March 26, 2020

ICYMI: Senate Passes Manchin's Protecting Jessica Grubb's Legacy Act

Washington, D.C. – Last night, the Senate unanimously passed Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (Legacy Act), legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), as part of the third COVID-19 emergency funding package. The Legacy Act will change existing privacy regulations, known as 42 CFR Part 2, surrounding medical records for those suffering with substance use disorder. The goal of the Legacy Act is to save lives by ensuring that medical providers do not accidentally give opioids to individuals in recovery like in the case of Jessica Grubb. This legislation is especially important as our healthcare systems and front line providers are facing an unprecedented pandemic. Our health providers need all the resources and information they can get to adequately treat patients.

“Last night we secured Jessica Grubb’s legacy. The Senate passage of the Legacy Act puts us one step closer to saving countless lives and continuing our fight against the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our state. Nobody should go into a hospital seeking help and leave addicted. I am so proud of this legislation and the hard work that has gone into changing the way our medical system treats substance use disorder to avoid tragic situations like what happened to Jessica Grubb. The Grubb Family continues to inspire me as they fight alongside me to remember Jessie’s legacy by making our systems safer for others. Our fight against this crisis is far from over, and I will continue to advocate for change in Washington to help those in West Virginia and across America who have been affected by this terrible epidemic. I look forward to the House of Representatives passing this important legislation and sending the Legacy Act to the President’s desk for his signature,” said Senator Manchin.

“It’s been four years since Jessie tragically died as a result of an opioid overdose. It was a death that could have been and should have been avoided. The Legacy Act, coupled with the previously-enacted Jessie’s Law, are crucial steps that will prevent needless deaths in the future. While nothing can ever replace Jessie in our lives, it is comforting to know that other families will not have to endure similar pain. Signing the Legacy Act into law will be a great step towards preventing these senseless deaths,” said David Grubb, Jessica Grubb’s father.

"The Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 thanks Senators Manchin and Capito, along with all the co-sponsors of the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act, for their dedication to combating the opioid epidemic. The significance of the Legacy Act is considerable. Passage of this legislation will allow appropriate access to patient information that is essential for providing safe, effective, whole-person care for persons with substance use disorders, which is of the utmost importance in times of public health emergencies like the opioid crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maeghan Gilmore, MPH, Chairperson for the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2

After battling substance use disorder 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 recovering from substance use disorder. However, after Jessie’s surgery, the discharging doctor, who said he didn’t know she was recovering from substance use disorder, 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 President Obama and she is often credited with inspiring him to dedicate more resources to fighting this devastating epidemic.