November 29, 2022

Manchin, Capito's Protecting Jessica Grubb's Legacy Act Proposed Rule Announced

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV), Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (Legacy Act) proposed rule was announced by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS). The Legacy Act will change existing privacy regulations, known as 42 CFR Part 2, surrounding medical records for those suffering with substance use disorder. This proposed rule will implement the Legacy Act, which aims to save lives by ensuring that medical providers do not accidentally give opioids to individuals in recovery like in the case of Jessica Grubb.

“Today’s announcement is another important step in securing Jessica Grubb’s legacy and will help save countless lives in our fight against the drug epidemic that has ravaged our state,” said Senator Manchin. “While it has taken more than two years since Congress passed the Legacy Act to get this critical change implemented, I am pleased HHS is taking action to help Americans and West Virginians who are in recovery from substance use disorder. I look forward to working with HHS and the Grubb family to get the final rule implemented and will continue to fight this terrible epidemic that has taken far too many Americans and West Virginians by working to implement Jessie’s Law too.”

“The story of Jessie Grubb shows us how tragic the addiction epidemic truly is, and the effects that it has on families across West Virginia,” Senator Capito said. “Today’s announcement is welcome news as it will help to ensure that all members of a patient’s treatment team have access to a person’s history of addiction, which will help improve care coordination. This change, which we’ve been working to implement for several years, will also help remove the stigma behind opioid addiction and continue Jessie’s legacy by helping prevent senseless substance use disorder deaths in our state.”

“It’s been six 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 proposed rule, coupled with 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,” said David Grubb, Jessica Grubb’s father.

“The Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 is delighted to see the issuance of this long-awaited rule and thanks Senator Manchin for his leadership on this important topic. By aligning Part 2 more closely with the privacy provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we move closer to providing appropriate access to patient information that is essential for providing safe, effective, whole-person care while still protecting patient privacy,” said Maeghan Gilmore, Vice President, Government Affairs of the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness and Chairperson of 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.