POISON CENTER NETWORK ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 34
(House of Representatives - February 25, 2019)

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[Pages H2052-H2053]
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             POISON CENTER NETWORK ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2019

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 501) to amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and 
enhance the poison center national toll-free number, national media 
campaign, and grant program, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 501

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Poison Center Network 
     Enhancement Act of 2019''.

     SEC. 2. REAUTHORIZATION OF POISON CONTROL CENTERS NATIONAL 
                   TOLL-FREE NUMBER.

       Section 1271 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 
     300d-71) is amended to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 1271. ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF THE NATIONAL 
                   TOLL-FREE NUMBER AND ENHANCED COMMUNICATIONS 
                   CAPABILITIES.

       ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall provide coordination 
     and assistance to poison control centers for--
       ``(1) the development, establishment, implementation, and 
     maintenance of a nationwide toll-free phone number; and
       ``(2) the enhancement of communications capabilities, which 
     may include text capabilities.
       ``(b) Consultation.--The Secretary may consult with 
     nationally recognized professional organizations in the field 
     of poison control to determine the best and most effective 
     means of achieving the goals described in paragraphs (1) and 
     (2) of subsection (a).
       ``(c) Rule of Construction.--In assisting with public 
     health emergencies, responses, or preparedness, nothing in 
     this section shall be construed to restrict the work of 
     poison control centers or the use of their resources by the 
     Secretary or other governmental agencies.
       ``(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
     to be appropriated to carry out this section $700,000 for 
     each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024.''.

     SEC. 3. REAUTHORIZATION OF NATIONWIDE PUBLIC AWARENESS 
                   CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE POISON CONTROL CENTER 
                   UTILIZATION.

       Section 1272 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 
     300d-72) is amended to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 1272. NATIONWIDE PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE 
                   POISON CONTROL CENTER UTILIZATION AND THEIR 
                   PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY RESPONSE CAPABILITIES.

       ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall--
       ``(1) carry out, and expand upon, a national public 
     awareness campaign to educate the public and health care 
     providers about--
       ``(A) poisoning, toxic exposure, and drug misuse 
     prevention; and
       ``(B) the availability of poison control center resources 
     in local communities; and
       ``(2) as part of such campaign, highlight the nationwide 
     toll-free number and enhanced communications capabilities 
     supported under section 1271.
       ``(b) Consultation.--In carrying out and expanding upon the 
     national campaign under subsection (a), the Secretary may 
     consult with nationally recognized professional organizations 
     in the field of poison control response for the purpose of 
     determining the best and most effective methods for achieving 
     public awareness.
       ``(c) Contract With Entity.--The Secretary may carry out 
     subsection (a) by entering into contracts with one or more 
     public or private entities, including nationally recognized 
     professional organizations in the field of poison control and 
     national media firms, for the development and implementation 
     of the awareness campaign under subsection (a), which may 
     include--
       ``(1) the development and distribution of poisoning and 
     toxic exposure prevention, poison control center, and public 
     health emergency awareness and response materials;
       ``(2) television, radio, internet, and newspaper public 
     service announcements; and
       ``(3) other means and activities to provide for public and 
     professional awareness and education.
       ``(d) Evaluation.--The Secretary shall--
       ``(1) establish baseline measures and benchmarks to 
     quantitatively evaluate the impact of the nationwide public 
     awareness campaign carried out under this section; and
       ``(2) on a biennial basis, prepare and submit to the 
     appropriate committees of Congress an evaluation of the 
     nationwide public awareness campaign.
       ``(e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
     to be appropriated to carry out this section, $800,000 for 
     each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024.''.

     SEC. 4. REAUTHORIZATION OF THE POISON CONTROL CENTER GRANT 
                   PROGRAM.

       Section 1273 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 
     300d-73) is amended to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 1273. MAINTENANCE OF THE POISON CONTROL CENTER GRANT 
                   PROGRAM.

