PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Tens of thousands of citizens a year contact the Poison Control Center hotline for help but the Center is facing a loss of federal and state funding which could put its future in jeopardy.

Locally, the Poison Control Center is based at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia which serves southeastern Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley, and Delaware.

Clinical Program Director Allison Muller says, with the funding issues, all they can do now is wait.

“We don’t know when we will hear for sure. The state budget is supposed to be finalized by July 1st but sometimes there are extensions. I don’t have a good sense of the timing of the Federal.”

Muller says the Center receives about 80,000 calls a year.

“As a parent myself, I can’t even imagine not having a free 24/7 number to just call,” Muller said.

Muller adds that if they lose funding and are forced to close citizens will only have two options; calling their family physician or going to the closest ER.

She points out that her staff received special toxicology and poison training and often receive calls from medical professionals for their expertise. She also says losing free calls to poison control means clogging up of already crowded emergency rooms.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio

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