If Zika virus comes to the United States, will the US blood supply be at risk?
Because the disease has demonstrated that it can pass via blood from mother to fetus, and via other bodily fluids between sexual partners, the question lurks in the back of most discussions of Zika’s likely arrival on the US mainland. And because there is not now a test for donated blood, keeping the virus out of the blood supply relies on people adhering to restrictions published by the Food and Drug Administration that ask travelers to defer donating for a period of time—an imprecise deterrent, but currently as good as it gets. Read more
March 7, 2016
The American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, and America’s Blood Centers, issued the following joint statement regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announcement of blood product shipments to Puerto Rico in response to the Zika virus outbreak on the island:
“Through the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, and America’s Blood Centers are providing additional shipments of blood products from the continental United States to Puerto Rico to ensure the safety and availability of the blood supply for the island during an outbreak of Zika virus. On the mainland, there is currently no local transmission of Zika from mosquitoes.
The Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, and America’s Blood Centers have adequate inventory to meet the needs in Puerto Rico as well as the needs of our hospital partners in the continental U.S. Blood is routinely provided where it’s needed most across the country.
Within the coming week, the Red Cross and members of Blood Centers of America and America’s Blood Centers will have completed implementation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidance to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmission of Zika virus. This guidance is in addition to previously applied recommendations of AABB, which asked blood donors who have traveled to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America to refrain from donating, or postpone their blood or platelet donations until four weeks after their return to the continental U.S. We also ask that if a donor does donate and subsequently develops symptoms consistent with Zika virus infection within two weeks of that donation, that he or she immediately notify that blood center so that we can quarantine the product.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and that need can only be met through the generosity of volunteer donors. Eligible individuals are always encouraged to give blood or platelets. Visit redcrossblood.org or americasblood.org to make an appointment to donate.”
For Greenville’s Shriners Hospitals for Children
Piedmont, SC (March 7, 2016) – The Blood Connection and Shriners Hospitals for Children—Greenville have announced a new service partnership. Before a patient receives a life-saving blood transfusion, a routine series of laboratory tests determine patient and donor compatibility. Previously, Greenville Shriners Hospital, like many hospitals, performed these tests on-site and used TBC’s Immunohematology Reference Laboratory for research as needed to resolve incompatibilities. Now, all transfusion services for the hospital will be performed by TBC’s Reference Laboratory.
“Last summer, we began working with TBC on a plan to support the hospital’s transfusion needs,” said Administrator Randy Romberger. “TBC has long been our supplier of blood products and we realized it made sense to access the vast testing and reference resources offered through its Biologics Processing Center. Combining these services will give us new efficiencies that support and enhance our high standard of patient care.”
Each time a patient needs a blood transfusion, a series of standard tests decreases the risk of a transfusion reaction. Blood typing is the first step and this determines whether a patient has A, AB, B or O-type blood. This is followed by another test that determines a patient’s Rh type, either negative or positive, so that a compatible donation from a blood donor can be selected. Cross matching is the final step, where a sample of a donor’s blood is combined with a patient’s blood and observed for compatibility.
“TBC has always served as the supplier for blood products at Shriners Hospitals for Children, but compatibility testing was performed by hospital staff,” said TBC President and CEO Delisa English. “This is the first time TBC has partnered with a hospital to provide all of these transfusion services and it’s a natural progression of services. We’re pleased to be able to provide this biomedical solution.”
About The Blood Connection
Founded in 1979 in Greenville, SC, The Blood Connection (TBC) is the largest independently managed, non-profit community blood center in the region. It recruits donors and collects blood within an 8,390 square mile area of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. In South Carolina, TBC supports Greenville, Spartanburg, Union, Pickens, Oconee, Greenwood, McCormick, Laurens, and Newberry Counties. In Georgia, TBC supports Stephens County. In 2011, The Blood Connection expanded into Western North Carolina and now serves Polk, Buncombe, Transylvania, McDowell, Macon and Henderson Counties.
Licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, TBC collects blood from donors through bloodmobiles, portable field units, and fixed donation sites. It holds approximately twelve blood drives every day and collects over 120,000 units of blood, platelets and plasma each year to connect volunteer blood donors, hospitals, and patients needing life-saving transfusions. For more information, visit thebloodconnection.org.
About Shriners Hospitals for Children—Greenville
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Greenville provides specialty orthopedic care and services, regardless of ability to pay. Children up to age 18 are eligible for care at Shriners Hospitals for Children if, in the opinion of our physicians, there is a reasonable possibility the child can benefit from the specialized services available. Acceptance is based solely on a child’s medical needs. For more information, visit www.GreenvilleShrinersHospital.org.
