August 22, 2019

Manchin Speaks With Secretary Azar, Applauds Effort To Advance Jessie's Legacy

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) spoke with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and applauded efforts to advance commonsense rules that will improve healthcare providers’ ability to address substance use disorder and help patients get the treatment they desperately need. The proposal is consistent with Senator Manchin’s legislation, the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (Legacy Act). Although this is a great first step, HHS can only go so far under existing law.

“I commend Secretary Azar, the President, and this administration for their efforts to increase access to treatment for those suffering from substance use disorder. It’s long past time that we make these commonsense changes that enjoy broad, bipartisan support, and I will continue to work with Secretary Azar and all stakeholders to make The Legacy Act the law of the land. The Legacy Act is crucial to making sure that our family members and neighbors struggling with substance use disorder don’t have to experience the same senseless and preventable tragedy that Jessica Grubb and her family suffered. By making changes to the existing regulations regarding medical records, we can save thousands of lives. No one should go to the doctor expecting to receive help and instead be thrown back into the nightmare of addiction. We have seen far too many deaths in West Virginia from this epidemic. This bill will help make sure we are fighting back against this problem, not contributing to it,” said Senator Manchin.

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 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 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.