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S. 1012 (116th): Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act


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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 3, 2019.


Protecting Jessica Grubb's Legacy Act

This bill more closely aligns the federal privacy standards for substance use disorder (SUD) patient records with the standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Specifically, the bill authorizes the disclosure of SUD patient records without a patient's written consent to: (1) a covered entity for the purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations, as long as the disclosure is made in accordance with HIPAA; and (2) a public health authority, as long as the content of the disclosure meets HIPAA standards regarding de-identified information. Current law authorizes disclosure of SUD patient records without a patient's written consent only to medical personnel in a medical emergency, to specified personnel for research or program evaluations, or pursuant to a court order.

The bill also repeals and replaces criminal penalties for certain violations involving SUD patient records with the HIPAA civil penalty structure. It also applies HIPAA criminal penalties to wrongful disclosures of SUD patient records. In addition, the bill expands the current prohibition against using SUD patient records in criminal proceedings to include any use in specified federal, state, and local criminal and civil actions.

The bill prohibits certain discrimination based on the release of SUD information under this bill.