Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Red Cross to Collect Blood, Too Competition Irks Local Alliance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Red Cross to Collect Blood, Too Competition Irks Local Alliance

Article excerpt

The American Red Cross' Northeast Florida Chapter confirmed yesterday it will begin collecting blood early next year.

The decision has not pleased the Florida Georgia Blood Alliance, this area's sole provider of blood products.

Both organizations agree the increasing need for blood calls for an increasing commitment to collect and distribute it to the community. But to the Red Cross, that means the community of the United States. The blood alliance keeps all blood donations in this area.

"What we're concerned about is that those people who don't know about us would go with the Red Cross and have their blood shipped out of here," said Dale Malloy, president of the blood alliance. "I do have concerns. This is not going to help local residents."

A Red Cross executive had a different view.

"We look at our community, if you will, to be from coast to coast, 50 states large," said Skip Cramer, chief executive officer of the local Red Cross chapter.

The Florida Georgia Blood Alliance currently supplies whole blood and blood products to 22 hospitals in seven Jacksonville area counties. Those who donate their blood to the alliance know it stays to help the people in their own area unless, all needs being met here, a call for blood is put out elsewhere and it is shared, according to Pam Wilson, marketing and public relations coordinator for the Blood Alliance.

The American Red Cross, conversely, supplies nearly half the nation's blood -- the nation as a whole.

So far, the Red Cross has not had a strong blood collection presence in Florida because of the expense of transporting it to the nearest Red Cross laboratory in Atlanta.

The Red Cross chapter in Daytona Beach is the nearest to Jacksonville and one of the only chapters in the state to collect blood. But with more blood to send from Jacksonville and other chapters starting blood collection sites, it will be more worthwhile.

The American Red Cross Blood Services will reimburse the Jacksonville chapter for the impact of the new operation on the chapter. …

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