Poison Centers Save More Than $1.8 Billion Every Year

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American Association of Poison Control Centers Releases New Report Quantifies the Value of the American Poison Center System.

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This important report shows the value poison centers bring to the nation’s health care system.

A report released today confirms the value of the American poison center system, indicating that poison centers save Americans more than $1.8 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity, according to Rick Dart, M.D., Ph.D, past-president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

The AAPCC recently commissioned The Lewin Group to determine the value of the poison center system as a whole. The findings are detailed in the Final Report on the Value of the Poison Center System (The Lewin Group Inc., September 2012). In preparing the report, The Lewin Group reviewed existing literature regarding the impact of the poison center system on medical utilization and analyzed the value of the poison center network. The Lewin Group’s analysis included the four most commonly referenced savings metrics (savings due to avoided medical utilization, reduced hospital length of stay, in-person outreach, and reduced work-loss days).

“Even though poison centers save countless lives and more than a billion dollars each year, America’s 57 poison centers suffered a federal funding cut of 36 percent in 2011, as well as cuts in state and local funding,” Dart said. “Further reductions in funding will make it difficult for poison centers to continue to provide life-saving services. This important report shows the value poison centers bring to the nation’s health care system.”

According to the Final Report on the Value of the Poison Center System, every dollar invested in the poison center system saves $13.39 in medical costs and lost productivity, for a total savings of more than $1.8 billion every year. The report also determined that the cost to fund poison centers is 43 cents per U.S. resident per year.

“Our system of 57 poison control centers is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health programs in the nation,” Dart said. “Calls to poison centers keep the vast majority of callers out of the hospital and decrease the length of stays for patients who are admitted. Poison centers save lives, protect the public’s health, and save millions of taxpayer dollars. It’s vital that policymakers and the public understand the importance of funding this essential public health service.”

The Final Report on the Value of the Poison Center System is available at http://www.aapcc.org.

For more information, the media may contact Loreeta Canton, AAPCC director of public relations and member services, at 703.894.1863, 701.391.0626 (cell phone) or canton(at)aapcc(dot)org.

About the American Association of Poison Control Centers:
The AAPCC supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, the AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. The AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as EPA, HRSA and the CDC, as well as private industry.

To learn more, visit http://www.aapcc.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or read our blog at aapcc.wordpress.com. To join your voice with other poison center supporters, register for the AAPCC advocacy network at http://www.capwiz.com/aapcc – click on “Action E-List.”

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Loreeta Canton
AAPCC
703-894-1863
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