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Illinois poison control center hotline in jeopardy

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MOLINE, IL (WQAD) — Hospitals in the Quad Cities and around Illinois are urging lawmakers to save the state’s poison hotline that has been around since 1953.

The Illinois Poison Control Center handles about 82,000 cases per year, staffed with poison experts to advise doctors and parents in emergency situations.

“It is critically important. Basically, it provides a version of a 9-1-1 service 24-7, 365 (days a year) for every Illinois resident,” said Dr. Wayne Gallops, the medical director of emergency services at Genesis Medical Center in Silvis. “We do rely on the Illinois Poison Center.”

Genesis Health System officials say they are hoping state lawmakers pass one of two bills to increase funding for the hotline. The center is looking at a projected $489,000 deficit for 2014.

Without additional state money, the center is expected to close July 1.

According to the Chicago Tribune, In 2013, the Illinois Poison Center received $3.7 million in funds. Two million came from the state and federal governments and about $1.5 million came from hospitals.

“We are deeply concerned we will all wake up July 1st and find ourselves without those services,” said Ken Croken with Genesis Health System.

Illinois was the first state in the country to have a poison hotline, and could be the only one without one.

By Chris Minor

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