Poison Center Network Actby Former Representative Lee Terry
Posted on 2014-01-08
TERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for recognizing me, and I thank the gentleman from New York, my good friend. We have worked on several bills together, but the poison control bill is certainly one of those that we've been active on several years now. Thank you for your involvement and your staff's involvement. They have done a great job.
Mr. Speaker, this is a bipartisan and a bicameral bill. Not only were we in negotiations and just working together in a bipartisan way in the House, but our team in the House, Eliot Engel and myself, have been working with the Senate, and they have an identical bill to this.
This bill reauthorizes the national Poison Control Centers' toll-free number, the Poison Centers' nationwide media campaign, and the grant program which provides funds for over 50 poison centers nationwide, including the one in Omaha, Nebraska, that I recently visited.
Currently, 56 poison centers serve all 50 States and its territories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week--yes, even Christmas. These centers provide professional advice from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and toxicology specialists to people calling in with questions or concerns regarding potential exposure to harmful toxins.
Nebraska's poison control center has a direct relationship with our medical center, and you will find that very common in many communities and States.
In 2010 alone, the annual report of the poison control centers reported over 3 million calls received and served by the centers. In 2012, more than 3.9 million calls were managed by our Nation's poison control centers.
Our national poison center network also serves as an ideal example of private-public partnership that saves the Federal Government money-- billions of dollars each year--in avoided emergency room expenses while delivering access to critical services. Eighty percent of the poison centers' operating budget comes from non-Federal sources. In 2012, an independent analysis found a large portion of the savings provided by poison centers saved SCHIP, Medicare, and Medicaid funds more than $700 million a year just for those programs. America's utilization of the Nation's poison control center information and case triage services results in avoiding more than 1.7 million unnecessary visits to health care facilities.
Now I am encouraging every Member of Congress to visit their State's poison center where they will see great professionals work with frightened people on the other side of that call in a remarkable way. And I also encourage them to support this bill.