Poison Center to Stay Open

Orange County's only poison control center--slated to close Friday--will remain open for another two weeks while officials negotiate a short-term funding plan with a consortium of private foundations.

The poison center is at UCI Medical Center in Orange and officials there had said they could no longer afford it. It costs $800,000 a year to run the poison center, and the medical center picks up most of the bill.

However, UCI officials on Friday agreed to keep the center up and running while several foundations study the problem. Mary Piccione, executive director of UCI Medical Center, declined to release the names of the foundations involved.

The state contributes $300,000 to the poison center each year, forcing UCI to come up with the remaining $500,000.

On Friday, state Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) formed a steering committee to study possible fund-raising efforts including use of a 900 number or a grass-roots plea to local PTAs.

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