Medical advances result in a major decline in need for donated blood Community Hospital use down 47 percent in six years, prompting closure of Blood Center in October
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MONTEREY, Calif. — Advances in medical science and patient blood management have dramatically decreased the need for blood at hospitals nationwide, including Community Hospital, which has reduced its usage by 47 percent since 2009.
The reduced use is good news for patients, in terms of both safety and reduced costs, but it also means it has become more expensive for Community Hospital to operate its own Blood Center than to obtain blood and blood products from someone else, as most hospitals do. After careful consideration, we have decided to close the Blood Center on October 16. Community Hospital will begin working with United Blood Services (UBS), a nonprofit organization and one of the nation’s oldest and largest suppliers.
“The Blood Center has been an important link between the community and our hospital over the years and we are grateful to everyone who has played a role in ensuring a safe and steady blood supply,” says Cynthia L. Peck, Community Hospital vice president. “With the change in needs and demands, we are confident UBS will continue to provide a safe blood supply, at a lower cost. UBS is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has an extensive quality control program and sophisticated tests to screen volunteer blood donations, and is already used and trusted by other local hospitals.”
Community Hospital’s Blood Center is one of only a handful of hospital-based blood centers remaining in Northern California due to the declining need for blood and consolidation in the blood supply field.
When Community Hospital’s Blood Center was established in 1972, demand for blood was soaring. In the past few years, the reduction in use has been dramatic; Community Hospital’s usage has dropped by nearly half since the peak in 2009 of nearly 7,000 pints transfused.
Over the past decade, new research has shown that patients actually experience better outcomes when blood transfusions are given in a much more limited set of clinical circumstances than was previously thought. As a result, guidelines for transfusion have been evolving under this growing body of clinical evidence and many hospitals, including Community Hospital, have implemented more sophisticated blood management programs. In addition to the use of less-invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques, which have been increasing for many years, the more recent advances have included ways to collect blood lost during surgery and return it to the patient, using medications to reduce bleeding during surgery, and the narrowing of the range of laboratory test results in which transfusions are appropriate.
During this period of change, the Blood Center team has worked very hard to make operations as cost-effective as possible, Peck says. The closure will result in elimination of the 10 current positions at the Blood Center: four registered nurses, three clinical laboratory scientists, two laboratory technicians, and one administrative assistant. Each affected employee will have preferential rehire status for a new job within the hospital if they meet the job’s minimum qualifications. Employees who choose not to apply for another hospital position or do not meet the qualifications will receive outplacement assistance and severance pay and benefits according to our long-standing policy.
“We truly appreciate the skilled and compassionate work of these staff members, who have collected thousands of pints of blood over the years and ensured a supply our community could count on,” Peck says. “They have also served as a personal connection between our donors and the patients whose lives they have, in many cases, literally saved. We are hopeful that those employees who want to remain with Community Hospital will be able to fill other roles.”
“We are also thankful for the many, many people who have given blood, organized drives, or supported the Blood Center as Auxiliary volunteers,” she says. “From the pint given by a first-time donor to the 10 people who have given more than 25 gallons each over the years, we have been grateful for every drop.”
An appreciation event is set for October 14, 4-7 p.m., at the Blood Center for staff, donors, and volunteers.
Community Hospital will continue to collect blood through October 16. UBS, the incoming blood supplier, will collaborate with Community Hospital to conduct periodic drives in the area. When drives are scheduled, information will be shared at www.chomp.org, and on our Facebook page.
“Community Hospital and UBS welcome the continued participation of our donors in these drives,” Peck says. “Though we are using much less blood than in the past, there are still needs that can only be met through people’s willingness to donate.”
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ABOUT COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, established in 1934, has grown and evolved in direct response to the changing healthcare needs of the people it serves. It is a nonprofit healthcare provider with 220 staffed acute-care hospital beds and 28 skilled-nursing beds, delivering a continuum of care from birth to end of life, and every stage in between. It serves the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding communities through locations including the main hospital, outpatient facilities, satellite laboratories, a mental health clinic, a short-term skilled nursing facility, Hospice of the Central Coast, Peninsula Wellness Center, and business offices. Find more information about Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula at http://www.chomp.org/