Ind. Blood Center evaluates future after business loss to Red Cross

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Its business is blood and the landscape will soon change for Indiana Blood Center based in Indianapolis.

In a letter to donors and supporters, the non-profit blood supplier announced recent decisions by three major Indiana hospital systems to turn elsewhere for their blood supply.

IU Health, St. Vincent Health and Union Hospitals will switch service agreements in 2015.

Wendy Mehringer, vice president of blood services, said other than St. Vincent, the networks confirmed contracts with American Red Cross at a lower cost.

The change will equate to a loss of about half the volume of business for Indiana Blood Center, or $20 million, according to Mehringer.

“As a non-profit, our mission [is] to connect the health donors to patients in need. We don’t have revenue except for what we charge the hospitals, that service fee, for the blood that we provide,” Mehringer said.

Hospitals were still expected to call upon Indiana Blood Center in emergency need. Indiana Blood Center said its commitment to central Indiana would continue as it evaluates expansion outside its home state to work regionally.

“Patients will receive these units somewhere. What has historically been in Indiana and been kind of the backbone of who we are, we’re going to have to look to change that,” Mehringer said.

IU Health released the following statement to 24-Hour News 8 on Sunday:

Contracts with Indiana Blood Center and American Red Cross were due for renegotiation.  American Red Cross was selected as the sole provider based on best pricing and service. 

A request for comment has also been made to St. Vincent Health, but officials there have not yet responded.

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