AAPCC Issues Statement on the Signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 and the Five Year Reauthorization of the Poison Center Network Act

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Consolidated Appropriations Act Passed House with 359-67 Vote and Senate with 72-26 Vote; PC Network Act Passed House with 388-18 Vote and Senate with Unanimous Consent Vote

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The return on investment for the federal government is substantial.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers and the experts at America’s 56 poison centers are commending the U.S. Congress for its recent passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 along with the Poison Center Network Act and President Obama for signing the acts into law.

“On Jan. 17, 2014, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 into law, appropriating $18.846 million in funding, a $1 million increase over last year’s appropriation. This increased appropriation helps support poison centers operations, a nationwide toll-free phone number and a national media campaign to educate the public and health care providers about poison prevention,” said AAPCC President Marsha Ford, MD, FACEP, FACMT. “America’s poison centers applaud the nation’s policymakers for addressing the vital public health role poison centers play with this important legislation.

“We are unique in that data about every call, over 3.3 million calls in 2012, made to a poison center are uploaded every eight minutes on average to the National Poison Data System, the only near real-time, comprehensive poisoning surveillance database in the United States,” said Ford. “Poison centers often identify or provide enhanced situational awareness of consumer product safety issues, medication adverse events, drug abuse threats, contaminated food outbreaks, or other emerging public health crises because of how current our data is.”

“The return on investment for the federal government is substantial,” said John Fiegel, CAE, interim executive director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. “We were pleased to see the President sign the Poison Center Network Act into law on Jan. 24, authorizing $30 million for poison center operations for the next five years. This reinforces the support our leaders on the Hill have for our nationwide poison center system.

“America’s poison centers, which provide confidential health care services 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no direct cost to the people who call, have increasingly been front and center in the public health spotlight over the past several years,” said Fiegel. “We have played critical roles ranging from the outlawing of synthetic drugs in 2012 (Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act), to alerting the public about the dangers of single-dose laundry packets in 2013 and most recently in the West Virginia chemical spill on Jan. 9. Our network of 56 poison centers is in a unique position to detect emerging public health trends and threats and we are encouraged by the reauthorization of the Poison Center Network Act as well as the increased appropriation.”

Poison Center Network Act
Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize through FY2019:
1. Revises and reauthorizes through FY2019 a grant program for accredited poison control centers
2. A poison control nationwide-toll free phone number
-- Allows grant funds to be used to research, improve, and enhance the communications and response capability and capacity of the poison control centers to facilitate increased access to such centers through the integration and modernization of communications and data systems.
3. A national media campaign to educate the public and health care providers about poison prevention and the availability of poison control center resources in local communities, and to conduct advertising campaigns about the nationwide toll-free number.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, AAPCC Associate Manager, Public Relations and Government Affairs, at 703.894.1859 or schuster(at)aapcc(dot)org.

The AAPCC supports the nation’s 56 poison center members 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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Brett Schuster
AAPCC
+1 (703) 894-1859
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