WASHINGTON (NEWS10) — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that $24,846,000 in federal funding was secured for the Poison Control Program in the bipartisan FY 2021 appropriations package. Gillibrand originally called for $30.1 million to support the nationwide network of 55 Poison Control Centers (PCCs).
As public health and addiction support services operate on thin margins, according to Gillibrand’s office, these increased federal funds will be used to provide life-saving health care services in every state. During public health emergencies, poison control centers serve as first responders to prevent injuries, help reduce poisoning-related health care costs, and save countless lives.
“For over 50 years, the Poison Control Program has been our nation’s top defense against injuries, unintentional poisonings, and deaths from poisoning,” said Senator Gillibrand. “In addition to saving countless lives, this funding is a smart economic investment and will save $1.8 billion annually in medical costs. As the pandemic has exacerbated our country’s addiction and drug poisoning crisis and has placed a severe financial strain on health services, this program is needed now more than ever to keep our communities safe.”
The Poison Control Program, authorized by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), is available to the general public and health care providers 24/7. The program supports the PCC network for information to help manage public health emergencies, including COVID-19, Ebola, and the Zika virus, and the growing opioid crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted addiction support services across the country, which were overburdened before the pandemic.
The services provided by PCCs lower treatment and medical costs by reducing emergency room visits, hospital stay time, and work-loss days each year. For every dollar invested in the poison control center system, $13.39 is saved in medical cost and lost productivity, for a total savings of more than $1.8 billion every year, according to Gillibrand’s office.
The Poison Control Program also provides surveillance and real-time data to federal, state, and local agencies, including the CDC and Food and Drug Administration.