SEATTLE, WA – 3/8/2016 – Blood Bank Computer Systems, Inc. (BBCS) today announced a new partnership with Blood Centers of America (BCA). This partnership marks a major milestone in BCA’s standardization initiative. Blood centers that are BCA members now have the opportunity to select a common BECS and receive a group purchasing discount, ultimately reducing their software costs, improving information exchange, all while gaining access to the cutting-edge technology of ABO Suite™.
“BBCS and BCA share a passion for this industry and for those we serve. This partnership is an extension of our desire to strengthen the community blood centers by delivering a robust, industry-leading product – ABO Suite™. We are looking forward to building long term relationships with each member of BCA,” says Beth Simon, CEO of BBCS.
“Our members continuously explore ways to become more efficient. We have a significant number of members already using BBCS and many members that are in the process of evaluating moving to a new BECS system. BCA Members that decide to move to BBCS in the future will be rewarded for standardizing and this in turn will benefit the total number of members using BBCS. We appreciate the chance to work with BBCS in a strategic way as our members continue to evaluate their decisions in this important area,” says Bill Block, CEO of BCA.
For over 30 years, Blood Bank Computer Systems, Inc. (BBCS) has been a dedicated partner to the blood banking industry. BBCS has chosen to remain privately owned to ensure that we can focus on fulfilling our commitments to our clients, the communities that they serve, and the industry. By establishing an annual BBCS CEO Summit, hosting annual meetings with our User Group, and participating in industry conferences we have built rich partnerships with our clients, vendors, and industry organizations.
BCA is a member-owned organization comprised of nearly 50 independent blood centers geographically dispersed throughout the North America, representing over 30 percent of the U.S. blood supply. Along with their core business of providing a substantial portion of U.S. blood supply, BCA members provide a variety of other services including, patient blood management, transfusion services, immunohematology testing, therapeutic apheresis and tissue and cord blood banking. In addition, BCA members provide a variety of human blood products, cells and tissues to the therapeutic, diagnostic and cell therapy industries.
Ward Carter has held various roles at Abbott Laboratories
SAN ANTONIO – Health care industry veteran Edward (Ward) Carter has been named the new chief operating officer for QualTex Laboratories, effective immediately.
He will replace Dirk Johnson, who announced his departure late last year. Johnson will stay with QualTex through March to assist with the transition.
Carter was selected after a nationwide search, said Linda Myers, chief executive officer of BioBridge Global, parent organization of QualTex Laboratories.
“Ward has been intensively customer-focused throughout his career, building relationships with businesses from coast to coast,” Myers said. “He is closely aligned with our commitment to increasing our levels of customer service across the organization.”
Carter, a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, worked for more than 30 years in the diagnostics division at Abbott Laboratories. His most recent position was as director of strategic products, inventory manager at Abbott Diagnostics Division U.S. commercialization.
His roles at Abbott Laboratories included extensive work with QualTex Laboratories, in various roles. He started with Abbott in sales 1984, and in 2011 he received the company’s Chairman’s Award, the highest the company bestows on its employees.
“I am thrilled to be joining an organization like BioBridge Global and QualTex Labs,” Carter said. “We’re poised for significant growth throughout the enterprise, and especially in QualTex.”
QualTex Laboratories is one of the largest independent nonprofit testing centers in the United States, performing advanced testing services for blood, plasma and tissue donations, as well as reference testing and clinical research.
With laboratories in San Antonio and Norcross, Ga., QualTex tests millions of samples for clients around the world every year.
About QualTex Laboratories: QualTex Laboratories is a nonprofit affiliate of BioBridge Global that provides state-of-the-art biologic testing services on whole blood, plasma and human cells, tissue, and cellular- and tissue-based products (HCT/P) for its global biotechnology and biopharmaceutical customers. It’s one of the nation’s largest nonprofit testing laboratories and has locations in Texas and Georgia. Visit us at qualtexlabs.org.
About BioBridge Global: BioBridge Global (BBG) is a San Antonio, Texas-based nonprofit corporation that offers diverse services through its subsidiaries – the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories, GenCure and the Blood & Tissue Center Foundation. BBG provides products and services in blood resource management, cellular therapy, donated umbilical cord blood and human tissue as well as testing of blood, plasma and tissue products for clients in the United States and worldwide. BBG is rooted in the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, which has a proud history of serving the South Texas region and beyond for more than 40 years. BBG is committed to supporting groundbreaking research, addressing unmet clinical needs and enabling the development and commercialization of novel biotechnology products. Visit us at www.biobridgeglobal.org.
Shreveport, La. – LifeShare Blood Centers, headquartered in Shreveport, La., has named Chad A. Douglas as Chief Executive Officer.
Chad A. Douglas
Douglas most recently held the position of Executive Director of Blood Operations at LifeSource in Chicago, Ill., an affiliate of the Institute of Transfusion Medicine, where he was responsible for the collection of almost 500,000 components annually, recruitment, manufacturing, and distribution. With a focus on lean processing and strong teams, Douglas has a proven track record of increasing collections while improving operational efficiencies.
