For Healthcare Providers

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The Blue Ridge Poison Center (BRPC) is part of the Division of Medical Toxicology at University of Virginia Health. We are staffed by clinical toxicologists and nurses who are Certified Specialists in Poison Information.  We provide expert, evidence-based advice for managing poisoned patients. We also collect data, perform research, educate the public, and train healthcare professionals. We offer a two-year Medical Toxicology Fellowship Program.

Nearly 20% of our hotline calls are from healthcare professionals. Studies show that patients managed with poison center consultation experience shorter hospitalizations and better outcomes. (The Lewin Group Inc., 2017)

What Other Information Can the BRPC Provide?

  • Drug interactions.
  • Ranges of toxicity.
  • Kinetics.
  • Effects of toxins on pregnancy.
  • Decontamination recommendations.
  • Guidance for antivenin or other expensive antidote administration.
  • Pill identification.
  • Identification of chemicals that may be hazardous to first responders and providers.
  • Toxidrome identification.
  • Advice during public health events or concerns (i.e., water supply contamination, recalls, bioterrorism attacks, etc.)
  • Emerging substances of abuse expertise.
  • Poison Centers are able to assist in determining medical clearance of psychiatric patients as defined by law.

Why Does the BRPC Call for Information About My Patients?

A medical record is created for every call. If a caller is admitted or referred to a healthcare facility, our professionals follow that patient through their transport, emergency dept. visit, and/or hospitalization to collect updates in the patient’s history, lab values, or condition; offer any new  treatment recommendations; and document outcomes. We will follow the patient until discharged or until  the case is closed. All information is kept confidential.

What Does HIPAA Say About Poison Centers?

Poison centers fall under “covered entities” in the HIPAA Privacy Rule regulations. (45 CFR 164.501, 506(c)). Calls and patient information are kept confidential, and poison centers are held to the same HIPAA requirements  by which other health care providers abide.

For more information:

Heather Collier, Administrative Assistant
Division of Medical Toxicology,
University of Virginia
434-924-5185 or hlc8e@virginia.edu

Healthcare providers–please consider requesting bulk materials, flyers, or our quarterly public education newsletter to distribute to your patients. Free.