As a father of three young children, I’ve seen my children get into most everything around the house. Young children’s curiosity can often put them at risk for exposure to a potentially harmful substance. In fact, close to 49 percent of all calls to the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) are regarding children 5 years of age and under.
I know the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear when something may be wrong with your most precious asset. In an area of our state where the nearest hospital could be miles away, it’s comforting to know that the experts at the IPC are available 24 hours per day, 365 days a year free of charge. The IPC ensures swift access to effective poison prevention and treatment services, and plays an important role in our emergency medical and response system.
I am grateful for the support and guidance the IPC professionals offer to the people of Illinois. This invaluable service is crucial for public safety in our state. This is why I decided to sponsor Senate Bill 1440 and protect the state’s investment in the IPC.
Many of our state’s hospitals are experiencing a shortage of beds and staff. In southern Illinois, where our health care facilities tend to be smaller than other parts of the state, our hospitals struggle to meet the needs of the patient population. By handling close to 90 percent of calls from the general public without referral to a heath care facility, the IPC allows our hospitals to focus more of their resources on patients who need to be in the hospital.
Our poison center not only protects lives and supports our health care providers, but it also provides a strong return on investment for our state. For every one dollar we invest in the IPC, there is more than a $13 savings in health care costs. By preventing an estimated 35,000 emergency department visits per year and shortening hospital stays for admitted patients, the IPC saves our state’s tax payers more than $50 million dollars per year.
I encourage each of you to take advantage of the services provided by the IPC by calling 1-800-222-1222 if you or someone you know has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance.