Legislation proposed earlier this year to give medical providers access to opioid addict’s medical histories was included as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package – Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – passed by Congress on March 27.
The bill previously proposed by U.S. Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was similar to a Senate bill S.B. 1012 introduced by U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) named the “Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act.” Both that bill and Mullin and Blumenauer’s bill, H.B. 2062, were an effort to correct language in patient privacy laws that would allow the medical community to access substance use disorder treatment records the same as they do all other records.
The bill stems from the story of Jessica Grubb, a West Virginia woman who was recovering from drug addiction when a running injury sent her to the hospital for surgery. There, a physician prescribed her opioids as part of her recovery. Grubb died of an opioid overdose the next day.
“This is long overdue and will without a doubt save lives,” Mullin said. “This legislation allows doctors to get the whole story on their patient’s medical history and ensure that a patient with a history of opioid abuse isn’t treated with opioids. I want to thank my colleague, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, for his work on this issue, and I am proud that this bipartisan legislation will provide 21st-century care to those who need it the most.”
The CARES Act, S.B. 2440, is an economic stimulus act that was designed to provide economic relief to businesses and individuals as the country reels from the Coronavirus outbreak.
Supporters of the bill applauded Mullin for ensuring its language was included in the stimulus bill.
“We applaud U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin for his work to align 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPPA, which was included in the stimulus bill Congress passed last week. He has been a champion of this legislation, which will allow for information to flow between health care professionals to provide safer and better care for our patients with substance use disorders,” American Psychiatric Association President Bruce Schwartz said. “This is a good step forward in breaking down barriers for people with substance use disorders to receive effective integrated care.”