Upton calls for support of poison control network

A bill that would reauthorize the nation’s poison control centers needs to be signed into law to keep communities safe and save lives, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) recently told members of Congress.

The Poison Center Network Act would reauthorize the poison control center’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline, media campaigns that support public health initiatives and poison control center utilization.

“This bill needs to get done,” Upton, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, said. “(It) is really good legislation, and it’s bipartisan. It funds more than 50 poison control centers across the country. And in 2012, almost 4 million calls were managed by our nation’s poison control centers. These centers and the physicians, the nurses, the pharmacists and toxicology specialists who staff them save lives by providing free and confidential health services regarding potential exposure to harmful toxins 24/7 and in 150 different languages.”

The measure would also fund the poison control center’s grant program, which is used to operate and establish poison control centers around the country.

“Poison centers like this save money, as many of these crisis calls avert an expensive trip to the emergency room,” Upton said. “In fact, in a 2012 report by the independent Lewin Group determined that the nation’s poison centers save more than $1.19 billion in avoided medical utilization and reduced hospital length of stay every year. In addition, every $1 of funding saves about $13 in unnecessary healthcare costs and lost productivity in the country.”

The federal government, Upton added, provides about 18 percent of poison control center funding, making it one of the nation’s most successful public-private partnerships.

The Energy and Commerce Committee backed the measure in December.