As the Representative for Illinois’ 78th House District, I am proud to sponsor House Bill 1403 which protects the state’s investment in the Illinois Poison Center (IPC). The IPC provides critical services for Illinois’s citizens, providing poison prevention education and expert medical advice to both health care providers and the public, as well as acting as a first responder during public health emergencies. I have also seen, first-hand, the impact the IPC has on our state’s health care safety net through my work at Loretto Hospital on Chicago’s west side.
Nearly 28 percent of the nearly 82,000 calls the IPC receives each year come from Illinois health care providers. School nurses, emergency medical personnel, primary care physicians and hospitals across the state rely on the toxicology expertise of the IPC staff.
The IPC plays a particularly important role for our state’s hospitals that are tasked with caring for the most seriously poisoned patients. Patients who have misused or abused a medication (or multiple medications) or those who have ingested extremely damaging substances may need immediate treatment by a toxicologist. Toxicology is a niche field. Fortunately, the IPC is a resource for all providers throughout the state who may not otherwise have immediate access to a toxicologist. Many physicians treating severely poisoned patients rely on the expert consultations provided by IPC staff- pharmacists, nurses and physicians who have special toxicology education and resources.
By providing expert toxicology information and treatment recommendations, the IPC helps save Illinoisans $50 million a year in unnecessary medical costs and lost productivity. These savings are largely derived by reducing unnecessary emergency department visits and shortening the length of hospital stays for patients who have been poisoned. The IPC saves taxpayers additional $14.1 million in Medicaid costs every year by providing treatment advice to our state’s most vulnerable populations, including children, the disabled and the impoverished.
The IPC provides a significant, quantifiable return on the state’s $1.3 million annual investment in the center. I am honored to be a champion for the IPC and hope that you will join me in voicing your support for the nation’s oldest, and our state’s only, poison center.