SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KMOX) – The next time you need to call the poison control center, there may not be anyone to pick up your call.
The Illinois Poison Center is in the middle of a financial emergency. State and federal money is drying up and by June 30, the budget gap between revenue and mandated services will be too large to bridge.
“We lost about $600,000 in state funding, and about a half a million dollars in disaster preparedness funding,” says Medical Director Michael Wahl.
That could lead to Illinois being the only state in the country without a poison control line.
And if there’s no poison control hotline, 911 will see an influx of 60,000 calls. That will also result in ambulance transfer, costing Illinois between $50 and 60 million, according to Wahl.
“About 90 percent of the people who call us from work, home, or school, we are able to treat at home with first aid instructions, thereby avoiding a costly trip to the emergency department or worse, a call to 911 that will then lead to an ambulance ride and then a trip to the emergency department,” he says.
The solution? A proposed bill that would reallocate 2 cents from your cell phone surcharge into the fund for the Poison Center. It’s out of committee and on the Senate floor.
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