In addition to the knowledge he brings from serving in leadership positions in the blood banking industry for more than 15 years, Douglas holds a Masters of Health Administration from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla. and has served in the U.S. Air Force.
LifeShare Blood Centers regularly supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas. Founded in Shreveport, La. in 1942, where its headquarters remains, it is a nonprofit community service provider governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees. LifeShare is a member of America’s Blood Centers and the American Rare Donor Program, is licensed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and accredited by AABB.
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center launches Platelet Power campaign to address ongoing need
SAN ANTONIO – Every day of the year, people need the blood component known as platelets.
Platelets are vital in the treatment of traumatic injuries, since their main function is stopping leaks in the bloodstream. Cancer patients need them, since their bodies often cannot produce enough platelets, and so do people undergoing certain types of surgery.
The problem is that platelets have a very short shelf life, just five days. That means they’re always in high demand, which is with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) has launched a campaign to educate the public about platelets and encourage donations.
“Platelet Power” includes the release of a series of informational videos about platelets. The videos are in a playlist on the YouTube channel for BioBridge Global, the parent organization of the STBTC. Read more
Managing Supply Chain Costs: Medline Strikes New Group Purchasing Agreement with Blood Centers of America
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stacy Rubenstein, (847) 949-2286
Managing Supply Chain Costs: Medline Strikes New Group Purchasing Agreement with Blood Centers of America
55 member centers to benefit from negotiated pricing and cost savings on medical-surgical supplies
Mundelein, Ill., Dec. 30, 2015 – In a constant evolving industry, healthcare organizations look to manufacturers and distributors to assist them with efficiency. To help manage supply chain costs amongst its members, Blood Centers of America (BCA), the nation’s largest blood supply network that represents nearly 40 percent of the U.S. blood supply, has inked a group purchasing agreement with Medline, a global manufacturer of medical supplies and clinical solutions.
The three-year deal is expected to provide BCA’s 50-plus member centers nationwide with negotiated pricing and cost savings on a wide range of medical-surgical supplies. Products covered in the agreement include personal protective apparel, exam gloves and medical consumable products.
“Medline is committed to providing high quality supplies to ensure BCA’s member facilities are able to perform at their very best when providing such services as cell therapies, cord blood banking and blood management,” said Joe Waldron, vice president of national accounts, Medline. “As a leading manufacturer of medical-surgical supplies, we are dedicated toward utilizing our supply chain expertise to help enhance BCA’s supply chain efficiencies.”
Furthermore, Medline understands the importance of customers receiving products in a timely manner. With 40 distribution centers strategically located throughout the country, BCA’s member centers are able to receive their crucial supplies where and when they need them.
“BCA is very excited with our new distribution agreement with Medline, as it will complement our existing phlebotomy and donor screening kitting agreement launched earlier this year. Medline’s unique distribution capabilities in conjunction to their manufacturing portfolio offer a vast array of solutions which will enable our centers to achieve their clinical, operational and financial goals,” said Sam Keith, vice president, supply chain and national accounts, Blood Centers of America. “We fully expect our partnership will continue to evolve into much more than the traditional relationship of just shipping supplies to our centers. We are enthusiastic on the long term prospects of what these opportunities will offer our collective organizations in the future.”
The contract is effective through July 31, 2018.
Medline is a global manufacturer and distributor serving the healthcare industry with medical supplies and clinical solutions that help customers achieve both clinical and financial success. Headquartered in Mundelein, Ill., the company offers 350,000+ medical devices and support services through more than 1,200 direct sales representatives who are dedicated points of contact for customers across the continuum of care. For more information on Medline, go to www.medline.com or http://www.medline.com/social-media to connect with Medline on its social media channels.
BCA is a member-owned organization comprised of more than 50 independent blood centers geographically dispersed throughout the North America, representing nearly 40 percent of the U.S. blood supply. Along with their core business of providing a substantial portion of U.S. blood supply, BCA members provide a variety of other services including, patient blood management, transfusion services, immunohematology testing, therapeutic apheresis and tissue and cord blood banking. In addition, BCA members provide a variety of human blood products, cells and tissues to the therapeutic, diagnostic and cell therapy industries. Learn more at http://www.bca.coop/.
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San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB) is launching a program to enable community volunteers to participate in genomics research
In a first-of-its-kind pilot, the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB) is launching a program to enable community volunteers to participate in genomics research. The objective of the pilot program is to develop a model for population-scale research that is truly participant-centric and cultivates long-term participant engagement for maximum diversity and research potential with the ultimate goal of improving human health. The goal of the pilot program is also ultimately aligned with the goal of enabling volunteers to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), which was announced by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address. The PMI is intended “to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes – and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.”