- Covers 20-plus tests in its newborn screening program
- Has few uninsured kids, with more than 95% receiving coverage
- Offers an innovative statewide training program for the caregivers of infants and toddlers at childcare centers and has close to 1,500 licensed centers for the state's high percentage of working parents
Poison-control centers handle nearly 140,000 cases of infant poisoning each year. Iowa is one of only five states that require their centers to be certified by an independent agency in order to receive state funding. Among the criteria for certification: being open 24 hours and maintaining a staff of healthcare professionals who have additional training in poison emergencies and toxicology. Linda Kalin, managing director of the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center in Sioux City, says the center not only meets but exceeds the certification standards: "For instance, our center's staff averages a little over 17 years of critical-care nursing experience. Most other states hire registered nurses, but they don't typically have as much experience."
The high-quality personnel pays off. Nine out of 10 calls relating to Iowa children under 5 were safely managed at home in 2002, reports Klein. The national average: 80%. "We want to keep children out of the hospital whenever we can," she says. "Not only does it cut down on healthcare costs, but it's far less traumatic for little ones and their parents."