       ``(a) Authorization of Program.--The Secretary shall award 
     grants to poison control centers accredited under subsection 
     (c) (or granted a waiver under subsection (d)) and nationally 
     recognized professional organizations in the field of poison 
     control for the purposes of--
       ``(1) preventing, and providing treatment recommendations 
     for, poisonings and toxic exposures including opioid and drug 
     misuse;
       ``(2) assisting with public health emergencies, responses, 
     and preparedness; and
       ``(3) complying with the operational requirements needed to 
     sustain the accreditation of the center under subsection (c).
       ``(b) Additional Uses of Funds.--In addition to the 
     purposes described in subsection (a), a poison center or 
     professional organization awarded a grant under such 
     subsection may also use amounts received under such grant--
       ``(1) to research, establish, implement, and evaluate best 
     practices in the United States for poisoning prevention, 
     poison control center outreach, opioid and drug misuse 
     information and response, and public health emergency, 
     response, and preparedness programs;
       ``(2) to research, develop, implement, revise, and 
     communicate standard patient management guidelines for 
     commonly encountered toxic exposures;
       ``(3) to improve national toxic exposure and opioid misuse 
     surveillance by enhancing cooperative activities between 
     poison control centers in the United States and the Centers 
     for Disease Control and Prevention and other governmental 
     agencies;
       ``(4) to research, improve, and enhance the communications 
     and response capability and capacity of the Nation's network 
     of poison control centers to facilitate increased access to 
     the centers through the integration and modernization of the 
     current poison control centers communications and data 
     system, including enhancing the network's telephony, 
     internet, data, and social networking technologies;
       ``(5) to develop, support, and enhance technology and 
     capabilities of nationally recognized professional 
     organizations in the field of poison control to collect 
     national poisoning, toxic occurrence, and related public 
     health data;
       ``(6) to develop initiatives to foster the enhanced public 
     health utilization of national poison data collected by such 
     organizations;
       ``(7) to support and expand the toxicologic expertise 
     within poison control centers; and
       ``(8) to improve the capacity of poison control centers to 
     answer high volumes of contacts and internet communications, 
     and to sustain and enhance the poison control center's 
     network capability to respond during times of national crisis 
     or other public health emergencies.
       ``(c) Accreditation.--Except as provided in subsection (d), 
     the Secretary may award a grant to a poison control center 
     under subsection (a) only if--
       ``(1) the center has been accredited by a nationally 
     recognized professional organization in the field of poison 
     control, and the Secretary has approved the organization as 
     having in effect standards for accreditation that reasonably 
     provide for the protection of the public health with respect 
     to poisoning; or
       ``(2) the center has been accredited by a State government, 
     and the Secretary has approved the State government as having 
     in effect standards for accreditation that reasonably provide 
     for the protection of the public health with respect to 
     poisoning.
       ``(d) Waiver of Accreditation Requirements.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary may grant a waiver of the 
     accreditation requirements of subsection (c) with respect to 
     a nonaccredited poison control center that applies for a 
     grant under this section if such center can reasonably 
     demonstrate that the center will obtain such an accreditation 
     within a reasonable period of time as determined appropriate 
     by the Secretary.
       ``(2) Renewal.--The Secretary may renew a waiver under 
     paragraph (1).
       ``(3) Limitation.--The Secretary may not, after the date of 
     enactment of the Poison

[[Page H2053]]

     Control Network Enhancement Act of 2019, grant to a poison 
     control center waivers or renewals that total more than 5 
     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 annual recurring expenditures of the center for 
     its activities at a level that is not less than 80 percent of 
     the average level of such recurring expenditures maintained 
     by the center for the preceding 3 fiscal years for which a 
     grant is received.
       ``(g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
     to be appropriated to carry out this section, $28,600,000 for 
     each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024. The Secretary may 
     utilize an amount not to exceed 6 percent of the amount 
     appropriated pursuant to the preceding sentence for each 
     fiscal year for coordination, dissemination, technical 
     assistance, program evaluation, data activities, and other 
     program administration functions, which are determined by the 
     Secretary to be appropriate for carrying out the program 
     under this section.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Engel) and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Latta) each will 
control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.


