Omaha’s getting a big new regional poison center that will benefit thousands of people in western Iowa. When the Children’s Hospital there said it would drop the service and turn calls over to an out-of-state service, a coalition of caregivers and public-health officials instead found a quarter-million dollars in hospital development and homeland security funds to establish a bigger, regional center in Omaha. Poison Control Center director Steven Seifert says it’s a better choice to keep the center and grow it. He says regional centers serve their regions best and it’ll be combined with the University Medical Center to provide public outreach to families and give training to medical students and other health professionals. Seifert says the center will also work with government on preparedness for potential nuclear, biological or chemical events. University of nebraska Med Center Dean James Armitrage says in director Steven Seifert, the region has an asset to health and homeland security. The location of the Omaha regional poison-control center hasn’t been chosen yet, but operators say it takes many calls not only from Council Bluffs but also from residents in smaller southwestern Iowa communities.
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