In an effort to crack down on federal spending, Congress passed a measure that would cut $27.3 million, or about 93%, of federal funding for poison control centers across the United States.
This comes as a shock to those like Jim Hirt, executive director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, who said in a written statement:
"Poison centers treat nearly 75% of all exposure cases at home, without the patient having to go to a health care facility. The costs of this cut would ultimately far exceed the $27 million saved."
Luckily for those against this budget cut, the Senate rejected the measure, but Congressional leaders still need to negotiate a final spending measure, which might include cuts to the poison control centers.
Some Congressmen are in favor of consolidating all of the nation's 57 separate poison control centers into one national center.
Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Montana, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services, said in a statement:
"There's just no reason to maintain 57 separate call centers around the country when technology would enable us to get the job done with one. We can save millions simply by cutting out 56 duplicative locations and with record debt and deficits putting our future in jeopardy, it's worth looking under every rock for savings."
Some proponents of this consolidation use Amazon and Netflix as an example, citing the companies ability to "save a ton of money by putting everything in a single warehouse" and using technology to reach their customers.
However, poison control center operators strongly disagree with this statement, saying:
"Local relationships are invaluable. There's no way a single center could get in there and provide for the wants and needs of every state. It's not possible."
We think poison control centers are a valuable health care tool that not only save lives, but save trips to emergency rooms as well.
If the people running those centers do not think it is a good idea to consolidate into a national poison control center, than we are more inclined to trust them over some politician in Washington.
Tags: cnn, congress, federal funding, health care, house of representatives, poison control centers, senate