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9-14-15 How many visits to the Emergency Department does Tennessee Poison Center prevent (and how much money does that save)?

Question of the Week

September 14, 2015

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 2015 and received treatment advice which enabled the caller to stay at home.   

The callers answered several questions including, “Would you have gone to the Emergency Department (ED) if TPC had not been available?”  51% of the callers who agreed to answer the survey would have gone to the ED if the poison center were not available. These callers were asked if they had health insurance.  32% of the callers that would go to the ED receive state medical assistance. (Of those who would not go to the ED, 53% would call their physician, 12 % would call 911)

In 2014, TPC managed 33,943 exposure cases at home (statewide).  According to our survey, 17,311 people (33,943 x 51%) would have visited the ED if a poison control center were not available. Approximately 5,540 (32%) of these cases either are enrolled in TennCare or do not have health insurance.

Hospitals throughout the state of Tennessee estimated ED charges for exposure cases that present to an ED but could have been managed at home by Tennessee Poison Center.

Based on the best estimate of ED charges, TPC saved the taxpayers of Tennessee $9,235,180 in ED fees for the underinsured.

And….

84% said they experienced excellent service

100% would call the Poison Center in the future

So, all this in addition to the Biochemical Surveillance and Education/Outreach.

Now, aren’t you glad Tennesseans have a Poison Center?

This question prepared by:  Donna Seger, MD  Medical Toxicologist