Sept 21, 2020: How much money does the Tennessee Poison Center save the citizens of Tennessee?

As the academic fiscal year begins, I would like to share some exciting news about the Tennessee Poison Center (TPC). First, we have now received greater than 2 million incoming calls to the Poison Help hotline since the Poison Center opened in 1988!  


Second, a call survey was completed of persons who called the Poison Help hotline and had their poison emergency managed at home by the TPC in the preceding month. The callers answered several questions including what they would have done if the TPC was not available.


Of these callers, 67% reported they would have gone to the hospital or called 911 if the poison center did not exist. It was determined from the survey that 46% of these callers were underinsured.


In 2020, the TPC will manage an estimated 35,940 exposure cases statewide at home under the monitoring of a poison specialist.


Of those 35,940 exposures, 24,080 (35,940 x 67%) would go to the ED if the poison center were not available. Approximately, 11,077 (46% of 24,080) are underinsured.


Based on the best estimate of Tennessee hospital ED charges, the TPC will save taxpayers of Tennessee an estimated $28,568,912 in 2020 by preventing unnecessary ED fees for underinsured residents.


By helping Tennesseans manage poisonings at home, the Tennessee Poison Center saves valuable tax dollars. The TPC continues to save lives and money. We are an integral part of keeping Tennesseans safe and healthy.  


Prepared by Rebecca Bruccoleri, MD, Medical Director, Tennessee Poison Center


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


Donna Seger, MD

Executive Director

Tennessee Poison Center

Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222