The American Red Cross appears to be putting the brakes on mobile blood drives as it partially closes operations in the Great Lakes Blood Services Region — which includes Livingston County — beginning Nov. 1, 2018.
The move comes as a result of recent negotiations with labor unions representing some of its staff.
The original announcement, made in August 2018, affects mostly mobile blood drives. The regional Red Cross plans to continue blood collection at fixed locations in Flint, Lansing and Detroit, and blood products will continue to be available throughout the state.
The recent media statement, issued by Todd Kulman, spokesperson for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross, does not detail what operations will be eliminated or limited in Livingston County:
“The American Red Cross is disappointed that despite good faith decision bargaining with the Unions that represent some of our Staff in the Great Lakes Blood Services Region, the difficult decision to partially close the Region has been finalized. This was not the outcome that either party intended.
At this point, we will move forward with limited operations in the Region.
Please be assured that the mission of the Red Cross remains steadfast. We stand ready to provide assistance when and where needed. We continue to provide blood products for patients in need. We remain committed to our focus on providing disaster preparedness and response activities, services to the armed forces, veterans and their families, and our ongoing health and safety trainings.”
Blood collection, testing, and distribution is the top expense for the Red Cross nationally, accounting for $1.832 billion in 2017, according to its website, and the price of blood — as well as associated wages and benefits — reflects these rising costs. According to Forbes, in 2012, the Red Cross controlled about 44 percent of the blood supply, and the price of a pint of blood, which the Red Cross sells to hospitals, ranges from $150 to over $200 per pint depending on location.