ties, which are administered by the MCHB in HRSA. This partnership has been in place for 5 years and has successfully developed and implemented performance criteria and data reporting mechanisms.


3. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the states should establish a Poison Prevention and Control System that integrates poison control centers with public health agencies, establishes performance measures, and holds all parties accountable for protecting the public. At the federal level, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should designate the lead agency for this purpose; at the state level, the governor of each state should formally designate the appropriate lead (e.g., injury prevention directors from the public health entity).

  1. The Secretary of DHHS should assure integration of the existing regional network of poison control centers with the public health system.

  2. The Secretary of DHHS should create a single national repository of legislation, model prevention and education programs, website designs, and best practices material. Technical assistance should be provided for website design, content, navigation, and maintenance, maximizing the individual centers’ identity and contributions. Materials should be evaluated for quality and impact on intended audiences. For maximum effectiveness, their content should reflect the range of cultures and languages in the United States.

  3. The governor should assure that relevant all-hazards emergency preparedness and response activities are integrated with the Poison Prevention and Control System.

4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working with HRSA and the states, should continue to build an effective infrastructure for all-hazards emergency preparedness, including bioterrorism and chemical terrorism. A specific activity of this effort is to evaluate, through an objective structured review, the use of TESS as a source of case detection to all-hazards surveillance.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Poison Control Center Organizational Structures

Early in its information gathering, the Committee decided that the existing data should be adequate to address the questions raised by HRSA about the organization and financing of the centers. Unfortunately, as the analysis progressed, we found that no data on service quality and outcomes had been systematically collected by the centers and that data on local variations in salaries and rent were not readily available. As a result,

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