King, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Those Recovering From Addiction

Senator Angus King has joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to announce the introduction of the Protecting Jessie Grubb’s Legacy Act legislation to help ensure that medical professionals have full knowledge of their patients’ previous opioid addiction if the patient gives consent.

This will improve health care coordination and reduce the risk of overdose death for people with substance use disorders by allowing their treatment records to be safely and privately shared between health care providers.

“The opioid epidemic remains the worst public health crisis I have seen in Maine in my adult life,” Senator King said. “We need a comprehensive approach to fixing this crisis so Maine people struggling with addiction, their families, and their communities can be safer, stronger and healthier. By giving health providers the resources and tools they need to better understand a patient’s medical history, we can help prevent people from falling back into the grip of addiction and determine the appropriate medical care they need.”

After battling addiction for seven years, Jessie Grubb 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, and she ultimately passed away.

Senator King was also a cosponsor of Jessie’s Law, legislation passed by the Senate in August, that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and disseminate standards for hospitals and physicians regarding displaying the history of opioid addiction in the medical records of patients who have provided information about their addiction to a health care provider.

The Legacy Act builds on the mission of Jessie’s Law by reforming the regulation governing substance use treatment disorder treatment records, which would enable healthcare providers to access the information they need to better coordinate care for patients while also maintaining strong privacy protections.