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Philadelphia’s Poison Control Center Faces Severe Budget Cuts

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It’s a 24/7 hotline that’s been around for 25 years.

When time is ticking during an emergency, registered nurses and pharmacists from Children’s Hospital’s Poison Control Center are there.

“I don’t know what I would do without them,” said parent and CHOP employee Megan Morris.

Morris is on call for the Human Resource department at CHOP during the day. When she goes home, she often finds herself calling the center.

“I have a 2-year-old, so I call once a month,” said Morris.

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The center serves people in southeastern Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley and Delaware.

They answer about 80,000 calls a year, according to officials who work there.

Federal and state funding make up 62 percent of its budget, but with a proposed 93 percent drop in aid from the federal government and 100 percent dip in funds from the state, the center’s Medical Director Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, is worried.

“If our budget is cut, we will have to see what we can do, but we won’t be able to provide the quality care our patients are used to,” said Dr. Osterhoudt.

Reported by Jericka Duncan, CBS 3