Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 632 (rs) To provide assistance for poison prevention and to stabilize the funding of regional poison control centers. [Reported in Senate] ...

S. 632 (rs) To provide assistance for poison prevention and to stabilize the funding of regional poison control centers. [Reported in Senate] ...

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  1st Session
                                  S. 632



                           September 8, 1999

                 Referred to the Committee on Commerce


                                 AN ACT

   To provide assistance for poison prevention and to stabilize the 
              funding of regional poison control centers.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Poison Control Center Enhancement 
and Awareness Act''.


    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Each year more than 2,000,000 poisonings are reported 
        to poison control centers throughout the United States. More 
        than 90 percent of these poisonings happen in the home. 53 
        percent of poisoning victims are children younger than 6 years 
        of age.
            (2) Poison control centers are a valuable national resource 
        that provide life-saving and cost-effective public health 
        services. For every dollar spent on poison control centers, $7 
        in medical costs are saved. The average cost of a poisoning 
        exposure call is $32, while the average cost if other parts of 
        the medical system are involved is $932. Over the last 2 
        decades, the instability and lack of funding has resulted in a 
        steady decline in the number of poison control centers in the 
        United States. Within just the last year, 2 poison control 
        centers have been forced to close because of funding problems. 
        A third poison control center is scheduled to close in April 
        1999. Currently, there are 73 such centers.
            (3) Stabilizing the funding structure and increasing 
        accessibility to poison control centers will increase the 
        number of United States residents who have access to a 
        certified poison control center, and reduce the inappropriate 
        use of emergency medical services and other more costly health 
        care services.


    In this Act, the term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of Health 
and Human Services.


    (a) In General.--The Secretary shall provide coordination and 
assistance to regional poison control centers for the establishment of 
a nationwide toll-free phone number to be used to access such centers.
    (b) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
construed as prohibiting the establishment or continued operation of 
any privately funded nationwide toll-free phone number used to provide 
advice and other assistance for poisonings or accidental exposures.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section, $2,000,000 for each of the 
fiscal years 2000 through 2004. Funds appropriated under this 
subsection shall not be used to fund any toll-free phone number 
described in subsection (b).


    (a) In General.--The Secretary shall establish a national media 
campaign to educate the public and health care providers about poison 
prevention and the availability of poison control resources in local 
communities and to conduct advertising campaigns concerning the 
nationwide toll-free number established under section 4.
    (b) Contract With Entity.--The Secretary may carry out subsection 
(a) by entering into contracts with 1 or more nationally recognized 
media firms for the development and distribution of monthly television, 
radio, and newspaper public service announcements.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section, $600,000 for each of the fiscal 
years 2000 through 2004.


    (a) Regional Poison Control Centers.--The Secretary shall award 
grants to certified regional poison control centers for the purposes of 
achieving the financial stability of such centers, and for preventing 
and providing treatment recommendations for poisonings.
    (b) Other Improvements.--The Secretary shall also use amounts 
received under this section to--
            (1) develop standard education programs;
            (2) develop standard patient management protocols for 
        commonly encountered toxic exposures;
            (3) improve and expand the poison control data collection 
            (4) improve national toxic exposure surveillance; and
            (5) expand the physician/medical toxicologist supervision 
        of poison control centers.
    (c) Certification.--Except as provided in subsection (d), the 
Secretary may make a grant to a center under subsection (a) only if--
            (1) the center has been certified by a professional 
        organization in the field of poison control, and the Secretary 
        has approved the organization as having in effect standards for 
        certification that reasonably provide for the protection of the 
        public health with respect to poisoning; or
            (2) the center has been certified by a State government, 
        and the Secretary has approved the State government as having 
        in effect standards for certification that reasonably provide 
        for the protection of the public health with respect to 
    (d) Waiver of Certification Requirements.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary may grant a waiver of the 
        certification requirement of subsection (c) with respect to a 
        noncertified poison control center or a newly established 
        center that applies for a grant under this section if such 
        center can reasonably demonstrate that the center will obtain 
        such a certification within a reasonable period of time as 
        determined appropriate by the Secretary.
            (2) Renewal.--The Secretary may only renew a waiver under 
        paragraph (1) for a period of 3 years.
    (e) Supplement Not Supplant.--Amounts made available to a poison 
control center under this section shall be used to supplement and not 
supplant other Federal, State, or local funds provided for such center.
    (f) Maintenance of Effort.--A poison control center, in utilizing 
the proceeds of a grant under this section, shall maintain the 
expenditures of the center for activities of the center at a level that 
is not less than the level of such expenditures maintained by the 
center for the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the 
grant is received.
    (g) Matching Requirement.--The Secretary may impose a matching 
requirement with respect to amounts provided under a grant under this 
section if the Secretary determines appropriate.
    (h) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section, $25,000,000 for each of the 
fiscal years 2000 through 2004.

            Passed the Senate August 5, 1999.


                                                    GARY SISCO,


Pages: 1

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