Aug 14, 2017: How many visits to the Emergency Department does Tennessee Poison Center prevent (and how much money does that save)?

A call survey was completed of persons who called Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) in April 2017 and received treatment advice to manage the poisoning at home. 
The callers answered several questions including, “Would you have gone to the ED if Tennessee Poison Center had not been available?”
52% of the callers who agreed to answer the survey replied that they would have gone to the ED if the poison center were not available. It was determined from the survey that 42% of the calls that would go to the ED receive state medical assistance or are uninsured. 
In FY 2017, 31,126 exposure cases were managed at home statewide. 
It is estimated that 16,186 cases in FY 2017 (31,126 x 52%) would have resulted in a visit to the ED if a poison control center were not available. Approximately 6,798 (42%) of these cases receive state medical assistance or are uninsured.
A survey was completed of hospitals throughout the state of Tennessee requesting ED charges for cases that present to an ED but could be managed at home by Tennessee Poison Center. 
Based on the best estimate of Tennessee hospital ED charges that could be managed by TPC, in FY 2017, TPC saved the taxpayers of Tennessee $10,421,334 in ED fees for the underinsured.
99% would call the Poison Center in the future.
Aren’t you glad Tennesseans have a Poison Center?

This question prepared by:  Josephine Darwin, Director of Community Outreach, Tennessee Poison Center

I am interested in any questions you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestions at

Donna Seger, MD
Medical Director
Tennessee Poison Center
Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222