Thank you for your support
The Illinois state budget maintains level funding for the Illinois Poison Center for the upcoming year!
After sustaining funding decreases of over 30% in the past two years, it was feared that the funding for the IPC would be reduced further. Due to previous funding cuts, the IPC has had to reduce about 25% of its staff hours and this has led to service difficulties such as extended wait times for the emergency hotline, increased number of people hanging up on our emergency line, and fewer poison prevention education events for communities. It was greatly feared that further cuts would cost the IPC its national accreditation status as a recognized center of quality.
However, thanks to the help of our supporters throughout Illinois, the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly agreed to keep the IPC budget at level funding to the previous year. How did our supporters help?
- E-mails to state senators and representatives: Over 2,000 e-mails requesting support for continued IPC funding were generated by people who read this blog, ‘like’ us on Facebook, and have subscribed to our e-mail alerts. During my meetings with legislators in Springfield, many would comment on the number of e-mails they had received in support of our program. It was a tremendous learning experience to know that the letters our supporters were sending were being read and had an impact on the decision-makers in the capitol.
- Personal visits to local legislator offices: A few of our most ardent supporters dropped off hard-copy letters at their representative’s office and a few had short visits with their elected officials. E-mail letters are convenient, but time and effort are precious commodities well-recognized by legislators and visits to their home offices have special impact on issues of importance and value. For those who made this extra effort on behalf of the IPC, we are truly grateful.
So what did all this work from friends and supporters throughout the state save? One of the best service values in healthcare today.
- Last year the IPC prevented an estimated 36,000 visits to the ER by helping the general public treat exposures to potentially hazardous substances at home with simple first aid instructions
- Studies from Kentucky and Wisconsin show that consulting a poison center shortens the length of a severely poisoned patient’s hospital admission by a day or longer. This means the IPC helped prevent about 10,000 hospital admission days last year.
- Over all, the IPC saves Illinois residents an estimated $50 million dollars in medical bills annually! For every dollar spent on poison control services in Illinois, the IPC saves over $12 through cost avoidance. That is true value.
The IPC staff is dedicated to reducing the harm due to poisoning in Illinois communities through immediate expert telephone treatment recommendations, innovative public and healthcare professional education, and focused research. We are all grateful for your support so that we can continue our service to all of the residents of Illinois.
In the fall of this year, as the federal budget is created, funding for poison centers will once again be at risk. The IPC has had its federal funding reduced by almost 40% over the past two years. We hope we can count on your support once again when we ask Congress to hold the line on further poison center funding cuts.
Until next Tuesday,