House Resolution Wants New Life For Poison Centers

Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM) - Poison control centers were victims of a massive federal funding cut two years ago. Now, a plan is in motion to inject new life into the 56 facilities nationwide.

Sponsored by Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry and a bipartisan group of six others, the goal is to keep the centers fully functional to save lives and money.

"The proposal provides support," said Kathy Jacobitz, the managing director at Nebraska Regional Poison Center. "It's very important."

The Nebraska-based center currently gets about $266,000 a year in federal dollars. That money then goes towards staffing vital positions like toxicologists and educating pharmacy students.

"If we didn't have federal funding it would be difficult to staff the level we do at this point," said Jacobitz.

Poison centers also, according to Jacobitz, save people from going on unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

"The estimates are showing that for every dollar spent on poison center services at least 13 dollars is saved in avoided health care costs."

Rep. Terry's House Resolution 3527 is also geared towards salvaging the 24-7 emergency hotline number, which is called thousands of times per year.