March 22, 2018

Manchin Secures Passage of "Jessie's Law"

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) secured the passage of “Jessie’s Law,” which will help ensure that medical professionals have full knowledge of their patient’s previous opioid addiction if the patient provides that information. This 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 addiction when determining appropriate medical care. Jessie’s Law passed the Senate by unanimous consent in August, but was held up in the House of Representatives.

“I am so proud to get Jessie’s Law included in the omnibus bill, guaranteeing its passage. This legislation will save lives,” Senator Manchin said. “Jessie’s Law is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will help ensure physicians and other medical professionals have knowledge of a patient’s previous substance use disorder when determining appropriate medical care. This legislation honors the life of Jessie, someone who was lost too soon to something that was 100 percent preventable. Jessie’s Law will help prevent parents around our country from experiencing the grief that her parents feel and will help protect those struggling with substance use disorder. It has been an honor to have worked to solidify her legacy so it stands long after us.”

“One of the first calls we received after Jessie’s death was from Joe asking what could be done to make a difference.  We started brainstorming and thinking about how the law could be changed. We worked with Joe for two years on this legislation that will now be signed into law.  Thousands of people, like Jessie, who are recovering from opioid addiction interact with the healthcare system.  We have to ensure that the doctors, nurses, and pharmacies are fully informed about a patient's addiction history.  In Jessie's case, the hospital was informed about her status as a recovering addict.  And while this fact was mentioned eight times in her medical records, it was never displayed prominently (as are allergies and other potential complications).  As a result, the discharging physician was unaware of her history and sent her home with fifty oxycodone.  We believe that this legislation in honor of Jessie will actually save lives because doctors will now know from the very beginning that a patient is a recovering addict,” said David Grubb, Jessie’s father.

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 “Jessie’s Law,” please click here.