                             General Leave

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on H.R. 501.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 501, the Poison Center 
Network Enhancement Act.
  This bill, which I have coauthored with the gentlewoman from Indiana, 
Congresswoman Susan Brooks, reauthorizes for an additional 5 years the 
national network of poison control centers, known as PCCs, which play a 
critical role in the fight to end the opioid crisis.
  Our country's 55 poison centers are staffed by trained toxicologists, 
pharmacists, physicians, and nurses who are available 24 hours a day, 7 
days a week, 365 days a year to provide real-time lifesaving assistance 
via a national toll-free number, which is 1-800-222-1222. Some 330 
million people are served by these critical centers, while handling 2.6 
million cases.
  In 2017, someone called a poison center roughly every 12 seconds in 
our country. More than 90 percent of those calls were due to poison 
exposure in someone's home, and more than half of all cases involved 
children under the age of 12. That is why speedy access to poison 
centers is such an invaluable resource, especially for parents.
  Poison centers also save hundreds of millions in Federal dollars by 
helping to avoid the unnecessary use of medical services and shortening 
the length of time a person spends in the hospital, if hospitalization 
due to poisoning is necessary.
  It is clear that these centers are a smart public health investment, 
but they are also an integral part of our response to the opioid 
epidemic.
  Since 2011, poison centers handled nearly 200 cases per day involving 
opioid misuse. Data from poison centers helped to detect trends in the 
epidemic, and experts helped educate Americans about the crisis in ways 
that could potentially save the lives of their loved ones.
  The Upstate New York Poison Center, for instance, used the New York 
State Fair to educate New Yorkers about proper use of naloxone, the 
overdose reversal drug. This bill would make sure that activities like 
this can continue.
  Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of coauthoring the last poison 
center reauthorization signed into law in 2014, and I am pleased to 
have worked on this important bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Congresswoman Brooks for partnering with me on 
this legislation, as well as Congresswoman DeGette and Congresswoman 
Herrera Beutler for being original cosponsors. Let me also thank 
Chairman Pallone and Ranking Member Walden for their assistance in 
bringing this bill to the floor today.
  As I mentioned earlier, in Westchester County, New York, much of 
which I represent, 124 people died due to opioids in 2016. In the 
Bronx, part of which I also represent, more New Yorkers died of 
overdoses than in any other borough in New York City.
  We must do more to end this epidemic, and I am pleased to see this 
legislation moving forward as part of that effort.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to support this bill, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATTA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong support of H.R. 501, 
the Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2019, introduced by 
Representatives Brooks and Engel.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my Committee on Energy and Commerce colleagues 
for their bipartisan work on this important initiative.
  This legislation will reauthorize the national toll-free number, 
public awareness campaign, and grant program that supports the Nation's 
55 poison centers.
  These centers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide 
free and confidential assistance with emergencies and other information 
to help prevent poisoning. As of January 2019, poison control centers 
have managed over 4,000 opioid exposure cases alone.
  At a time when our Nation is still fighting to overcome an opioid 
crisis, these centers are on the front lines, helping to save 
individuals who overdose. Furthermore, these centers collect real-time 
data, enhancing public health surveillance and aiding in the detection 
of public health emergencies.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of this bill, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 501, the Poison 
Center Network Enhancement Act.
  This important bill, introduced by Reps. Eliot Engel, Susan Brooks, 
Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Diana DeGette, reauthorizes the national 
network of Poison Control Centers.
  The nation's network of poison control centers offers free, 
confidential, and expert medical advice and often serves as the primary 
resource for poisoning information. These centers help reduce Emergency 
Room visits through in-home treatment and their lifesaving assistance 
helps prevent unnecessary poisoning deaths and injuries.
  Poison control centers are also essential to combating the opioid 
crisis because not only are these centers often the first resource 
people seek after an opioid overdose occurs, but they also collect real 
time data to alert impacted communities about opioid abuse and misuse.
  Last Congress, Rep. Brooks led similar legislation, which passed this 
House by voice vote and was then included in the House-passed version 
of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, our broad legislative 
package to combat the opioid crisis. Unfortunately, after negotiations 
with the Senate, this language was not included in the final package 
that was signed into law.
  Therefore, I'd like to commend Rep. Engel and Rep. Brooks for their 
continued leadership on this bipartisan legislation in helping to bring 
this bill to the floor today, and I urge passage.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 501.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________