Please note: The American Association of Poison Control Centers recently sent the following letter to U.S. Senate and House of Representative leadership on behalf of the nation’s 57 poison centers.
To: Senator Harry Reid
Senator Mitch McConnell
Representative John Boehner
Representative Nancy Pelosi
Representative Eric Cantor
As you work to reduce the federal deficit in the next few weeks, the American Association of Poison Control Centers urges you to find a balanced solution that does not include further cuts to America’s poison center system and other discretionary funding.
Federal funding for poison centers has been cut by 36 percent since FY 2010, and these cuts came on top of budget cuts at the state level. If funding is reduced again, some poison centers may be forced to cut services – or even close.
And that’s despite the incredible return on investment the federal government realizes. Poison centers save Americans more than $1.8 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity. The federal government alone saves $662.8 million through Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs from its $18.86 million in poison center support. That is a federal savings of $38.74 for every federal dollar invested in the poison center network. I encourage you to visit www.aapcc.org to learn more.
At America’s 57 poison centers, certified poison experts who are pharmacists, nurses and doctors provide free, confidential, lifesaving advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Poison centers assess, triage, manage and monitor people who are exposed to harmful substances. More than 70 percent of the 2.4 million people with emergencies who call a poison center each year are treated at home, saving millions of dollars by eliminating the expense of unnecessary trips to an emergency department.
Americans want to know that when they call the Poison Help line, someone will be there to answer their call.
On behalf of America’s poison centers, I ask you to use a balanced approach to balancing the budget. Poison centers have done their part.
Debbie Carr, M.Ed.
American Association of Poison Control Centers