The Woman Whose Addiction Story Shook Obama Now Has A Bill In Her Name

Barack Obama, Joe Manchin

FILE – In this July 2, 2010 file photo, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin speaks with President Barack Obama at a memorial service for Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Source: Huffington Post

Jessie’s Law tries to make a patient’s addiction history more widely known to his or her physicians.

WASHINGTON — The young woman whose story of heroin addiction and subsequent death compelled President Barack Obama to sharpen his focus on the epidemic has inspired new legislation in Congress.

On Wednesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced Jessie’s Law, a bill named after Jessica Grubb and designed to try to prevent the circumstances that led to her death from occurring elsewhere.

The legislation seeks to make it harder for physicians to unknowingly prescribe large quantities of opioid medication to recovering addicts. It does so by expanding the universe of people who can provide consent for a patient’s substance abuse records to be disclosed to their physicians. It also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a standard policy to include a patient’s history of opioid addiction in medical records if that consent has been given.

Manchin touted the merits of the legislation during a press conference on Wednesday, saying it was a “common sense” reform in treatment of opioid addicts. “We are going to eliminate that from ever happening again, when the parents and the person who is being cared for both agree that we want this to be known so that we don’t end up with something we shouldn’t have.” But while the senator said he expected large bipartisan support and quick passage, he also seemed to acknowledge that the bill will be met with skepticism by patient privacy advocates who have long argued that a person’s medical choices and history are proprietary.

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