will help prevent tragic events like the death of Jessie Grubb by providing physicians and other medical professionals with this information at every step of a patient’s care, enabling them to consider the patient’s substance use disorder history when determining appropriate medical care. 

“Today the AMA took a huge step towards helping prevent tragic deaths like Jessie Grubb’s. By aligning these privacy laws, physicians and other medical professionals can provide the correct care for West Virginians and Americans who have substance use disorder or a history of opioid abuse. I am proud to sponsor legislation that will make an impact on so many American’s lives and applaud the AMA’s decision to support aligning the same privacy regulations so that we can help prevent parents around our country from experiencing the grief that Jessie’s parents feel and will help protect those dealing with substance use disorder. Thank you to Patrice Harris, the President of the AMA and a West Virginian for her hard work on making this happen,” said Senator Manchin.

“We are happy to work with Sen. Manchin on this issue,” said Danny Scalise, Executive Director of the West Virginia State Medical Association. “The opioid crisis is truly crippling West Virginia. The West Virginia State Medical Association would like to thank Sen. Manchin for bringing these issues to the forefront.”

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 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 life and her story has had a deep impact on Senator Manchin and his efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. 

To learn more about the Legacy Act, please click here

To learn more about the AMA House of Delegates vote, please click here