February 25, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 34 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
POISON CENTER NETWORK ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 34
(House of Representatives - February 25, 2019)
Text available as:
Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.
[Pages H2052-H2053] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] 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. ____________________