New York State Poison Control Network - Annual Report on 2001 Data



Support for the Cost of Services

New York State has supported the Poison Control Network first through reimbursement add-ons for poison center host institutions (usually a hospital) through the NYPHRM legislation. An emergency room rate add-on was determined based on the cost of poison center services as reported by the host institution in their annual Institutional Cost Report. When the NYPHRM legislation expired, the state continued support of poison center services in the Health Care Reform Acts of 1996 and 2000 (HCRA). In addition to continuing the add-ons for the Medicaid emergency room rates, HCRA authorized grants to the poison control centers to assist them with meeting operating costs that may not be funded by other payers subsequent to the expiration of NYPHRM which regulated rate setting for all payers. The grant funding compensates for each center's allocable share of projected revenue lost plus the poison control center's cost allocable to the Medicare program. The methodology under HCRA provided for up to $5 million in 1997 and up to $3 million in 1998 and 1999. An additional $2 million was authorized for poison centers in 1998 and 1999 from the Commissioner's Priority Distribution Pool monies to bring the 1998 and 1999 funding up to the 1997 level. In 1999, the Governor signed new HCRA legislation which provides funding at $5 million for each year: 2000, 2001 and 2002. The legislation authorizes $2.5 million for the first six month period of 2003. In the year 2000, disbursement of funds was as follows:

  Bellevue Hospital Center Children's Hospital of Buffalo Phelps Memorial Hospital Center Strong Memorial Hospital University Hospital/ SUNY Health Science Center Winthrop University Hospital Total
2001 $689,100 $435,615 $1,199,232 $809,661 $521,453 $1,245,840 $4,900,901
Medicaid $455,613 $87,374 $100,887 $152,904 $191,701 $93,322 $1,081,801
Total $1,144,713 $522,989 $1,300,119 $966,000 $713,154 $1,339,162 $5,982,702

Cost Savings

Poison control centers have long proven their value in saving money by reducing the burden on 911 systems, emergency transport services and avoiding unnecessary visits to the emergency department.

The Network previously conducted a cost study survey with callers from the general public and health care professionals. When asked what they would do without the services of a poison control center, 40% of the general public stated they would go to a hospital, 44% to a physician's office, and the remaining 16% would call a friend, pharmacist or do nothing. These patients were insured 82% of the time by private insurance or HMOs, and 12% by public insurance programs. The patients who would do nothing if the poison control center did not exist represent a possible increase in morbidity and mortality among inadequately treated poisoning victims. It was also noted that 90% of patients already in the emergency department for treatment of a poisoning, did not consult the poison center before coming to the hospital.

In 2001, the New York Centers handled 114,948 human exposure calls. Approximately seventy percent (70%) or 80,076 of those calls were managed without health care facility, 911, or emergency services intervention.

Statistical Information

Statistical information is provided in graphic form in Appendix Two. The two major categories of calls are human exposure and information calls. Data for these two categories are broken down into more specific analysis.

Summary of 2001 Statistics

In 2001, the Network received a total of 167,230 calls for assistance. Sixty-nine percent (69% or 114,948) of these calls involved human poisoning, 4,630 calls involved animal poisonings, and 47,439 represented a wide range of information calls.

The remaining charts provide information specific to the calls received involving human exposure. Children five years of age or younger were involved in forty-three percent (43%) of poisonings. Unintentional poisonings remained the predominant number of exposures at eighty-two percent (82% or 94,422). The majority of exposures (69%) were managed on-site, without need for additional health care intervention. Data collected for 2001 on the site-of-exposure indicates that eighty-seven percent (87% or 99,402) of the exposures occurred in the home.

An analysis of the most common substances involved in human exposures and in pediatric human exposures is contained in Appendix Three.