After months of diligently working to encourage Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly to maintain funding for the Illinois Poison Center in the new fiscal state budget (FY2011), our hard work has “paid off”! The Illinois Poison Center is pleased to announce that Governor Quinn has decided to maintain funding for the poison center at the same level as the previous year. We are satisfied that this base level of funding will allow the IPC to avoid closure and continue to provide an invaluable service to all who live and work in Illinois.
We realize this victory is not ours alone. After humbly asking for your support in our efforts, you – our friends, family, partners, and advocates, answered the call in resounding numbers. By the end of May, over 3100 letters had been sent to Governor Quinn and IL State Legislators urging them to support the IPC and maintain our funding.
This victory truly belongs to the 12.9 million residents of Illinois. As the only poison center serving the entire state, we provide free comprehensive and trusted information and treatment advice on all potentially harmful substances. Therefore IPC’s continued presence brings peace of mind to parents, grandparents, school nurses, caregivers, health care professionals, etc; that depend on IPC’s timely and accurate services. Last year nearly 100,000 calls (of those, 45,000 were regarding children ages 5 and under) were answered by our team of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other specially trained medical professionals, which are available 24/7/365.
We anticipate more bumps along the way as the budget crisis in Illinois continues to unfold. Specifically as it relates to the IPC, the potential for further budget cuts in services to the state may be forthcoming as soon as January 2011. Should this occur, IPC will be faced with further reductions in staff and increased wait times for callers. As a result, this will ultimately lead to people seeking more expensive emergency care, which in turn, will cause the degradation of IPC’s value and an increase in costs to the community as a whole. Consequently the cost for poor medical outcomes and prolonged hospital stays will far surpass the cost of providing appropriate funding for the Illinois Poison Center. The IPC saves $50 million annually in unnecessary health care costs; providing a 12:1 return on investment – A tremendous saving, to say the least.
In order to avoid this outcome, our goal is to one day retrieve full funding for the IPC. We will continue to seek additional funding to bring back vital staff positions lost due to budget cuts and restore our ability to return to the superior level of hotline and public education within the communities of Illinois. Educating our communities is a vital step in creating safe and healthy home environments and reducing the number of unnecessary emergency department visits.
We hope that you will continue to fight this battle with us. Please continue to educate your families and communities about the importance of the IPC, so they too can join our efforts. But for now…we celebrate!
Stay connected with the IPC by joining us on:
Facebook: Illinois Poison Center
Twitter: IL Poison Center
Also be sure to take our free online Poison Prevention Education Training Course (available in English and Spanish) for more information on poison safety and prevention-www.IllinosPoisonCenter.org/outreach. After completing the course you will have unlimited access to our Poison Prevention Education Resource Center(PPERC) , where you will find free educational materials such as stickers, magnets, games, etc.