(Bangor, ME)-- Eastern Maine Medical Center has made the decision to sign a contract with Puget Sound Blood Center for the purchase of blood and blood products. The decision was made after conversations with several blood suppliers, lengthy deliberations, and glowing recommendations of Puget Sound from other hospitals, some in New England. As a result, EMMC will discontinue its contractual relationship with American Red Cross Blood Services.
“Our decision was based on three key factors,” says Dr. Irwin Gross, medical director of EMMC’s Patient Blood Management Program. “From a clinical perspective, Puget Sound has committed to providing us with blood products closer to the time they were donated. Studies suggest that transfused blood that is aging presents incremental risks for patients, so it is in the patients’ best interests that our supply be as fresh as possible.”
In addition, the annual cost for blood at EMMC will be reduced by a significant amount. “We are very pleased that Puget Sound Blood Center is able to provide for our needs at a substantially lower cost while still meeting our need for fresh blood products. Finally, Puget Sound Blood Center serves as both blood center and transfusion service for many hospitals in the greater Seattle region. As a result, they work closely with transfusing physicians and patients, are aware of the clinical need to avoid unnecessary transfusions and are aligned with Eastern Maine Medical Center’s clinical strategy of patient blood management,” continues Dr. Gross. “EMMC has a very active and effective Patient Blood Management Program that has significantly reduced the number of blood transfusions we do at EMMC. This, too, has incremental benefit for our patients. While blood transfusions are essential, and even life-saving in some circumstances, if transfusions can be avoided, it is better for the patient, and we are having great success in reducing transfusion rates at EMMC.” Puget Sound’s medical director and physician staff will be partners in putting the focus on the patient, rather than the blood product.”
This new relationship allows the blood banks at all EMHS member hospitals to take advantage of the improvements this contract represents, one more way to offer consistently higher quality care.
“We understand that our decision has implications on hospitals across the region,” Deborah Carey Johnson, RN, EMMC president and CEO, communicated with the CEOs of the region’s other hospitals in an email. “We will continue to operate the Red Cross Overstock Depot at EMMC, until the Red Cross puts an alternative plan into place. I want to assure you that EMMC will also continue to offer reference laboratory services, and phone consultations on blood related issues, and, of course, we will do whatever is needed by a patient in an emergency, without question.”
EMMC will continue to support Red Cross Blood Services by holding local blood drives here at EMMC, with those donations going to the Red Cross Blood Distribution Center in Dedham, Massachusetts, for distribution throughout New England as it always has. The medical center will also plan to contract for a supplemental blood supply with Red Cross Blood Services and other blood centers in case of emergency need. EMMC will also continue to support other functions of the American Red Cross in our community.