Fifty-two million dollars. That is how much the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) saves our state each year. In a state plagued with budgetary issues, this cost savings benefits all Illinoisans.
But for me, it's not only about the money. To me, the IPC is invaluable -- how do you put a price tag on the 82,000 lives this service touches each year? As the co-chair of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Emergency Medical Services EMS Committee and chairman of the State EMS Advisory Council, I know this resource is necessary to protect the public safety of our residents. A call to the IPC instead of placing a call to 911 during a poison emergency keeps an ambulance and other valuable resources available to respond, allowing the men and women I represent to focus on critical care patients. In fact, by triaging these emergency calls, the IPC prevents an estimated 35,000 unnecessary ED visits and 20,000 ambulance runs.
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The IPC is the state's first responder in dealing with poison emergencies. For parents who discover their small child drank a household cleaner or the senior citizen living alone who took too many prescription drugs, the IPC becomes their lifeline. For the nurse treating a severely poisoned patient in the hospital setting or the paramedic en route to an overdose victim, the IPC is our support system.
I ask the Illinois House of Representatives to support SB 2674 and save the IPC from closure. We cannot allow Illinois to be the only state in this country without a Poison Center.
Chief Mike Hansen