EMMC, CMMC Partner on Blood Supply Initiative

01/30/2016

In February, Central Maine Healthcare (CMH) and Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) will begin working together to purchase blood and blood products through an affiliation with Seattle-based nonprofit Bloodworks Northwest. Bloodworks will supply Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston as well as its affiliated hospitals and will continue to be the primary supplier for EMMC and other EMHS hospitals, as it has been since 2013.

“We are excited about working with Bloodworks as our supplier of blood components,” said John Skinner, M.D., medical director of pathology at Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC). “CMMC’s collaboration with EMMC and Bloodworks Northwest is based on a shared commitment to provide patients with the best care possible, and further reflects a common clinical-focus on innovations centered on patient blood management, including stewardship of these precious resources, and improving patient outcomes by making lifesaving transfusions only when necessary.”

Skinner said that blood from Bloodworks is gathered, processed and distributed under the same safety and quality standards as blood provided by the American Red Cross, CMH hospitals’ current supplier. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the collection of blood and blood components used for transfusion throughout the country. All distributors must follow the same federal rules, which include restrictions on who can donate blood, and how the blood must be tested before it is used.

“In addition to the clinical benefits that we expect from the collaboration with Bloodworks and EMMC, CMMC also expects to reduce its acquisition costs for blood products by as much as $100,000 annually. EMMC will also further reduce its blood products acquisition costs as a result of its collaboration with CMMC. Our patients are appropriately concerned about the growing cost of healthcare services, and our collaboration with EMMC on a joint agreement for blood products is a positive step to address the increasing cost of healthcare provision,” said Steve Gauthier, vice president of operations at CMMC. 

“CMMC and EMMC have a long history of successful collaboration, including the highly regarded Lifeflight of Maine critical care transport service,” said James Raczek, MD, FAAFP, EMMC senior vice president & chief medical officer. “EMMC’s nationally-recognized blood management program has been highly successful in reducing transfusions over the years, and we are excited to expand our partnership with an organization like CMMC that is committed to the same principles.”

About 60 percent of blood centers in the U.S are local, independent nonprofits like Bloodworks. The other 40 percent are operated by the American Red Cross. While this new relationship means that CMH will no longer utilize the Red Cross as its primary supplier of blood and blood products, Central Maine Medical Center, Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital will continue to work with the Red Cross in areas such as apheresis and autologous transfusion assistance, said Gauthier.

“CMMC also has no plans to halt its support of the very successful Red Cross Blood Donor Center located in CMMC’s 60 High Street main lobby. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the patient. We will continue to work with all of our community partners to ensure the provision of the highest quality healthcare services,” said CMMC President Tina Legere.